Why Ruin A Good Thing Quotes

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I look at the blanked-out faces of the other passengers--hoisting their briefcases, their backpacks, shuffling to disembark--and I think of what Hobie said: beauty alters the grain of reality. And I keep thinking too of the more conventional wisdom: namely, that the pursuit of pure beauty is a trap, a fast track to bitterness and sorrow, that beauty has to be wedded to something more meaningful. Only what is that thing? Why am I made the way I am? Why do I care about all the wrong things, and nothing at all for the right ones? Or, to tip it another way: how can I see so clearly that everything I love or care about is illusion, and yet--for me, anyway--all that's worth living for lies in that charm? A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don't get to choose our own hearts. We can't make ourselves want what's good for us or what's good for other people. We don't get to choose the people we are. Because--isn't it drilled into us constantly, from childhood on, an unquestioned platitude in the culture--? From William Blake to Lady Gaga, from Rousseau to Rumi to Tosca to Mister Rogers, it's a curiously uniform message, accepted from high to low: when in doubt, what to do? How do we know what's right for us? Every shrink, every career counselor, every Disney princess knows the answer: "Be yourself." "Follow your heart." Only here's what I really, really want someone to explain to me. What if one happens to be possessed of a heart that can't be trusted--? What if the heart, for its own unfathomable reasons, leads one willfully and in a cloud of unspeakable radiance away from health, domesticity, civic responsibility and strong social connections and all the blandly-held common virtues and instead straight toward a beautiful flare of ruin, self-immolation, disaster?...If your deepest self is singing and coaxing you straight toward the bonfire, is it better to turn away? Stop your ears with wax? Ignore all the perverse glory your heart is screaming at you? Set yourself on the course that will lead you dutifully towards the norm, reasonable hours and regular medical check-ups, stable relationships and steady career advancement the New York Times and brunch on Sunday, all with the promise of being somehow a better person? Or...is it better to throw yourself head first and laughing into the holy rage calling your name?
Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)
Always that same LSD story, you've all seen it. 'Young man on acid, thought he could fly, jumped out of a building. What a tragedy.' What a dick! Fuck him, he’s an idiot. If he thought he could fly, why didn’t he take off on the ground first? Check it out. You don’t see ducks lined up to catch elevators to fly south—they fly from the ground, ya moron, quit ruining it for everybody. He’s a moron, he’s dead—good, we lost a moron, fuckin’ celebrate. Wow, I just felt the world get lighter. We lost a moron! I don’t mean to sound cold, or cruel, or vicious, but I am, so that’s the way it comes out. Professional help is being sought. How about a positive LSD story? Wouldn't that be news-worthy, just the once? To base your decision on information rather than scare tactics and superstition and lies? I think it would be news-worthy. 'Today, a young man on acid realized that all matter is merely energy condensed to a slow vibration. That we are all one consciousness experiencing itself subjectively. There is no such thing as death, life is only a dream and we're the imagination of ourselves' . . . 'Here's Tom with the weather.
Bill Hicks
Of course, it wouldn’t have mattered if I’d seen it coming or not. Adrian was totally unsuitable for me, and it had nothing to do with his many vices or potential descent into insanity. Adrian was a vampire. True, he was a Moroi—one of the good, living vampires—but it made no difference. Humans and vampires couldn’t be together. This was one point the Moroi and Alchemists stood firmly together on. It was still amazing to me that Adrian had voiced those feelings to me. It was amazing that he could even have them or that he’d had the nerve to kiss me, even if it was a kiss that had left me dizzy and breathless. I’d had to reject him, of course. My training would allow nothing less. Our situation here in Palm Springs forced the two us to constantly be together in social situations, and it had been rough since his declaration. For me, it wasn’t just the awkwardness of our new relationship. I…well, I missed him. Before this debacle, he and I had been friends and spent a lot of time together. I’d gotten used to his smirky smile and the quick banter that always flowed between us. Until those things were gone, I hadn’t realized how much I relied on them. How much I needed them. I felt empty inside...which was ridiculous, of course. Why should I care so much about one vampire? Sometimes it made me angry. Why had he ruined such a good thing between us? Why had he made me miss him so much? And what had he expected me to do? He had to have known it was impossible for us to be together. I couldn’t have feelings for him. I couldn’t. If we’d lived among the Keepers—a group of uncivilized vampires, humans, and dhampirs—maybe he and I could have…no. Even if I had feelings for him—and I firmly told myself I didn’t—it was wrong for us to even consider such a relationship. Now, Adrian spoke to me as little as possible. And always, always, he watched me with a haunted look in his green eyes, one that made my heart ache and—
Richelle Mead (The Indigo Spell (Bloodlines, #3))
Oh,Mercer," he murmured against my temple once we'd come up for air, "we are so screwed." I pressed my face against his neck, breathing him in. "I know." "So what do we do?" Reluctantly, I tried to move away. It was hard to think when he was so close to me. "If we were good people, we'd never see each other again." His arms locked around my waist, pulling me back. "Okay,well, that's not happening. Plan B?" I smiled up at him, feeling ridiculously giddy for someone on the verge of ruining her life. "I don't have one.You?" He shook his head. "Nothing.But...look. I've spent basically my whole life pretending to be someone I'm not, faking some feelings, hiding others." Reaching down, he clasped my hand and lifted it so that our joined hands were trapped between our chests. "This thing with us is the only real thing I've had in a long time.You're the only real thing." He raised our hands and kissed my knuckles. "And I'm done pretending I don't want you." I had read a lot about swooning in the romance novels Mom had tried to hide from me,but I'd never felt in danger of doing it until now. Which was why a snarky comment was definitely called for. "Wow,Cross.I think you missed your calling.Screw demon hunting: you should clearly be writing Hallmark cards." His face broke into that crooked grin that was maybe my favorite sight in the whole world. "Shut up," he muttered before lowering his head and kissing me again. "Why is it," I said against his lips several moments later, "that we're always kissing in gross, dirty places like cellars and abandoned mills?" He laughed, pressing kisses to my jaw, then my neck. "Next time it'll be a castle, I promise.This is England, after all. Can't be too hard to find one.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Goodness,” said an exhausted Lady Maccon, “are babies customarily that repulsive looking?” Madame Lefoux pursed her lips and turned the infant about, as though she hadn’t quite looked closely before. “I assure you, the appearance improves with time.” Alexia held out her arms—her dress was already ruined anyway—and received the pink wriggling thing into her embrace. She smiled up at her husband. “I told you it would be a girl.” “Why isna she crying?” complained Lord Maccon. “Shouldna she be crying? Aren’t all bairns supposed to cry?” “Perhaps she’s mute,” suggested Alexia. “Be a sensible thing with parents like us.” Lord Maccon looked properly horrified at the idea.
Gail Carriger (Heartless (Parasol Protectorate, #4))
When she stepped back, she smiled at me and then turned. "What?" she yelled. I followed her gaze to find Zayne and Roth standing several feet away, watching us. "Nothing." Roth has hands in his pockets. "Just that you two getting all handsy was kind of hot." Zayne jerked his head toward Roth. The demon prince shrugged. "Look, I'm just being honest. I'm a demon. I don't know why any of you would expect anything less from me." "It's a good thing I love him," Layla muttered as she stalked forward, and I got moving. "And I do love him with every part of my being and then some, but he... he just doesn't people well.
Jennifer L. Armentrout (Rage and Ruin (The Harbinger, #2))
THEY FOUND LEO AT THE TOP of the city fortifications. He was sitting at an open-air café, overlooking the sea, drinking a cup of coffee and dressed in…wow. Time warp. Leo’s outfit was identical to the one he’d worn the day they first arrived at Camp Half-Blood—jeans, a white shirt, and an old army jacket. Except that jacket had burned up months ago. Piper nearly knocked him out of his chair with a hug. “Leo! Gods, where have you been?” “Valdez!” Coach Hedge grinned. Then he seemed to remember he had a reputation to protect and he forced a scowl. “You ever disappear like that again, you little punk, I’ll knock you into next month!” Frank patted Leo on the back so hard it made him wince. Even Nico shook his hand. Hazel kissed Leo on the cheek. “We thought you were dead!” Leo mustered a faint smile. “Hey, guys. Nah, nah, I’m good.” Jason could tell he wasn’t good. Leo wouldn’t meet their eyes. His hands were perfectly still on the table. Leo’s hands were never still. All the nervous energy had drained right out of him, replaced by a kind of wistful sadness. Jason wondered why his expression seemed familiar. Then he realized Nico di Angelo had looked the same way after facing Cupid in the ruins of Salona. Leo was heartsick. As the others grabbed chairs from the nearby tables, Jason leaned in and squeezed his friend’s shoulder. “Hey, man,” he said, “what happened?” Leo’s eyes swept around the group. The message was clear: Not here. Not in front of everyone. “I got marooned,” Leo said. “Long story. How about you guys? What happened with Khione?” Coach Hedge snorted. “What happened? Piper happened! I’m telling you, this girl has skills!” “Coach…” Piper protested. Hedge began retelling the story, but in his version Piper was a kung fu assassin and there were a lot more Boreads. As the coach talked, Jason studied Leo with concern. This café had a perfect view of the harbor. Leo must have seen the Argo II sail in. Yet he sat here drinking coffee—which he didn’t even like—waiting for them to find him. That wasn’t like Leo at all. The ship was the most important thing in his life. When he saw it coming to rescue him, Leo should have run down to the docks, whooping at the top of his lungs. Coach Hedge was just describing how Piper had defeated Khione with a roundhouse kick when Piper interrupted. “Coach!” she said. “It didn’t happen like that at all. I couldn’t have done anything without Festus.” Leo raised his eyebrows. “But Festus was deactivated.” “Um, about that,” Piper said. “I sort of woke him up.” Piper explained her version of events—how she’d rebooted the metal dragon with charmspeak.
Rick Riordan (The House of Hades (Heroes of Olympus, #4))
reining yourself in because why ruin a good thing? why make it weird? and then you say goodbye, with a hug, with a snarky remark, and head home. you climb into bed and imagine them with you. you think about how their hair falls in their face, about how they breathe when they sleep. you think about them waking up and nudging you into consciousness with soft kisses down your torso. you sit in bed and think of all the ways you could make their soul dance. how you know their quirks and it all feels so right, but why? why is this happening? why can’t you just be content with what you have now? except even now you have to control the urge to kiss them, even though it is in your nature, even just on the cheek, because what if it breaks the relationship apart at the seams? you may not even mean it sexually or romantically, but what if? and there’s always the chance they have felt this way too. but it’s only a chance. and why risk it? so you lay there in bed and twist the sheets around your legs and text them back about another person they have feelings toward and coax them into something healthy. you put their happiness before your own. you watch as they stumble and help them rise mightily. you gush over them and try to snuff out the selfishness that builds whenever you see them with someone else. it wouldn’t be fair to them to impose your own wants on them and take away a good friendship. it isn’t always about you. and yet here you are, writing this. writing this and thinking of someone specific the entire time.
Taylor Rhodes (calloused: a field journal)
Some things you carry around inside you as though they were part of your blood and bones, and when that happens, there’s nothing you can do to forget …But I had never been much of a believer. If anything, I believed that things got worse before they got better. I believed good people suffered... people who have faith were so lucky; you didn’t want to ruin it for them. You didn’t want to plant doubt where there was none. You had to treat suck individuals tenderly and hope that some of whatever they were feeling rubs off on you Those who love you will love you forever, without questions or boundaries or the constraints of time. Daily life is real, unchanging as a well-built house. But houses burn; they catch fire in the middle of the night. The night is like any other night of disaster, with every fact filtered through a veil of disbelief. The rational world has spun so completely out of its orbit, there is no way to chart or expect what might happen next At that point, they were both convinced that love was a figment of other people’s imaginations, an illusion fashioned out of smoke and air that really didn’t exist Fear, like heat, rises; it drifts up to the ceiling and when it falls down it pours out in a hot and horrible rain True love, after all, could bind a man where he didn’t belong. It could wrap him in cords that were all but impossible to break Fear is contagious. It doubles within minutes; it grows in places where there’s never been any doubt before The past stays with a man, sticking to his heels like glue, invisible and heartbreaking and unavoidable, threaded to the future, just as surely as day is sewn to night He looked at girls and saw only sweet little fuckboxes, there for him to use, no hearts involved, no souls, and, most assuredly no responsibilities. Welcome to the real world. Herein is the place where no one can tell you whether or not you’ve done the right thing. I could tell people anything I wanted to, and whatever I told them, that would be the truth as far as they were concerned. Whoever I said I was, well then, that’s who id be The truths by which she has lived her life have evaporated, leaving her empty of everything except the faint blue static of her own skepticism. She has never been a person to question herself; now she questions everything Something’s, are true no matter how hard you might try to bloc them out, and a lie is always a lie, no matter how prettily told You were nothing more than a speck of dust, good-looking dust, but dust all the same Some people needed saving She doesn’t want to waste precious time with something as prosaic as sleep. Every second is a second that belongs to her; one she understands could well be her last Why wait for anything when the world is so cockeyed and dangerous? Why sit and stare into the mirror, too fearful of what may come to pass to make a move? At last she knows how it feels to take a chance when everything in the world is at stake, breathless and heedless and desperate for more She’ll be imagining everything that’s out in front of them, road and cloud and sky, all the elements of a future, the sort you have to put together by hand, slowly and carefully until the world is yours once more
Alice Hoffman (Blue Diary)
A pretty vampire woman in a cheongsam came flying down the hallway, ribbons waving from her purple-streaked hair like a silken flag. Her face was familiar. Alec had seen her at Taki’s, and around the city more generally, usually with Raphael. “Save us, oh fearless leader,” said Raphael’s lady friend. “Elliott’s in a huge aquarium puking blue and green. He tried to drink mermaid blood. He tried to drink selkie blood. He tried to—” “Ahem,” said Raphael, with a savage jerk of his head in Alec’s direction. Alec waved. “Shadowhunter,” he said. “Right here. Hi.” “He tried to keep to the Accords and obey all the known Laws!” the woman declared. “Because that’s the New York clan’s idea of a truly festive good time.” Alec remembered Magnus and tried not to look like he was here to ruin the Downworlder party. There was one thing he and this woman had in common. He recognized the bright purple she was wearing. “I think I saw you earlier,” said Alec hesitantly. “You were—making out with a faerie girl?” “Yeah, you’re gonna have to be more specific than that,” said the vampire woman. “This is a party. I’ve made out with six faerie girls, four faerie boys, and a talking toadstool whose gender I’m unsure about. Pretty sexy for a toadstool, though.” Raphael covered his face briefly with his non-texting hand. “Why, you want to make something of it?” The woman bristled. “How happy I am to see the Nephilim constantly crashing our parties. Were you even invited?” “I’m a plus-one,” said Alec. The vampire girl relaxed slightly. “Oh, right, you’re Magnus’s latest disaster,” she said. “That’s what Raphael calls you. I’m Lily.” She lifted a hand in a halfhearted wave. Alec glanced at Raphael, who arched his eyebrow at Alec in an unfriendly way. “Didn’t realize Raphael and I were on pet name terms,” said Alec. He continued to study Raphael. “Do you know Magnus well?” “Hardly at all,” said Raphael. “Barely acquainted. I don’t think much of his personality. Or his dress sense. Or the company he keeps. Come away, Lily. Alexander, I hope I never see you again.” “I’ve decided I detest you,” Lily told Alec. “It’s mutual,” Alec said dryly. Unexpectedly, that made Lily smile, before Raphael dragged her away.
Cassandra Clare (The Red Scrolls of Magic (The Eldest Curses, #1))
... I will say this. Marriage is work. It's hard work. Harder than anything else you'll ever do. Believe me, I know. And do you want to know why?' James nodded and Ben Latrobe leaned forward as if to impart a deep, mysterious secret. 'Because marriage isn't about the wedding or the wedding trip afterward. It isn't about cozy nights spent in each other's arms or the way she makes you feel when she smiles. Oh, those things all have a part in it, but a very minor one. No, James, marriage is about sticking it out when it isn't so nice. Marriage is being there to pick up the pieces when your perfect world falls apart. It's seeing the mess you've made of things and being willing to work through it until you have created something better than you had before. It's listening to her fears, her troubles, and concerns. It's eating meals that don't taste as good as those your mother fixed, enduring her temperamental outburts and tears, and not giving up when things get hard.' Latrobe paused for a moment and a frown lined his face where the smile had been only moments before. 'True love is standing by your mate when his health fails, along with his business.' ... 'It's knowing that the world goes on and you can depend on each other even when everything else around you lies in ruins at your feet...
Judith Pella
Pascal, in one of his gloomier pensées, gave it as his opinion that all our miseries stemmed from a single cause: our inability to remain quietly in a room. Why, he asked, must a man with sufficient to live on feel drawn to divert himself on long sea voyages? To dwell in another town? To go off in search of a peppercorn? Or go off to war and break skulls? Later, on further reflection, having discovered the cause of our misfortunes, he wished to understand the reason for them, he found one very good reason: namely, the natural unhappiness of our weak mortal condition; so unhappy that when we gave to it all our attention, nothing could console us. One thing alone could alleviate our despair, and that was ‘distraction’ (divertissement): yet this was the worst of our misfortunes, for in distraction we were prevented from thinking about ourselves and were gradually brought to ruin.
Bruce Chatwin (The Songlines)
Startled, he tried to comfort him. But Father said slowly, "I ask myself whether I am afraid of death. I don't think I am. My life as it is now is worse. And it looks as if there is not going to be any ending. Sometimes I feel weak: I stand by Tranquillity River and think, Just one leap and I can get it over with. Then I tell myself I must not. If I die without being cleared, there will be no end of trouble for all of you… I have been thinking a lot lately. I had a hard childhood, and society was full of injustice. It was for a fair society that I joined the Communists. I've tried my best through the years. But what good has it done for the people? As for myself, why is it that in the end I have come to be the ruin of my family? People who believe in retribution say that to end badly you must have something on your conscience. I have been thinking hard about the things I've done in my life. I have given orders to execute some people…" Father went on to tell Jin-ming about the death sentences he had signed, the names and stories of the e-ba ('ferocious despots') in the land reform in Chaoyang, and the bandit chiefs in Yibin. "But these people had done so much evil that God himself would have had them killed. What, then, have I done wrong to deserve all this?" After a long pause, Father said, "If I die like this, don't believe in the Communist Party anymore.
Jung Chang (Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China)
Supposing it true that contrary to appearances these horrors when perpetrated by Nature, promote good ends, still as no one believes that good ends would be promoted by our following the example, the course of Nature cannot be a proper model for us to imitate. Either it is right that we should kill because nature kills ; torture because nature tortures ; ruin and devastate because nature does the like; or we ought not to consider at all what nature does, but what it is good to do. If there is such a thing as a reductio ad absurdum, this surely amounts to one. If it is a sufficient reason for doing one thing, that nature does it, why not another thing? If not all things, why anything?
John Stuart Mill (Three Essays on Religion: Nature, the Utility of Religion, Theism (Great Books in Philosophy): Nature, the Utility of Religion and Theism)
Sean: Yeah? You got a lady now? Will: Yeah, I went on a date last week. Sean: How'd it go? Will: Fine. Sean: Well, are you going out again? Will: I don't know. Sean: Why not? Will: Haven't called her. Sean: Jesus Christ, you are an amateur. Will: I know what I'm doing. She's different from the other girls I met. We have a really good time. She's smart, beautiful, fun... Sean: So Christ, call her up. Will: Why? So I can realize she's not so smart. That she's boring. You don't get it. Right now she's perfect, I don't want to ruin that. Sean: And right now you're perfect too. Maybe you don't want to ruin that. Well, I think that's a great philosophy Will, that way you can go through your entire life without ever having to really know anybody. My wife used to turn the alarm clock off in her sleep. I was late for work all the time because in the middle of the night she'd roll over and turn the damn thing off. Eventually I got a second clock and put it under my side of the bed, but it got to where she was gettin' to that one too. She was afraid of the dark, so the closet light was on all night. Thing kept me up half the night. Eventually I'd fall asleep, out of sheer exhaustion and not wake up when I was supposed to cause she'd have already gotten to my alarms. My wife's been dead two years, Will. And when I think about her, those are the things I think about most. Little idiosyncrasies that only I knew about. Those made her my wife. And she had the goods on me too. Little things I do out of habit. People call these things imperfections Will. It's just who we are. And we get to choose who we're going to let into out weird little worlds. You're not perfect. And let me save you the suspense, this girl you met isn't either. The question is, whether or not you're perfect for each other. You can know everything in the world, but the only way you're findin' that one out is by giving it a shot. You sure won't get the answer from an old fucker like me. And even if I did know, I wouldn't tell you. Will: Why not? You told me every other fuckin' thing. You talk more than any shrink I ever met. Sean: I teach this shit, I didn't say I knew how to do it. Will: You ever think about gettin' remarried? Sean: My wife's dead. Will: Hence, the word remarried. Sean: My wife's dead. Will: Well I think that's a wonderful philosophy, Sean. That way you can go through the rest of your life without having to really know anyone. Sean: Time's up.
Matt Damon (Good Will Hunting)
You can ask why all day long if you want to. You can ask God why and your friends why and yourself why until you're buried in nothing but that single question, but you'll never get an answer. This side of heaven, time is the only thing that helps a little bit. So don't give in. Don't let the whys have it. Don't let them take advantage of you. They'll crush your heart and steal your peace and mess with your mind and wrap around you so tight you won't be able to breathe. Don't let the whys ruin your life, child. Every time they try to sneak up, push them aside and move forward. Trust me, it's the only way you can get on with living." I turn toward the window and think about her words. "What if I can't? Let it go, I mean?" I don't see her smile, but I can hear it. "You can. I know you can. Because no matter how hard life gets, there's always goodness right around the corner. All you have to do is look for it.
Amy Matayo (The Whys Have It)
I knew this one Catholic boy, Louis Shaney, when I was at the Whooton School. Then, after a while, right in the middle of the goddam conversation, he asked me, "Did you happen to notice where the Catholic church is in town, by any chance?" The thing was, you could tell by the way he asked me that he was trying to find out if I was a Catholic. He really was. Not that he was prejudiced or anything, but he just wanted to know. He was enjoying the conversation about tennis and all, but you could tell he would've enjoyed it more if I was a Catholic and all. That kind of stuff drives me crazy. I'm not saying it ruined our conversation or anything—it didn't—but it sure as hell didn't do it any good. That's why I was glad those two nuns didn't ask me if I was a Catholic. It wouldn't have spoiled the conversation if they had, but it would've been different, probably. I'm not saying I blame Catholics. I don't. I'd be the same way, probably, if I was a Catholic. It's just like those suitcases I was telling you about, in a way. All I'm saying is that it's no good for a nice conversation. That's all I'm saying.
J.D. Salinger (The Catcher in the Rye)
I had ceased to be a writer of tolerably poor tales and essays, and had become a tolerably good Surveyor of the Customs. That was all. But, nevertheless, it is any thing but agreeable to be haunted by a suspicion that one's intellect is dwindling away; or exhaling, without your consciousness, like ether out of a phial; so that, at every glance, you find a smaller and less volatile residuum. Of the fact, there could be no doubt; and, examining myself and others, I was led to conclusions in reference to the effect of public office on the character, not very favorable to the mode of life in question. In some other form, perhaps, I may hereafter develop these effects. Suffice it here to say, that a Custom-House officer, of long continuance, can hardly be a very praiseworthy or respectable personage, for many reasons; one of them, the tenure by which he holds his situation, and another, the very nature of his business, which—though, I trust, an honest one—is of such a sort that he does not share in the united effort of mankind. An effect—which I believe to be observable, more or less, in every individual who has occupied the position—is, that, while he leans on the mighty arm of the Republic, his own proper strength departs from him. He loses, in an extent proportioned to the weakness or force of his original nature, the capability of self-support. If he possess an unusual share of native energy, or the enervating magic of place do not operate too long upon him, his forfeited powers may be redeemable. The ejected officer—fortunate in the unkindly shove that sends him forth betimes, to struggle amid a struggling world—may return to himself, and become all that he has ever been. But this seldom happens. He usually keeps his ground just long enough for his own ruin, and is then thrust out, with sinews all unstrung, to totter along the difficult footpath of life as he best may. Conscious of his own infirmity,—that his tempered steel and elasticity are lost,—he for ever afterwards looks wistfully about him in quest of support external to himself. His pervading and continual hope—a hallucination, which, in the face of all discouragement, and making light of impossibilities, haunts him while he lives, and, I fancy, like the convulsive throes of the cholera, torments him for a brief space after death—is, that, finally, and in no long time, by some happy coincidence of circumstances, he shall be restored to office. This faith, more than any thing else, steals the pith and availability out of whatever enterprise he may dream of undertaking. Why should he toil and moil, and be at so much trouble to pick himself up out of the mud, when, in a little while hence, the strong arm of his Uncle will raise and support him? Why should he work for his living here, or go to dig gold in California, when he is so soon to be made happy, at monthly intervals, with a little pile of glittering coin out of his Uncle's pocket? It is sadly curious to observe how slight a taste of office suffices to infect a poor fellow with this singular disease. Uncle Sam's gold—meaning no disrespect to the worthy old gentleman—has, in this respect, a quality of enchantment like that of the Devil's wages. Whoever touches it should look well to himself, or he may find the bargain to go hard against him, involving, if not his soul, yet many of its better attributes; its sturdy force, its courage and constancy, its truth, its self-reliance, and all that gives the emphasis to manly character.
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter)
But thou shalt leave it all behind thee! It shall not cumber thy steps, as thou treadest along the forest-path; neither shalt thou freight the ship with it, if thou prefer to cross the sea. Leave this wreck and ruin here where it hath happened! Meddle no more with it! Begin all anew! Hast thou exhausted possibility in the failure of this one trial? Not so! The future is yet full of trial and success. There is happiness to be enjoyed! There is good to be done! Exchange this false life of thine for a true one. Be, if thy spirit summons thee to such a mission, the teacher and apostle of the red men. Or,—as is more thy nature,—be a scholar and a sage among the wisest and the most renowned of the cultivated world. Preach! Write! Act! Do any thing, save to lie down and die! Give up this name of Arthur Dimmesdale, and make thyself another, and a high one, such as thou canst wear without fear or shame. Why shouldst thou tarry so much as one other day in the torments that have so gnawed into thy life!—that have made thee feeble to will and to do!—that will leave thee powerless even to repent! Up, and away!
Nathaniel Hawthorne (The Scarlet Letter)
AFTER DINNER, WITH A GREAT FLOURISH, my friend Andrew brought out a lovely leather box. “Open it,” he said, proudly, “and tell me what you think.” I opened the box. Inside was a gleaming stainless-steel set of old mechanical drawing instruments: dividers, compasses, extension arms for the compasses, an assortment of points, lead holders, and pens that could be fitted onto the dividers and compasses. All that was missing was the T square, the triangles, and the table. And the ink, the black India ink. “Lovely,” I said. “Those were the good old days, when we drew by hand, not by computer.” Our eyes misted as we fondled the metal pieces. “But you know,” I went on, “I hated it. My tools always slipped, the point moved before I could finish the circle, and the India ink—ugh, the India ink—it always blotted before I could finish a diagram. Ruined it! I used to curse and scream at it. I once spilled the whole bottle all over the drawing, my books, and the table. India ink doesn’t wash off. I hated it. Hated it!” “Yeah,” said Andrew, laughing, “you’re right. I forgot how much I hated it. Worst of all was too much ink on the nibs! But the instruments are nice, aren’t they?” “Very nice,” I said, “as long as we don’t have to use them.
Donald A. Norman (Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things)
Paradise,’ he began, and the p meant a spray. ‘The old legend about Paradise—that was about us, about right now. Yes! Just think about it. Those two in Paradise, they were offered a choice: happiness without freedom, or freedom without happiness, nothing else. Those idiots chose freedom. And then what? Then for centuries they were homesick for the chains. That’s why the world was so miserable, see? They missed the chains. For ages! And we were the first to hit on the way to get back to happiness. No, wait ... listen to me. The ancient God and us, side by side, at the same table. Yes! We helped God finally overcome the Devil—because that’s who it was that pushed people to break the commandment and taste freedom and be ruined. It was him, the wily serpent. But we gave him a boot to the head! Crack! And it was all over: Paradise was back. And we’re simple and innocent again, like Adam and Eve. None of those complications about good and evil: Everything is very simple, childishly simple —Paradise! The Benefactor, the Machine, the Cube, the Gas Bell, the Guardians: All those things represent good, all that is sublime, splendid, noble, elevated, crystal pure. Because that is what protects our nonfreedom, which is to say, our happiness.
Yevgeny Zamyatin
Oh shit, I wouldn’t use that towel if I were you,” Gavin mumbles. I ignore him scrubbing every inch of my face, hoping that maybe I can rub away the memory of the words my mother spoke to me. “Seriously dude, give me that thing,” Gavin says, Interrupting my thoughts. I pull the towel away and glare at his reflection in the mirror. He’s standing behind me with a look of disgust on his face and his hand out. “What the fuck is wrong with you? I just found out that my mom was a slut and has no idea who my dad is and all you’re worried about is your precious towel?” I ramble, my voice getting that hysterical squeak to it. “What’s wrong? Is this one of Charlotte’s ‘good’ towels, reserved for guests or some shit? Fuck, are you pussy whipped.” Gavin shakes his head at me and tries reaching over my shoulder to take the towel. I snatch it away and turn to face him. “What is your fucking deal? It’s a Goddamn towel!” I yell. “Yeah, it’s a jizz towel, dude.” I look at him in confusion, glancing down at the towel and back up at him when what he said finally sinks in. He’s biting his lip and I can’t tell if he’s trying not to laugh or if he’s trying to think of a way to run out of here as fast as he can. “Hey, what are you guys doing in the bathroom?” Charlotte asks, suddenly appearing in the doorway. “Oh, my God! Did you just use that towel, Tyler?” I quickly throw the towel away from me like it’s on fire and it lands in the toilet. “Dammit, don’t throw it in the toilet, you’ll ruin it!” Charlotte scolds. “I’m pretty sure you ruined it by putting jizz on it!” I scream. “Why the fuck would you leave a jizz towel on the sink where anyone could use it?” “I’d never use it. I knew it was a jizz towel,” Gavin replies with a shrug. “Oh, my God! I scrubbed my fucking face with a towel that had your dry, crusty jizz on it!” I can’t believe this is happening right now. My mom had a foursome, my dad isn’t my dad and now I have jizz face. Moving as fast as I can, I jump into the shower and turn on the water, not even caring that I’m fully clothed. “Do you want us to leave so you can take your clothes off?” Charlotte asks, as the water rains down on me, soaking my t-shirt and jeans. “I am NOT taking my clothes off. There could be trace particles of jizz on them! I’m going to have to burn these clothes!” I complain. I keep my face under the scalding hot water, taking in large mouthfuls, swishing and then spitting on the shower floor. “Eeew, don’t spit in our shower!” Charlotte scolds. “I HAVE GAVIN’S JIZZ ON MY FACE! I WILL SPIT WHEREVER THE FUCK I WANT!
Tara Sivec (Passion and Ponies (Chocoholics, #2))
To every man comes, sooner or later, the great renunciation. For the young, there is nothing unattainable; a good thing desired with the whole force of a passionate will, and yet impossible, is to them not credible. Yet, by death, by illness, by poverty, or by the voice of duty, we must learn, each one of us, that the world was not made for us, and that, however beautiful may be the things we crave, Fate may nevertheless forbid them. It is the part of courage, when misfortune comes, to bear without repining the ruin of our hopes, to turn away our thoughts from vain regrets. This degree of submission to Power is not only just and right: it is the very gate of wisdom.
Bertrand Russell (Why I Am Not a Christian)
What I have most wanted to do throughout the past ten years is to make political writing into an art. My starting point is always a feeling of partisanship, a sense of injustice. When I sit down to write a book, I do not say to myself, ‘I am going to produce a work of art’. I write it because there is some lie that I want to expose, some fact to which I want to draw attention, and my initial concern is to get a hearing. [...] My book about the Spanish civil war, Homage to Catalonia, is of course a frankly political book, but in the main it is written with a certain detachment and regard for form. I did try very hard in it to tell the whole truth without violating my literary instincts. But among other things it contains a long chapter, full of newspaper quotations and the like, defending the Trotskyists who were accused of plotting with Franco. Clearly such a chapter, which after a year or two would lose its interest for any ordinary reader, must ruin the book. A critic whom I respect read me a lecture about it. ‘Why did you put in all that stuff?’ he said. ‘You've turned what might have been a good book into journalism.’ What he said was true, but I could not have done otherwise. I happened to know, what very few people in England had been allowed to know, that innocent men were being falsely accused. If I had not been angry about that I should never have written the book.
George Orwell (Essays)
Augustine, who assumed that Genesis 1 was chapter 1 in a book that contained the literal words of God, and that Genesis 2 was the second chapter in the same book, put the two chapters together and read the latter as a sequel. Genesis 2, he assumed, described the fall from the perfection and original goodness of creation depicted in chapter 1. So almost inevitably the Christian scriptures from the fourth century on were interpreted against the background of this (mis) understanding. The primary trouble with this theory was that by the fourth century of the Common Era there were no Jews to speak of left in the Christian movement, and therefore the only readers and interpreters of the ancient Hebrew myths were Gentiles, who had no idea what these stories originally meant. Consequently, they interpreted them as perfection established by God in chapter 1, followed by perfection ruined by human beings in chapter 2. Why was that a problem? Well I, for one, have never known a Jewish scripture scholar to treat the Garden of Eden story in the same way that Gentiles treat it. Jews tend to see this story not as a narrative about sin entering the world, but as a parable about the birth of self-consciousness. It is, for the Jews, not a fall into sin, but a step into humanity. It is the birth of a new relationship with God, changing from master-servant to interdependent cooperation. The forbidden fruit was not from an apple tree, as so many who don’t bother to read the text seem to think. It was rather from “the tree of knowledge,” and the primary thing that one gained from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge was the ability to discern good from evil. Gaining that ability did not, in the minds of the Jewish readers of the book of Genesis, corrupt human nature. It simply made people take responsibility for their freely made decisions. A slave has no such freedom. The job of the slave is simply to obey, not to think. The job of the slave-master is to command. Thus the relationship of the master to the slave is a relationship of the strong to the weak, the parent to the child, the king to the serf, the boss to the worker. If human beings were meant to live in that kind of relationship with God, then humanity would have been kept in a perpetual state of irresponsible, childlike immaturity. Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden, not because they had disobeyed God’s rules, but because, when self-consciousness was born, they could no longer live in childlike dependency. Adam and Eve discovered, as every child ultimately must discover, that maturity requires that the child leave his or her parents’ home, just as every bird sooner or later must leave its nest and learn to fly on its own. To be forced out of the Garden of Eden was, therefore, not a punishment for sin, so much as it was a step into maturity.
John Shelby Spong (Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy: A Journey into a New Christianity Through the Doorway of Matthew's Gospel)
I'm so excited to meet you, Emma," she says. "Now I know why Galen won't shut up about you." Her smile seems to contradict the decades' worth of frown lines rippling from her mouth. In fact, it's so genuine and warm that I almost believe she is excited to meet me. But isn't that what all moms say when introduced to their son's girlfriend? You're not his girlfriend, stupid. Or does she think we're dating, too? "Thanks, I think," I smile generically. "I'm sure he's told you a million times how clumsy I am." Because how else am I supposed to take that? "A million and one, actually. Wish you'd do something different for a change," Rayna drawls without looking up. Rayna has outstayed her welcome on my nerves. "I could teach you how to color in the lines," I shoot back. The look she gives me could sour milk. Toraf puts his hands on her shoulders and kisses the top of her head. "I think you're doing a great job, my princess." She wiggles out of his grasp and shoves the polish brush back into its bottle. "If you're so good at it, why don't you paint your toes? They probably stay injured all the time from you running into stuff. Am I right?" Yeah? And? I'm about to set her straight on a few things-like how wearing a skirt and sitting Indian-style ruins the effect of pretty toes anyway-when Galen's mom puts a gentle hand on my arm and clears her throat. "Emma, I'm so glad you're feeling better," she says. "I bet dinner would just about complete your recovery, don't you?
Anna Banks (Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1))
Katie stood alone... 'They think this is so good,' he thought. 'They think it's good- the tree they got for nothing and their father playing up to them and the singing and the way the neighbors are happy. They think they're mighty lucky that they're living and it's Christmas again. They can't see that we live on a dirty street in a dirty house among people who aren't much good. Johnny and the children can't see how pitiful it is that our neighbors have to make happiness out of this filth and dirt. My children must get out of this. They must come to more than Johnnny or me or all thse people around us. But how is this to come about? Reading a page from those books every day and saving pennies in the tin-can bank isn't enough. Money! Would that make it better for them? Yes, it would make it easy. But no, the money wouldn't be enough. McGarrity owns the saloon standing on the corner and he has a lot of money. His wife wears diamond earrings. But her children are not as good and smart as my children. They are mean and greedy towards others...Ah no, it isn't the money alone... That means there must be something bigger than money. Miss Jackson teaches... and she has no money. She works for charity. She lives in a little room there on the top floor. She only has the one dress but she keeps it clean and pressed. Her eyes look straight into yours when you talk to her... She understands about things. She can live in the middle of a dirty neighborhood and be fine and clean like an actress in a play; someone you can look at but is too fine to touch... So what is this difference between her and this Miss Jackson who has no money?... Education! That was it!...Education would pull them out of the grime and dirt. Proof? Miss Jackson was educated, the McGarrity wasn't. Ah! That's what Mary Rommely, her mother, had been telling her all those years. Only her mother did not have the one clear word: education!... 'Francie is smart...She's a learner and she'll be somebody someday. But when she gets educated, she will grow away from me. Why, she's growing away from me now. She does not love me the way the boy loves me. I feel her turn away from me now. She does not understand me. All she understands is that I don't understand her. Maybe when she gets education, she will be ashamed of me- the way I talk. but she will have too much character to show it. Instead she will try to make me different. She will come to see me and try to make me live in a better way and I will be mean to her because I'll know she's above me. She will figure out too much about things as she grows older; she'll get to know too much for her own happiness. She'll find out that I don't love her as much as I love the boy. I cannot help that this is so. But she won't understand that. Somethimes I think she knows that now. Already she is growing away from me; she will fight to get away soon. Changing over to that far-away school was the first step in her getting away from me. But Neeley will never leave me, that is why I love him best. He will cling to me and understand me... There is music in him. He got that from his father. He has gone further on the piano than Francie or me. Yes, his father has the music in him but it does him no good. It is ruining him... With the boy, it will be different. He'll be educated. I must think out ways. We'll not have Johnnny with us long. Dear God, I loved him so much once- and sometimes I still do. But he's worthless...worthless. And God forgive me for ever finding out.' Thus Katie figured out everything in the moments it took them to climb the stairs. People looking up at her- at her smooth pretty vivacious face- had no way of knowing about the painfully articulated resolves formulating hin her mind.
Betty Smith
I beg your pardon, Mrs. Graham - but you get on too fast. I have not yet said that a boy should be taught to rush into the snares of life, - or even wilfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it; - I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe; - and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hothouse, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountain-side, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered from the shock of the tempest.' 'Granted; - but would you use the same argument with regard to a girl?' 'Certainly not.' 'No; you would have her to be tenderly and delicately nurtured, like a hot-house plant - taught to cling to others for direction and support, and guarded, as much as possible, from the very knowledge of evil. But will you be so good as to inform me why you make this distinction? Is it that you think she has no virtue?' 'Assuredly not.' 'Well, but you affirm that virtue is only elicited by temptation; - and you think that a woman cannot be too little exposed to temptation, or too little acquainted with vice, or anything connected therewith. It must be either that you think she is essentially so vicious, or so feeble-minded, that she cannot withstand temptation, - and though she may be pure and innocent as long as she is kept in ignorance and restraint, yet, being destitute of real virtue, to teach her how to sin is at once to make her a sinner, and the greater her knowledge, the wider her liberty, the deeper will be her depravity, - whereas, in the nobler sex, there is a natural tendency to goodness, guarded by a superior fortitude, which, the more it is exercised by trials and dangers, is only the further developed - ' 'Heaven forbid that I should think so!' I interrupted her at last." 'Well, then, it must be that you think they are both weak and prone to err, and the slightest error, the merest shadow of pollution, will ruin the one, while the character of the other will be strengthened and embellished - his education properly finished by a little practical acquaintance with forbidden things. Such experience, to him (to use a trite simile), will be like the storm to the oak, which, though it may scatter the leaves, and snap the smaller branches, serves but to rivet the roots, and to harden and condense the fibres of the tree. You would have us encourage our sons to prove all things by their own experience, while our daughters must not even profit by the experience of others. Now I would have both so to benefit by the experience of others, and the precepts of a higher authority, that they should know beforehand to refuse the evil and choose the good, and require no experimental proofs to teach them the evil of transgression. I would not send a poor girl into the world, unarmed against her foes, and ignorant of the snares that beset her path; nor would I watch and guard her, till, deprived of self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will to watch and guard herself; - and as for my son - if I thought he would grow up to be what you call a man of the world - one that has "seen life," and glories in his experience, even though he should so far profit by it as to sober down, at length, into a useful and respected member of society - I would rather that he died to-morrow! - rather a thousand times!' she earnestly repeated, pressing her darling to her side and kissing his forehead with intense affection. He had already left his new companion, and been standing for some time beside his mother's knee, looking up into her face, and listening in silent wonder to her incomprehensible discourse. Anne Bronte, "The Tenant of Wildfell Hall" (24,25)
Anne Brontë
Kestrel came often. One day, when she knew from Sarsine that Arin had returned home but she had not yet seen him, she went to the suite. She touched one of his violins, reaching furtively to pluck the highest string of the largest instrument. The sound was sour. The violin was ruined--no doubt all of them were. That is what happens when an instrument is left strung and uncased for ten years. A floorboard creaked somewhere in one of the outer chambers. Arin. He entered the room, and she realized that she had expected him. Why else had she come here so frequently, almost every day, if she hadn’t hoped that someone would notice and tell him to find her there? But even though she admitted to wanting to be here with him in his old rooms, she hadn’t imagined it would be like this. With her caught touching his things. Her gaze dropped. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “It’s all right,” he said. “I don’t mind.” He lifted the violin off its nails and set it in her hands. It was light, but Kestrel’s arms lowered as if the violin’s hollowness were terribly heavy. She cleared her throat. “Do you still play?” He shook his head. “I’ve mostly forgotten how. I wasn’t good at it anyway. I loved to sing. Before the war, I worried that gift would leave me, the way it often does with boys. We grow, we change, our voices break. It doesn’t matter how well you sing when you’re nine years old, you know. Not when you’re a boy. When the change comes you just have to hope for the best…that your voice settles into something you can love again. My voice broke two years after the invasion. Gods, how I squeaked. And when my voice finally settled, it seemed like a cruel joke. It was too good. I hardly knew what to do with it. I felt so grateful to have this gift…and so angry, for it to mean so little. And now…” He shrugged, a self-deprecating gesture. “Well, I know I’m rusty.” “No,” Kestrel said. “You’re not. Your voice is beautiful.” The silence after that was soft.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
He told me to stay away from you.” Strong hands roamed her back in the most comforting fashion. “You should have listened.” Rose raised her face to look at him. “But then I would not have known what it was to be truly happy.” Grey’s eyes widened, and for a moment he looked young and vulnerable. “Don’t say that. I’ve made you miserable.” She smiled sadly. “True, but those nights with you at Saint’s Row? That was happiness for me. The most I’ve ever known.” His mouth opened and she pressed her fingers again his lips to close them. “You don’t have to say anything. I already know it’s not what I want to hear.” Grey frowned, and reached up to move her hand from his face. He held her fingers within his. He gave off more heat than the fire she’d fried herself in front of earlier. Heat that went straight to her bones, right to the very center of her being, radiating out into her limbs. There was nothing seductive about their embrace and yet she ached inside, that wet and willing part of herself desperate to take him inside once more. She wanted to claim him, mark him. Ruin him for anyone else. “I was happy too,” he said softly. So softly she wouldn’t have known it was him who spoke were she not watching his beautiful lips as they formed the words. “God help me, you make me forget every vow and promise I’ve ever made.” Heart pounding, Rose didn’t resist as he dropped her hand to thread his fingers in her hair, pressing against her scalp. “You make me feel like someone else,” he told her gruffly. “A good man. A worthy man, and not a selfish bastard too corrupted to ever be loved.” Her eyes burned, but Rose managed to hold the tears at bay. She bit her lip, staring at him, she knew, with her heart in her eyes. She didn’t care. “You are a good man,” she whispered. “The best I know.” Who else would cut himself off from almost all contact with people simply to keep himself from returning to a way of life he wanted to leave behind? “You shouldn’t say things like that.” “Why not? I believe them.” “Because when you say them, I want to believe them.” And then he lowered his head and captured her mouth with his own.
Kathryn Smith (When Seducing a Duke (Victorian Soap Opera, #1))
He never approves of anything I do,” Kusha says from the garage, hiding her frown. She gets all her old cars and tools from places you don’t want your daughters to visit. And Rashad Gaumont certainly doesn’t want her to visit Magic Mama, the not-enough-evolved, middle-aged man from the Old City. “He’s not a citizen! He lives in a bus! So what if he made it himself? So what if he teaches you about machines? Don’t meet him.” “Why?” Kusha used to ask Rashad, and she’d always get the same answer: “The unevolved kind brings chaos and wars.” Kusha didn’t listen. She went again and bought this car, too, from an antique dealer. He almost gave it away, saying it will never run again. It has the old days’ engine, the kind you don’t find in this era. A change of engines and batteries, a new set of all-terrain-tires, some safety trackers, sensors, and, well, a whole list of other things with 300% luck to make it run again through the Junk Land—the land outside the cities where it’s only ruins and rubble. Needs hard work, yes. But Kusha instantly liked the color of its body, the moment she saw it—a sort of green with greyish tint, and a good load of rust.
Misba (The High Auction (Wisdom Revolution, #1))
We have to find a way to push them together,” Minerva said. “You know perfectly well that if Oliver marries, Gran will forget this ridiculous idea of hers about the rest of us marrying. She just wants him to produce an heir” Hetty’s eyebrows shot high. Her granddaughter had a big surprise coming down the road. “And you’re willing to throw him under the wheels of the coach to save yourself, is that it?” Jarret quipped. “No!” Her voice softened. “You and I both know he needs someone to drag him out of himself. Or he’s just going to get scarier as he gets older.” She paused. “Did you tell him about Miss Butterfield’s being an heiress?” That certainly arrested Hetty’s attention. She hadn’t dreamed that the girl had money. “Yes, but I fear that might have been a mistake-when I suggested that he marry her for her fortune, he got angry.” Of course he got angry, you fool, Hetty thought with a roll of her eyes. Honestly, did her grandson know nothing about his brother? “For goodness sake, Jarret, you weren’t supposed to suggest that. You were supposed to get him concerned that she might fall prey to fortune hunters.” At least Minerva had a brain. “Damn,” Jarret said. “Then I probably shouldn’t have exaggerated the amount.” “Oh, Lord.” Minerva sighed. “By how much?” “I kind of…tripled it.” Minerva released an unladylike oath. “Why did you do that? Now he won’t go near her. Haven’t you noticed how much he hates talk of marrying for money?” “Men say things like that, but in the end they’re practical.” “Not Oliver! You’ve just ruined everything!” “Don’t be so dramatic,” Jarret said. “Besides, I have a plan-I laid the seeds for it before I even left Oliver’s study. Come, let’s go talk to the others. It will take all of us working together.” His voice receded as the two of them apparently left the room. “If we merely…” Hetty strained to hear, but she lost the thread of the conversation. Not that it mattered. A smile tugged at her mouth. It appeared she would not have to carry off this match alone. All she need do was sit back and watch Jarret work on Oliver. In the meantime, she would let Minerva go on thinking that finding Oliver a wife would solve their dilemma. That would spur the girl to try harder. In the end, it didn’t matter why or how they managed it, as long as they did. Thank God her grandchildren had inherited her capacity for scheming. It made her proud. So Oliver thought he was going to get around her this time, did he? Well, he was in for a shock. This time he had more than just her to worry about. And with every one of the Sharpe children on Miss Butterfield’s side? She laughed. Poor Oliver didn’t stand a chance.
Sabrina Jeffries (The Truth About Lord Stoneville (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #1))
Death, like so many great movies, is sad. The young fancy themselves immune to death. And why shouldn’t they? At times life can seem endless, filled with belly laughs and butterflies, passion and joy, and good, cold beer. Of course, with age comes the solemn understanding that forever is but a word. Seasons change, love withers, the good die young. These are hard truths, painful truths—inescapable but, we are told, necessary. Winter begets spring, night ushers in the dawn, and loss sows the seeds of renewal. It is, of course, easy to say these things, just as it is easy to, say, watch a lot of television. But, easy or not, we rely on such sentiment. To do otherwise would be to jump without hope into a black and endless abyss, falling through an all-enveloping void for all eternity. Really, what’s to gain from saying that the night only grows darker and that hope lies crushed under the jackboots of the wicked? What answers do we have when we arrive at the irreducible realization that there is no salvation in life, that sooner or later, despite our best hopes and most ardent dreams, no matter how good our deeds and truest virtues, no matter how much we work toward our varied ideals of immortality, inevitably the seas will boil, evil will run roughshod over the earth, and the planet will be left a playground in ruins, fit only for cockroaches and vermin. There is a saying favored by clergymen and aging ballplayers: Pray for rain. But why pray for rain when it’s raining hot, poisoned blood?
Dave Eggers (A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius)
Blast. This day had not gone as planned. By this time, he was supposed to be well on his way to the Brighton Barracks, preparing to leave for Portugal and rejoin the war. Instead, he was…an earl, suddenly. Stuck at this ruined castle, having pledged to undertake the military equivalent of teaching nursery school. And to make it all worse, he was plagued with lust for a woman he couldn’t have. Couldn’t even touch, if he ever wanted his command back. As if he sensed Bram’s predicament, Colin started to laugh. “What’s so amusing?” “Only that you’ve been played for a greater fool than you realize. Didn’t you hear them earlier? This is Spindle Cove, Bram. Spindle. Cove.” “You keep saying that like I should know the name. I don’t.” “You really must get around to the clubs. Allow me to enlighten you. Spindle Cove-or Spinster Cove, as we call it-is a seaside holiday village. Good families send their fragile-flower daughters here for the restorative sea air. Or whenever they don’t know what else to do with them. My friend. Carstairs sent his sister here last summer, when she grew too fond of the stable boy.” “And so…?” “And so, your little militia plan? Doomed before it even starts. Families send their daughters and wards here because it’s safe. It’s safe because there are no men. That’s why they call it Spinster Cove.” “There have to be men. There’s no such thing as a village with no men.” “Well, there may be a few servants and tradesmen. An odd soul or two down there with a shriveled twig and a couple of currants dangling between his legs. But there aren’t any real men. Carstairs told us all about it. He couldn’t believe what he found when he came to fetch his sister. The women here are man-eaters.” Bram was scarcely paying attention. He focused his gaze to catch the last glimpses of Miss Finch as her figure receded into the distance. She was like a sunset all to herself, her molten bronze hair aglow as she sank beneath the bluff’s horizon. Fiery. Brilliant. When she disappeared, he felt instantly cooler. And then, only then, did he turn to his yammering cousin. “What were you saying?” “We have to get out of here, Bram. Before they take our bollocks and use them for pincushions.” Bram made his way to the nearest wall and propped one shoulder against it, resting his knee. Damn, that climb had been steep. “Let me understand this,” he said, discreetly rubbing his aching thigh under the guise of brushing off loose dirt. “You’re suggesting we leave because the village is full of spinsters? Since when do you complain about an excess of women?” “These are not your normal spinsters. They’re…they’re unbiddable. And excessively educated.” “Oh. Frightening, indeed. I’ll stand my ground when facing a French cavalry charge, but an educated spinster is something different entirely.” “You mock me now. Just you wait. You’ll see, these women are a breed unto themselves.” “These women aren’t my concern.” Save for one woman, and she didn’t live in the village. She lived at Summerfield, and she was Sir Lewis Finch’s daughter, and she was absolutely off limits-no matter how he suspected Miss Finch would become Miss Vixen in bed.
Tessa Dare (A Night to Surrender (Spindle Cove, #1))
Keng's Disciple The disciple: "When I don't know people treat me like a fool. When I do know, the knowledge gets me into trouble. When I fail to do good. I hurt others. When I do good, I hurt myself. If I avoid my duty, I am remiss, But if I do it, I am ruined. How can I get out of these contradictions? This is what I came to ask you." ". . . .You are trying to sound The middle of the ocean With a six-foot pole. You have got lost and are trying To find your way back To your own true self. You find nothing But illegible signposts Pointing in all directions. I pity you." The disciple asked for admittance, Took a cell, and there Meditated, Trying to cultivate qualities He thought desirable And get rid of others Which he disliked. Ten days of that! Despair! ". . . Do not try To hold on to Tao - Just hope that Tao Will keep hold of you!" ". . . You want the first elements? The infant has them. Free from care, unaware of self, He acts without reflection, Stays where he is put, does not know why, Does not figure things out, Just goes along with them, Is part of the current. These are the first elements!" The disciple asked: Is this perfection? Lao replied: "Not at all. It is only the beginning. This melts the ice. This enables you To unlearn, So that you can be led by Tao, Be a child of Tao If you persist in trying To attain what is never attained (It is Tao's gift!) If you persist in making effort To obtain what effort cannot get; If you persist in reasoning About what cannot be understood, You will be destroyed By the very thing you seek. To know when to stop to know When you can get no further By your own action, This is the right beginning!
Thomas Merton (The Way of Chuang Tzu (Shambhala Library))
Kestrel came often. One day, when she knew from Sarsine that Arin had returned home but she had not yet seen him, she went to the suite. She touched one of his violins, reaching furtively to pluck the highest string of the largest instrument. The sound was sour. The violin was ruined--no doubt all of them were. That is what happens when an instrument is left strung and uncased for ten years. A floorboard creaked somewhere in one of the outer chambers. Arin. He entered the room, and she realized that she had expected him. Why else had she come here so frequently, almost every day, if she hadn’t hoped that someone would notice and tell him to find her there? But even though she admitted to wanting to be here with him in his old rooms, she hadn’t imagined it would be like this. With her caught touching his things. Her gaze dropped. “I’m sorry,” she murmured. “It’s all right,” he said. “I don’t mind.” He lifted the violin off its nails and set it in her hands. It was light, but Kestrel’s arms lowered as if the violin’s hollowness were terribly heavy. She cleared her throat. “Do you still play?” He shook his head. “I’ve mostly forgotten how. I wasn’t good at it anyway. I loved to sing. Before the war, I worried that gift would leave me, the way it often does with boys. We grow, we change, our voices break. It doesn’t matter how well you sing when you’re nine years old, you know. Not when you’re a boy. When the change comes you just have to hope for the best…that your voice settles into something you can love again. My voice broke two years after the invasion. Gods, how I squeaked. And when my voice finally settled, it seemed like a cruel joke. It was too good. I hardly knew what to do with it. I felt so grateful to have this gift…and so angry, for it to mean so little. And now…” He shrugged, a self-deprecating gesture. “Well, I know I’m rusty.” “No,” Kestrel said. “You’re not. Your voice is beautiful.” The silence after that was soft. Her fingers curled around the violin. She wanted to ask Arin a question yet couldn’t bear to do it, couldn’t say that she didn’t understand what had happened to him the night of the invasion. It didn’t make sense. The death of his family was what her father would call a “waste of resources.” The Valorian force had had no pity for the Herrani military, but it had tried to minimize civilian casualties. You can’t make a dead body work. “What is it, Kestrel?” She shook her head. She set the violin back on the wall. “Ask me.” She remembered standing outside the governor’s palace and refusing to hear his story, and was ashamed once more. “You can ask me anything,” he said. Each question seemed the wrong one. Finally, she said, “How did you survive the invasion?” He didn’t speak at first. Then he said, “My parents and sister fought. I didn’t.” Words were useless, pitifully useless--criminal, even, in how they could not account for Arin’s grief, and could not excuse how her people had lived on the ruin of his. Yet again Kestrel said, “I’m sorry.” “It’s not your fault.” It felt as if it was. Arin led the way out of his old suite. When they came to the last room, the greeting room, he paused before the outermost door. It was the slightest of hesitations, no longer than if the second hand of a clock stayed a beat longer on its mark than it should. But in that fraction of time, Kestrel understood that the last door was not paler than the others because it had been made from a different wood. It was newer. Kestrel took Arin’s battered hand in hers, the rough heat of it, the fingernails still ringed with carbon from the smith’s coal fire. His skin was raw-looking: scrubbed clean and scrubbed often. But the black grime was too ingrained. She twined her fingers with his. Kestrel and Arin walked together through the passageway and the ghost of its old door, which her people had smashed through ten years before.
Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))
The dining room was formidably elegant--I couldn’t take it in all at once. A swift glance gave the impression of the family colors, augmented by gold, blended with artistry and grace. The table was high, probably to accommodate the elderly Prince. The chairs, one for each diner, were especially fine--no angles, everything curves and ovals and pleasing lines. The meal, of course, was just as good. Again I left the others to work at a polite conversation. I bent my attention solely to my food, eating a portion of every single thing offered, until at last--and I never thought it would happen again, so long it had been--I was truly stuffed. This restored to me a vestige of my customary good spirits, enough so that when the Prince asked me politely if the dinner had been sufficient, and if he could have anything else brought out, I smiled and said, “It was splendid. Something to remember all my life. But--” I realized I was babbling, and shut up. The Prince’s dark eyes narrowed with amusement, though his mouth stayed solemn--I knew I’d seen that expression before. “Please. You have only to ask.” “I don’t want a thing. It was more a question, and that is: If you can eat like this every day, why aren’t you fatter than five oxen?” Bran set his goblet down, his eyes wide. “Burn it, Mel, I was just thinking the very same!” That was the moment I realized that, though our rank was as high as theirs, or nearly, and our name as old, Branaric and I must have sounded as rustic and ignorant as a pair of backwoods twig gatherers. It ruined my mood. I put my fork down and scrutinized the Prince for signs of the sort of condescending laughter that would--no doubt--make this a rich story to pass around Court as soon as we were gone. Prince Alaerec said, “During my peregrinations about the world, I discovered some surprising contradictions in human nature. One of them is that, frequently anyway, the more one has, the less one desires.” His voice was mild and pleasant, and impossible to divine any direct meaning from. I turned for the first time to his son, to meet that same assessing gaze I remembered from our first encounter. How long had that been trained on me? Now thoroughly annoyed, I said, “Well, if you’re done listening to us sit here and make fools of ourselves, why don’t we get on to whatever it is you’re going to hold over our heads next?” Neither Renselaeus reacted. It was Bran who blinked at me in surprise and said, “Curse it, Mel, where are your wits at? Didn’t Shevraeth tell you? We’re part of their plan to kick Galdran off his throne!
Sherwood Smith (Crown Duel (Crown & Court, #1))
I had been telling him how the devil was God’s enemy in the hearts of men, and used all his malice and skill to defeat the good designs of Providence, and to ruin the kingdom of Christ in the world, and the like. “Well,” says Friday, “but you say God is so strong, so great; is He not much strong, much might as the devil?” “Yes, yes,” says I, “Friday; God is stronger than the devil—God is above the devil, and therefore we pray to God to tread him down under our feet, and enable us to resist his temptations and quench his fiery darts.” “But,” says he again, “if God much stronger, much might as the wicked devil, why God no kill the devil, so make him no more do wicked?” I was strangely surprised at this question; and, after all, though I was now an old man, yet I was but a young doctor, and ill qualified for a casuist or a solver of difficulties; and at first I could not tell what to say; so I pretended not to hear him, and asked him what he said; but he was too earnest for an answer to forget his question, so that he repeated it in the very same broken words as above. By this time I had recovered myself a little, and I said, “God will at last punish him severely; he is reserved for the judgment, and is to be cast into the bottomless pit, to dwell with everlasting fire.” This did not satisfy Friday; but he returns upon me, repeating my words, “‘Reserve at last!’ me no understand—but why not kill the devil now; not kill great ago?” “You may as well ask me,” said I, “why God does not kill you or me, when we do wicked things here that offend Him—we are preserved to repent and be pardoned.” He mused some time on this. “Well, well,” says he, mighty affectionately, “that well—so you, I, devil, all wicked, all preserve, repent, God pardon all.” Here I was run down again by him to the last degree; and it was a testimony to me, how the mere notions of nature, though they will guide reasonable creatures to the knowledge of a God, and of a worship or homage due to the supreme being of God, as the consequence of our nature, yet nothing but divine revelation can form the knowledge of Jesus Christ, and of redemption purchased for us; of a Mediator of the new covenant, and of an Intercessor at the footstool of God’s throne; I say, nothing but a revelation from Heaven can form these in the soul; and that, therefore, the gospel of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, I mean the Word of God, and the Spirit of God, promised for the guide and sanctifier of His people, are the absolutely necessary instructors of the souls of men in the saving knowledge of God and the means of salvation.
Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe (Robinson Crusoe, #1))
Well, Mr Markham, you that maintain that a boy should not be shielded from evil, but sent out to battle against it, alone and unassisted - not taught to avoid the snares of life, but boldly to rush into them, or over them, as he may - to seek danger rather than shun it, and feed his virtue by temptation - would you-' 'I beg your pardon, Mrs Graham - but you get on too fast. I have not yet said that a boy should be taught to rush into the snares of life - or even wilfully to seek temptation for the sake of exercising his virtue by overcoming it - I only say that it is better to arm and strengthen your hero, than to disarm and enfeeble the foe; and if you were to rear an oak sapling in a hot-house, tending it carefully night and day, and shielding it from every breath of wind, you could not expect it to become a hardy tree, like that which has grown up on the mountain-side, exposed to all the action of the elements, and not even sheltered form the shock of the tempest.' 'Granted; but would you use the same arguments with regard to a girl?' 'Certainly not.' 'No; you would have her to be tenderly and delicately nurtured, like a hot-house plant - taught to cling to others for direction and support, and guarded, as much as possible, from the very knowledge of evil. But will you be so good as to inform me why you make this distinction? Is it that you think she has no virtue?' 'Assuredly not.' 'Well, but you affirm that virtue is only elicited by temptation; and you think that a woman cannot be too little exposed to temptation, or too little acquainted with vice, or anything connected therewith. It must be, either, that you think she is essentially so vicious, or so feeble-minded that she cannot withstand temptation - and though she may be pure and innocent as long as she is kept in ignorance and restraint, yet, being destitute of real virtue, to teach her how to sin, is at once to make her a sinner, and the greater her knowledge, the wider her liberty, the deeper will be her depravity - whereas, in the nobler sex, there is a natural tendency to goodness, guarded by a superior fortitude, which, the more it is exercised by trials and dangers, it is only further developed-' 'Heaven forbid that I should think so!' I interrupted her at last. 'Well then, it must be that you think they are both weak and prone to err, and the slightest error, the nearest shadow of pollution, will ruin the one, while the character of the other will be strengthened and embellished - his education properly finished by a little practical acquaintance with forbidden things. Such experience, to him (to use a trite simile), will be like the storm to the oak, which, though it may scatter the leaves, and snap the smaller branches, serves but to rivet the roots, and to harden and condense the fibres of the tree. You would have us encourage our sons to prove all things by their own experience, while our daughters must not even profit by the experience of others.
Anne Brontë
I stopped struggling, going limp in his arms. He reached around us and shoved the door closed, spinning around and facing us toward the kitchen. “I was trying to make you breakfast.” It took a moment for his words and their meaning to sink in. I stared dumbfounded across the room and past the island. There was smoke billowing up from the stove and the window above the sink was wide open. Bowls and spoons littered the island and there was a carton of eggs sitting out. He was trying to cook. He was really bad at it. I started to laugh. The kind of laugh that shook my shoulders and bubbled up hysterically. My heart rate was still out of control, and I took in a few breaths between laughs to try and calm it down. He said something, but I couldn’t hear him because the fire alarm was still going off. I had no doubt half the neighborhood was now awake from the sound. He didn’t bother to put me down, instead hauling me along with him, where he finally set me down, dragged a chair over near the alarm, and climbed up to remove the battery. The noise cut off and the kitchen fell silent. “Well, shit,” he said, staring at the battery in his hand. A giggle escaped me. “Does this always happen when you cook?” He shrugged. “The only time I ever cook is when it’s my turn at the station.” His forehead creased and a thoughtful look came over his face. “The guys are never around when it’s my night to cook. Now I know why.” He snagged a towel off the counter and began waving away the rest of the lingering smoke. I clicked on the vent fan above the stove. There was a pan with half a melted spatula, something that may or may not have once been eggs, and a muffin tin with half-burned, half-raw muffins (how was that even possible?). “Well, this looks…” My words faltered, trying to come up with something positive to say. “Completely inedible?” he finished. I grinned. “You did all this for me?” “I figured after a week of hospital food, you might like something good. Apparently you aren’t going to find that here.” I had the urge to hug him. I kept my feet planted where they were. “Thank you. No one’s ever ruined a pan for me before.” He grinned. “I have cereal. Even I can’t mess that up.” I watched as he pulled down a bowl and poured me some, adding milk. He looked so cute when he handed me the bowl that I lifted the spoon and took a bite. “Best cereal I ever had.” “Damn straight.” I carried it over to the counter and sat down. “After we eat, would you mind taking me to my car? I hope it’s still drivable.” “What about the keys?” “I have a security deposit box at the bank. I keep my spare there in case I ever need them.” “Pretty smart.” “I have a few good ideas now and then.” “Contrary to the way it looks, I do too.” “Thank you for trying to make me breakfast. And for the cereal.” He walked over to the stove and picked up the ruined pan. “You died with honor,” he said, giving it a mock salute. And then he threw the entire thing into the trashcan. I laughed. “You could have washed it, you know.” He made a face. “No. Then I might be tempted to use it again.
Cambria Hebert (Torch (Take It Off, #1))
I’m at my locker; the door is jammed, and I’m trying to yank it open. I finally get the door loose and there’s Josh, standing right there. “Lara Jean…” He has this shell-shocked, confused expression on his face. “I’ve been trying to talk to you since last night. I came by, and nobody could find you…” He holds out my letter. “I don’t understand. What is this?” “I don’t know…,” I hear myself say. My voice feels far away. It’s like I’m floating above myself, watching it all unfold. “I mean, it’s from you, right?” “Oh, wow.” I take a deep breath and accept the letter. I fight the urge to tear it up. “Where did you even get this?” “It got sent to me in the mail.” Josh jams his hands into his pockets. “When did you write this?” “Like, a long time ago,” I say. I let out a fake little laugh. “I don’t even remember when. It might have been middle school.” Good job, Lara Jean. Keep it up. Slowly he says, “Right…but you mention going to the movies with Margot and Mike and Ben that time. That was a couple of years ago.” I bite my bottom lip. “Right. I mean, it was kind of a long time ago. In the grand scheme of things.” I can feel tears coming on so close that if I break concentration even for a second, if I waver, I will cry and that will make everything worse, if such a thing is possible. I must be cool and breezy and nonchalant now. Tears would ruin that. Josh is staring at me so hard I have to look away. “So then…Do you…or did you have feelings for me or…?” “I mean, yes, sure, I did have a crush on you at one point, before you and Margot ever started dating. A million years ago.” “Why didn’t you ever say anything? Because, Lara Jean…God. I don’t know.” His eyes are on me, and they’re confused, but there’s something else, too. “This is crazy. I feel kind of blindsided.” The way he’s looking at me now, I’m suddenly in a time warp back to a summer day when I was fourteen and he was fifteen, and we were walking home from somewhere. He was looking at me so intently I was sure he was going to try to kiss me. I got nervous, so I picked a fight with him and he never looked at me like that again. Until this moment. Don’t. Just please, don’t. Whatever he’s thinking, whatever he wants to say, I don’t want to hear it. I will do anything, literally anything, not to hear it. Before he can, I say, “I’m dating someone.” Josh’s jaw goes slack. “What?” What? “Yup. I’m dating someone, someone I really really like, so please don’t worry about this.” I wave the letter like it’s just paper, trash, like once upon a time I didn’t literally pour my heart onto this page. I stuff it into my bag. “I was really confused when I wrote this; I don’t even know how it got sent out. Honestly, it’s not worth talking about. So please, please don’t say anything to Margot about it.” He nods, but that’s not good enough. I need a verbal commitment. I need to hear the words come out of his mouth. So I add, “Do you swear? On your life?” If Margot was to ever find out…I would want to die. “All right, I swear. I mean, we haven’t even spoken since she left.” I let out a huge breath. “Great. Thanks.” I’m about to walk away, but then Josh stops me. “Who’s the guy?” “What guy?” “The guy you’re dating.” That’s when I see him. Peter Kavinsky, walking down the hallway. Like magic. Beautiful, dark-haired Peter. He deserves background music, he looks so good. “Peter. Kavinsky. Peter Kavinsky!
Jenny Han (To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1))
For a brief moment she considered the unfairness of it all. How short was the time for fun, for pretty clothes, for dancing, for coquetting! Only a few, too few years! Then you married and wore dull-colored dresses and had babies that ruined your waist line and sat in corners at dances with other sober matrons and only emerged to dance with your husband or with old gentlemen who stepped on your feet. If you didn't do these things, the other matrons talked about you and then your reputation was ruined and your family disgraced. It seemed such a terrible waste to spend all your little girlhood learning how to be attractive and how to catch men and then only use the knowledge for a year or two. When she considered her training at the hands of Ellen and Mammy, se knew it had been thorough and good because it had always reaped results. There were set rules to be followed, and if you followed them success crowned your efforts. With old ladies you were sweet and guileless and appeared as simple minded as possible, for old ladies were sharp and they watched girls as jealously as cats, ready to pounce on any indiscretion of tongue or eye. With old gentlemen, a girl was pert and saucy and almost, but not quite, flirtatious, so that the old fools' vanities would be tickled. It made them feel devilish and young and they pinched your cheek and declared you were a minx. And, of course, you always blushed on such occasions, otherwise they would pinch you with more pleasure than was proper and then tell their sons that you were fast. With young girls and young married women, you slopped over with sugar and kissed them every time you met them, even if it was ten times a day. And you put your arms about their waists and suffered them to do the same to you, no matter how much you disliked it. You admired their frocks or their babies indiscriminately and teased about beaux and complimented husbands and giggled modestly and denied you had any charms at all compared with theirs. And, above all, you never said what you really thought about anything, any more than they said what they really thought. Other women's husbands you let severely alone, even if they were your own discarded beaux, and no matter how temptingly attractive they were. If you were too nice to young husbands, their wives said you were fast and you got a bad reputation and never caught any beaux of your own. But with young bachelors-ah, that was a different matter! You could laugh softly at them and when they came flying to see why you laughed, you could refuse to tell them and laugh harder and keep them around indefinitely trying to find out. You could promise, with your eyes, any number of exciting things that would make a man maneuver to get you alone. And, having gotten you alone, you could be very, very hurt or very, very angry when he tried to kiss you. You could make him apologize for being a cur and forgive him so sweetly that he would hang around trying to kiss you a second time. Sometimes, but not often, you did let them kiss you. (Ellen and Mammy had not taught her that but she learned it was effective). Then you cried and declared you didn't know what had come over you and that he couldn't ever respect you again. Then he had to dry your eyes and usually he proposed, to show just how much he did respect you. And there were-Oh, there were so many things to do to bachelors and she knew them all, the nuance of the sidelong glance, the half-smile behind the fan, the swaying of hips so that skirts swung like a bell, the tears, the laughter, the flattery, the sweet sympathy. Oh, all the tricks that never failed to work-except with Ashley.
Margaret Mitchell (Gone with the Wind)
I have been in many dugouts, Ludwig,” he goes on. “And we were all young men who sat there around one miserable slush lamp, waiting, while the barrage raged overhead like an earthquake. We were none of your inexperienced recruits, either; we knew well enough what we were waiting for and we knew what would come. —But there was more in those faces down in the gloom there than mere calm, more than good humour, more than just readiness to die. There was the will to another future in those hard, set faces; and it was there when they charged, and still there when they died. —We had less to say for ourselves year by year, we shed many things, but that one thing still remained. And now, Ludwig, where is it now? Can’t you see how it is perishing in all this pig’s wash of order, duty, women, routine, punctuality and the rest of it that here they call life? —No, Ludwig, we lived then! And you tell me a thousand times that you hate war, yet I still say, we lived then. We lived, because we were together, and because something burned in us that was more than this whole muck heap here!” He is breathing hard. “It must have been for something, Ludwig! When I first heard there was revolution, for one brief moment I thought: Now the time will be redeemed—now the flood will pour back, tearing down the old things, digging new banks for itself—and, by God, I would have been in it! But the flood broke up into a thousand runnels; the revolution became a mere scramble for jobs, for big jobs and little jobs. It has trickled away, it has been dammed up, it has been drained off into business, into family, and party. —But that will not do me. I’m going where comradeship is still to be found.” Ludwig stands up. His brow is flaming, his eyes blaze. He looks Rahe in the face. “And why is it, Georg? Why is it? Because we were duped, I tell you, duped as even yet we hardly realize; because we were misused, hideously misused. They told us it was for the Fatherland, and meant the schemes of annexation of a greedy industry. —They told us it was for Honour, and meant the quarrels and the will to power of a handful of ambitious diplomats and princes. —They told us it was for the Nation, and meant the need for activity on the part of out-of-work generals!” He takes Rahe by the shoulders and shakes him. “Can’t you see? They stuffed out the word Patriotism with all the twaddle of their fine phrases, with their desire for glory, their will to power, their false romanticism, their stupidity, their greed of business, and then paraded it before us as a shining ideal! And we thought they were sounding a bugle summoning us to a new, a more strenuous, a larger life. Can’t you see, man? But we were making war against ourselves without knowing it! Every shot that struck home, struck one of us! Can’t you see? Then listen and I will bawl it into your ears. The youth of the world rose up in every land, believing that it was fighting for freedom! And in every land they were duped and misused; in every land they have been shot down, they have exterminated each other! Don’t you see now? —There is only one fight, the fight against the lie, the half-truth, compromise, against the old order. But we let ourselves be taken in by their phrases; and instead of fighting against them, we fought for them. We thought it was for the Future. It was against the Future. Our future is dead; for the youth is dead that carried it. We are merely the survivors, the ruins. But the other is alive still—the fat, the full, the well content, that lives on, fatter and fuller, more contented than ever! And why? Because the dissatisfied, the eager, the storm troops have died for it. But think of it! A generation annihilated! A generation of hope, of faith, of will, strength, ability, so hypnotised that they have shot down one another, though over the whole world they all had the same purpose!” His
Erich Maria Remarque (The Road Back)
Egbunu, I must say that it wasn’t that he responded this way to every woman’s voice, but her voice sounded strangely familiar to him. Although he did not know it, I knew that it reminded him of his mother. At once he saw a plump, swarthy woman who looked his age. She was sweating in the hot sun, and the sweat shimmered along her legs. She carried a tray filled with groundnuts on her head. She was one of the poor—the class of people who had been created by the new civilization. In the time of the old fathers only the lazy, indolent, infirm, or accursed lacked, but now most people did. Go into the streets, into the heart of any market in Alaigbo, and you’ll find toiling men, men whose hands are as hard as stones and whose clothes are drenched in sweat, living in abject poverty. When the White Man came, he brought good things. When they saw the car, the children of the fathers cried out in amusement. The bridges? “Oh, how wonderful!” they said. “Isn’t this one of the wonders of the world?” they said of the radio. Instead of simply neglecting the civilization of their blessed fathers, they destroyed it. They rushed to the cities—Lagos, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano—only to find that the good things were in short supply. “Where are the cars for us?” they asked at the gates of these cities. “Only a few have them!” “What about the good jobs, the ones whose workers sit under air conditioners and wear long ties?” “Ah, they are only for those who have studied for years in a university, and even then, you’d still have to compete with the multitude of others with the same qualifications.” So, dejected, the children of the fathers turned back and returned. But to where? To the ruins of the structure they had destroyed. So they live on the bare minimum, and this is why you see people like this woman who walk the length and breadth of the city hawking groundnuts.
Chigozie Obioma (An Orchestra of Minorities)
Why is it that men want their own way in all things?” she asked, her tone exquisitely mild, but her blue eyes turbulently stormy. Player hoped this was one of those moments when a woman didn’t really want an answer. She wanted someone to listen. He did his best to look very interested in all she had to say. Any woman who floated teapots in the air commanded his respect. Jonas Harrington, whether he carried a gun or not, was crazy to annoy this woman on any level. The silence stretched between them until Player realized it was very possible Hannah required an answer. He cleared his throat. “You do realize I came to you because I totally fucked up my relationship with my woman, right? I don’t have a clue why men do half the bullshit things we do, Hannah. I came here to learn from you, not to advise you. I’m trying to get the brothers to ask a few questions so they don’t ruin what they have.” “You so deserve a cookie. They’re really good too. Take two.” Hannah beamed at him.
Christine Feehan (Reckless Road (Torpedo Ink #5))
Why are you doing this? To give you a chance to get to know me. To come to terms with me. [laughs] I’ll never come to terms with you. Then you’ll never be able to relax and enjoy your life… I just hate to see a poor schmuck ruin his life over the inevitable. […] … Your life isn’t empty - it’s meaningless. Don’t confuse the two. It has no meaning for everybody but that doesn’t mean it has to be empty. You’re a human being, you can make it full. How? … There’s work, family, love - the usual bullshit. But it’s reasonably effective. Even if you strike out, trying is good for you. Have you ever read Sisyphus, the Camus thing? Yes and it gave me a bad dream. I mean… I’m pushing that rock up the hill, over and over, and and it keeps falling back. And then finally I get the rock up to the top of the hill, and then what the hell do I have - a rock on a hill. You’re starting to get me depressed.
Woody Allen
It was surprising how quickly the girls opened up to my mother. Gemma told her the entire story of the Darkroom and the Dulcinea Award. She also reviewed the complete bird lexicon. My mother was as baffled as I was by the ubiquity of blowjobs as an introductory sexual act. “I don’t understand,” said Mom. “Don’t girls give hand jobs anymore? Much less effort required.” “The blowjob is the new hand job,” I said. “Really?” said Mom. “How many girls are entered in the contest? And what do they get—money?” “Most girls don’t even know there is a contest,” Gemma said. “If you don’t want to do something, why do you do it?” said my mom. “There’s this thing the boys do,” Mel said. “They make it seem like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t do it. So, you’re hanging out with some guy you like. You’re kissing and stuff and the next thing you know, he’s unzipped his fly. And you’re like, what happened? But you don’t say that because it’s awkward and—and you’re already not thinking clearly, because you like the person and everything you’ve done so far feels good. You don’t want to ruin the mood, so you do it. And while you’re doing it, you’re not feeling anything at all, and you’re telling yourself it’s not a big deal. But then, later, you feel something. You feel wrong, like dirty and used, and stupid. And you wonder what happened to you, the you who has a backbone.” “I need another drink,” I said. “Me too,” said my mother. Me too, said Gemma and Mel. My mother would have given them both a shot of bourbon, but I nixed that idea when I saw her pull two more glasses from the cabinet. Gemma showed us a few samples of the scoring system but wouldn’t relinquish the entire stack of entrants. “Swallows were spies, right?” said my mother, as she gazed down at the page. “Spies? What do you mean?” Mel said, perking up. “The Russians called female spies ‘swallows’ and male spies ‘ravens’ in the Cold War,” I said. “See, Mel. You’re a spy. That’s all,” said Gemma. “I would cut off the penis of any man who talk about me like this,” said my mother, as she gazed down at a score sheet. “You know what I would like to see? A bad-blowjob contest. That would teach them.” Gemma and Mel, who had seemed so lost, suddenly looked up at Mom like she was their new queen.
Lisa Lutz (The Swallows)
What had happened to him and the others who faced a judged and said: "You can't make me go in the army because I'm not American, or you wouldn't have plucked me and mine from a life that was good and real and meaningful and fenced me in the desert like they do the Jews in Germany and it is a puzzle why you haven't started to liquidate us though you might as well since everything else has been destroyed." And some said: "You, Mr. Judge, who supposedly represent justice, was it just a thing to ruin a hundred thousand lives and homes and farms and businesses and dreams and hopes because the hundred thousand were a hundred thousand Japanese when Japan is the country you're fighting and, if so, how about the Germans and Italians that must be just as questionable as the Japanese or we wouldn't be fighting Germany and Italy? Round them up. Take away their homes and cars and beer and spaguetti and throw them in a camp, and what do you think they'll say when you try to draft them into your army of the country that is for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?
John Okada (No-No Boy)
Probably smart to get the teal one over with next,” Elwin suggested. Fitz held up the vial in question, squinting at the ocean-colored liquid as it sloshed around the tiny bottle. “Hmm. Hopefully this doesn’t ruin your favorite color for you.” “It won’t.” She ordered herself not to meet his eyes. The last thing she needed was him guessing why the color was her favorite. But she couldn’t help a quick glance, and . . . Breathing became impossible again—which turned out to be a good thing when he poured the medicine into her mouth and the taste of old broccoli and boiled cabbage hit her hard. “Here,” he said, placing another candy on her tongue. “Better?” “Kinda.” The second bite did the trick—until Keefe’s voice called from the doorway, “Dude, are you guys feeding each other?
Shannon Messenger (Flashback (Keeper of the Lost Cities #7))
Do we know of effective ways to help the poor?” Implicit in Singer’s argument for helping others is the idea that you know how to do it: The moral imperative to ruin your suit is much less compelling if you do not know how to swim. This is why, in The Life You Can Save, Singer takes the trouble to offer his readers a list of concrete examples of things that they should support, regularly updated on his Web site.12 Kristof and WuDunn do the same. The point is simple: Talking about the problems of the world without talking about some accessible solutions is the way to paralysis rather than progress. This is why it is really helpful to think in terms of concrete problems which can have specific answers, rather than foreign assistance in general: “aid” rather than “Aid.” To take an example, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria caused almost 1 million deaths in 2008, mostly among African children.13 One thing we know is that sleeping under insecticide-treated bed nets can help save many of these lives. Studies have shown that in areas where malaria infection is common, sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net reduces the incidence of malaria by half.14 What, then, is the best way to make sure that children sleep under bed nets? For approximately $10, you can deliver an insecticide-treated net to a family and teach the household how to use it. Should the government or an NGO give parents free bed nets, or ask them to buy their own, perhaps at a subsidized price? Or should we let them buy it in the market at full price? These questions can be answered, but the answers are by no means obvious. Yet many “experts” take strong positions on them that have little to do with evidence. Because malaria is contagious, if Mary sleeps under a bed net, John is less likely to get malaria—if at least half the population sleeps under a net, then even those who do not have much less risk of getting infected.15 The problem is that fewer than one-fourth of kids at risk sleep under a net:16 It looks like the $10 cost is too much for many families in Mali or Kenya. Given the benefits both to the user and others in the neighborhood, selling the nets at a discount or even giving them away would seem to be a good idea. Indeed, free bed-net distribution is one thing that Jeffrey Sachs advocates.
Abhijit V. Banerjee (Poor Economics: Rethinking Poverty & the Ways to End it)
Just call her. People do too much by phones and apps. It’s terrible for the human mind. Apps are ruining society.” “And yet those same apps have made you a rich man.” “Why do you think I’m so grumpy all the time? It’s not about turning thirty. I may be having an existential crisis.” “I’m sorry to hear that,” Drew said. “I bought this house with blood money,” Alan said. “I’m not sure that’s what blood money means.” Drew patted his chest. “And I should know. Everything Dad and I purchase is bought with blood money. Teeth bleed. Gums bleed. It’s all blood money.” “Stop trying to make me laugh. I’m turning thirty, and I’ve done nothing but contribute to the further destruction of society’s fabric. I don’t want to feel better.” “Get used to it. When Megan comes over, you’re going to have to lighten up. She doesn’t tolerate people feeling sorry for themselves and moping around. It’s one of the many things I love about her.” Alan raised an eyebrow. “Love?” “Sure,” Drew said, lifting his chin. “I love many things about her. I may even love her.” “Good for you,” Alan said. “I’m happy for you, bro.” He put the marble cheese platters into the fridge to chill then sighed. “Now I know what I forgot,” he said to the closed fridge door. “Flowers. What kind of animal throws a dinner party with no fresh flowers?” Drew rubbed his temples. “I’m sending a psychic message to Megan. I’m asking her to bring over some flowers from the shop.” “You’re crazy.” Drew closed his eyes. “I’ve got a good feeling about this. Megan and I got off to a bad start, but we’ve had excellent, clear communication with each other since then.” “Clear enough for psychic messages?” “Can’t hurt to try. What’s the worst that could happen?
Angie Pepper (Romancing the Complicated Girl)
I miss everything about him being in my life. Not just the good things. I miss his flaws as achingly as I miss the beautiful parts of him. I miss his impatience, his anger. I miss the patronizing look he would give me sometimes when I was mad at him. I miss being annoyed by the fact that he’d always forget to fill the gas tank, leaving it near empty when I was ready to go somewhere. This is the thing, I think often, that never occurs to you when you consider what it would be like to lose someone you love. That you would miss not just the flowers and kisses, but the totality of the experience. You miss the failures and little evils with as much desperation as you miss being held in the middle of the night. I wish he were here now, and I was kissing him. I wish he were here now, and I was betraying him. Either would be fine, so fine, as long as he was here. People ask sometimes, when they get up the courage, what it’s like to lose someone you love. I tell them it’s hard, and leave it at that. I could tell them that it’s a crucifixion of the heart. I could say that most days after, I screamed without stopping, even as I moved through the city, even with my mouth closed, even though I didn’t make a sound. I could tell them I have this dream, every night, and lose him again, every morning. But, hey, why ruin their day? So I tell them it’s hard. That usually seems to satisfy them.
Cody McFadyen (Shadow Man (Smoky Barrett, #1))
Damn it, Aurora, I see it. I can see everything you’re fighting, but just say it. Fucking say it so I don’t feel like I’m the only one losing my goddamn mind trying to keep myself from you.” “The only one?” a sharp, disbelieving laugh burst from her. “But like you just said, Jentry, you love him. I love him. This is so much more complicated than finally finding you again! I thought you were gone. I thought I would never see you again. I don’t know how to navigate this now that you’re right here! And like before, you’re constantly pushing me away and confusing me more than ever.” “Because like I told you that first night, a guy like me shouldn’t be able to stain your kind of good. But that night—fuck, Aurora, you destroyed me. I have never been the same after it. And now I don’t know what to do because you’re with Declan when you should have been mine!” “Then stop challenging me like all I am is a game to you!” “A game?” I cupped her slender neck in one of my hands and brushed my thumb across her bottom lip as I leaned closer. “This is not a game. It’s not about wanting what I can’t have. It’s about wanting the girl who makes me feel like I’m touching heaven. It’s about wanting the girl who makes it easier to breathe because she looks at me like I’m something more than I am. It’s about needing the only girl who has made me believe that I deserve something as beautiful as her even though I know I can only ruin her.” “Will you stop?” she begged, forcing her words over mine. “Why are you so hard on yourself? Why do you always say things like that? From that first night it has torn at me that you think so little of yourself. If you could only see what I see!” “I do,” I responded quickly. “When I’m with you.” Her
Molly McAdams (I See You)
Where did this come from?” Dammit, he’d felt so good just a few minutes earlier. Why was she ruining it? “You make me sound like a real ass, Nic.” “No, you’re a man. Sometimes that’s just the same thing,” she fired back.
Emily March (Angel's Rest (Eternity Springs, #1))
You’ve been spending a great deal of time with my sister, Lord Ashton. I hope you realize that the servants are gossiping.” He sent Rose a conspiratorial look. “Are they? I suppose they think I am intent upon debauchery and ruining your sister.” “Indeed.” Lily planted her hands upon her hips and waited for him to offer an excuse. “I told her that I was teaching you about London,” Rose interjected. “She can’t seem to understand why I wouldn’t do so in a drawing room with chaperones present.” He turned to Lily and met her gaze evenly. “Your sister is lying.” “I am not.” “Yes, you are. You know full well that not only am I forcing you to kiss me, but we are committing fornication in broad daylight. Which would not be proper in the drawing room.” He lifted his own eyebrow and shot Lily a dark smile. At that, Rose stood up and glared at him. Her knees were shaking, but she would not stand back and listen to this. Already her face was crimson at his insinuation. “Lily, don’t you dare believe his lies!” “Why? It’s only now becoming interesting.” But the faint smile on Lily’s mouth revealed that she didn’t believe him at all. “You are a wretch, when we’ve done no such thing.” He only winked, and puckered his lips. She couldn’t believe his audacity. “If I had a rake right now, I would beat you senseless with it.” “It’s a good thing you don’t.” He smiled again at Lily and said, “The truth is, I am teaching your sister to walk.” His confession deflated her spirits. Why would he tell her sister that when she wanted it to remain a secret? How could he ruin her surprise? “She’s made very little progress and has fallen several times,” he continued. “She did not want to alarm any of you. Especially the servants, who would accuse me of trying to harm her.” Some of her anger dissipated, for he’d not mentioned her steps at all. “Rose, no.” Lily urged her to sit back on the bench. “You’re going to hurt yourself. You’ve stood, and that in itself is a tremendous accomplishment. But walking?” “We have made an agreement,” Rose said. “Lord Ashton has promised to catch me before I fall on my face. And I, in return, am teaching him about the complexity of forks.” Lord Ashton joined in, nodding in agreement. “They are quite impossible. Why anyone would need three forks at any meal is wasteful, indeed. It’s grateful I am that your sister is helping me to navigate cutlery.” Lily glanced at Rose and then back at Lord Ashton. “Well. That’s not quite what I was expecting.” “And
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie)
That’s so sweet.” “So says the romance novel reader.” “You have something against romance, Callahan?” “Not at all. I have something against schmaltz.” “Schmaltz! That wasn’t schmaltz.” “Darlin’, that picnic was the epitome of schmaltz.” “All right then, Casanova. What should Harry have done to romance his lady?” Gabe stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles. He linked his hands behind his head and considered the question. “The bouquet was way overdone. A single rose would be okay, or even better, whatever flower she considered her favorite. Hiring a violinist to ride behind the courting buggy ruined the whole thing.” “Now, why would you say that? It’s terribly romantic.” “You like threesomes, do you?” “What? No!” Gabe chuckled and continued, “A mountain meadow picnic was good, but a linen-draped table? Fine china? Roast duckling? No. Way too formal. Too stuffy. All you need for a romantic mountain meadow picnic is a quilt to spread on the grass and a picnic basket with finger foods. The champagne was a good idea, but it’d have been better if he’d put it to chill in the creek.” “That’s a good idea,” Nic agreed. “What about the poetry and the dancing?” “Depends on the woman, of course. If she’s into that, then yeah. Nothing’s wrong with poetry or dancing.” “What do you do for music if you’ve left the violinist back in town?” “If a guy can carry a tune at all, he can sing softly, or hum. You can dance to birdsong or music in your mind, as far as that goes.” She let that sit a minute, then said, “That’s not bad, Callahan. Not bad at all.” He
Emily March (Angel's Rest (Eternity Springs, #1))
I still don’t see the relevance of any of this,” Stan said. “Stick with me, I think you will.” Stan shrugged. “Where were we?” Myron asked. “The feds take him to court,” Win said. “Right, thanks, the feds take you to court. You battle back. Then something happens you totally didn’t foresee. The plagiarism charges. For the sake of discussion, we’ll assume the Lex family sent the book to the feds. They wanted to get you off their back—what better way to do that than to ruin your reputation? So what did you do? How did you react to the charges of plagiarism?” Stan kept quiet. Win said, “He disappeared.” “Correct answer,” Myron said. Win smiled and nodded a thank-you into the camera. “You took off,” Myron said to Stan. “Now the question again is why. Several things come to mind. It could have been because you were trying to protect your father. Or it might have been that you were afraid of the Lex family.” “Which would certainly fit Win’s credo,” Stan said. “Self-preservation.” “Right. You were afraid they’d harm you.” “Yes.” Myron treaded gently. “But don’t you see, Stan? We have to think selfishly too. You’re presented with this serious plagiarism charge. What choices did you have? Two really. You could either run off—or you could tell the truth.” Stan said, “I still don’t see your point.” “Stay with me. If you told the truth, you would again look like a louse. Here you’ve been defending the First Amendment and your father and whoops, you get in trouble and you sell them out. No good. You’d still be ruined.” “Damned if you do,” Win said. “Damned if you don’t.” “Right,” Myron said. “So the wise move—the selfish move—was to vanish for a while.” “But I lost everything by vanishing.” “No, Stan, you didn’t.” “How can you say that?” Myron lifted his palms to the skies and grinned. “Look around you.” For the first time, something dark flicked across Stan’s face. Myron saw it. So did Win.
Harlan Coben (Darkest Fear (Myron Bolitar, #7))
What cheek!" Lady Brookhampton declared, staring at Juliet in offended shock. "Yes. We colonials speak our minds." "Perhaps, then, I too should speak my mind," Katharine said, with a superior little smile as she nodded toward Charlotte. "Why, look at you, married less than a week and already toting his brat. I dare say, Lord Gareth works fast, does he not, Mama?" "Juliet is not the first woman Lord Gareth has ruined. But she just said she doesn't want to hear anything bad about her husband, Katharine." Juliet smiled sweetly. "Oh, but Lord Gareth wasn't the one who ruined me."  Both women looked at her. "Charles was." "What?!"  The word shot from Lady Brookhampton's mouth like a ball from a musket; beside her, her daughter's jaw nearly fell off its hinges. Juliet said, "You know, Charles? The one you all think was so perfect?"  Good Lord, would you listen to me, defending Gareth over Charles!  "He and I met in Boston in the winter of '74. We were engaged to be married, but he died in the fighting near Concord last year, and the legal union was never made. I came to England seeking the Duke of Blackheath's help, as Charles had bid me to do should anything happen to him."  Juliet's steady, dark green gaze never wavered as she faced down her husband's detractors. "Lord Gareth is an honorable and selfless man. He married me so that his brother's baby would bear the de Montforte name. I think that is most noble of him. Don't you?" Lady Brookhampton's jaw was working up and down as she fought to find words. "Well, I ... well, yes, I suppose it is." Her daughter's face had gone a very unattractive red. "You mean to say you were engaged to ... to my Charles?" "Was he your Charles?"  Juliet smiled sweetly and got to her feet. "I'm sorry. He didn't mention it. I thought he was mine. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have things to do. Good day."   ~~~~
Danelle Harmon (The Wild One (The de Montforte Brothers, #1))
Why are you doing this? Ever find yourself working on something without knowing exactly why? Someone just told you to do it. It’s pretty common, actually. That’s why it’s important to ask why you’re working on____. What is this for? Who benefits? What’s the motivation behind it? Knowing the answers to these questions will help you better understand the work itself. What problem are you solving? What’s the problem? Are customers confused? Are you confused? Is something not clear enough? Was something not possible before that should be possible now? Sometimes when you ask these questions, you’ll find you’re solving an imaginary problem. That’s when it’s time to stop and reevaluate what the hell you’re doing. Is this actually useful? Are you making something useful or just making something? It’s easy to confuse enthusiasm with usefulness. Sometimes it’s fine to play a bit and build something cool. But eventually you’ve got to stop and ask yourself if it’s useful, too. Cool wears off. Useful never does. Are you adding value? Adding something is easy; adding value is hard. Is this thing you’re working on actually making your product more valuable for customers? Can they get more out of it than they did before? Sometimes things you think are adding value actually subtract from it. Too much ketchup can ruin the fries. Value is about balance. Will this change behavior? Is what you’re working on really going to change anything? Don’t add something unless it has a real impact on how people use your product. Is there an easier way? Whenever you’re working on something, ask, “Is there an easier way?” You’ll often find this easy way is more than good enough for now. Problems are usually pretty simple. We just imagine that they require hard solutions. What could you be doing instead? What can’t you do because you’re doing this? This is especially important for small teams with constrained resources. That’s when prioritization is even more important. If you work on A, can you still do B and C before April? If not, would you rather have B and C instead of A? If you’re stuck on something for a long period of time, that means there are other things you’re not getting done. Is it really worth it? Is what you’re doing really worth it? Is this meeting worth pulling six people off their work for an hour? Is it worth pulling an all-nighter tonight, or could you just finish it up tomorrow? Is it worth getting all stressed out over a press release from a competitor? Is it worth spending your money on advertising? Determine the real value of what you’re about to do before taking the plunge.
Jason Fried (ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever)
Deputy Ennis Dickhead tipped back his stupid hat and smirked at me. “Hello, Bailey.” “What do you want?” “I came to talk to your friend here. Just wondering if he’d seen his dad?” Nick showed no reaction, but I was pissed to have an asshole ruining my good mood. “If his dad was smart, he’d have run the fuck away once out of jail.” Dickhead tried intimidating Nick with a dark glare. When that didn’t work, he focused on me. “Bailey, I want to talk to you alone.” “No way. Nick and I are going home to have lots of sex. Now go away.” “Why are you slumming it with this loser?” Dickhead asked, poking his thumb at Nick. “You’ve got options and here you are settling.” “Fuck the hell off, asshole!” I yelled, gaining the attention of a lot of people who immediately looked away when I glared at them. Focusing my rage back on Dickhead, I growled, “You need to learn your place, loser. The only time I was slumming it was when I dated a rent-a-cop.” “Listen here, bitch...” I never saw Nick move. One moment, he was a few feet away, looking passive then his fist made contact with Dickhead’s face. The cop toppled back against his car as Nick stood in front of me. Since he looked hotter than sin, I wanted to feel him up. I was thinking naughty thoughts when Darling forced his cuffs on Nick’s wrists and shoved him against the car. “I guess I’m the one who gets restrained this time,” Nick said, trying to keep the moment light. Dickhead was going to ruin Nick’s chances at teaching and I refused to allow anyone to steal my man’s dream. Love made people do weird shit and I was no exception. The Taser from Dickhead’s belt felt good in my hand as I aimed it at his ass. The idiot cop didn’t even realize I’d stolen his weapon until the volts surged through his system. My ex-nobody fell to the ground and twitched. A cuffed Nick stepped back and looked between Dickhead and the Taser. “He wet himself,” I said to Nick. “I see that. Now what? You just assaulted a cop.” “So did you.” “True. We’re both fucked.” “No way,” I muttered. “He attacked me and I was defending myself.” “You shot him in the ass with that thing. I don’t know how you make self-defense stick, babe.” “What a pessimist,” I said, digging the keys out of Dickhead’s pocket. “Let’s throw on some Jerry Reed and race home like the cops are on our asses.” “They might be soon enough,” Nick said, rubbing his wrists before cupping my face. “My hero.
Bijou Hunter (Damaged and the Dragon (Damaged, #5))
What is the good of becoming strong if love bares your flesh to the teeth of misfortune? Why risk loving anyone or anything when life is so frail a thing that a strong wind can blow it out of your experience?
Jonathan Maberry (Fire & Ash (Rot & Ruin, #4))
A hand touched her shoulder. “Miss Erstwhile,” Martin said. Jane spun around, guilty to have just come from a marriage proposal, ecstatic at her refusal, dispirited by another ending, and surprised to discover Martin was the one person in the world she most wanted to see. “Good evening, Theodore,” she said. “I’m Mr. Bentley now, a man of land and status, hence the fancy garb. They’ll allow me to be gentry tonight because they need the extra bodies, but only so long as I don’t talk too much.” His eyes flicked to a point across the room. Jane followed his glance and saw Mrs. Wattlesbrook wrapped in yards of lace and eyeing them suspiciously. “Let’s not talk, then.” Jane pulled him into the next dance. He stood opposite her, tall and handsome and so real there among all the half-people. They didn’t talk as they paraded and turned and touched hands, wove and skipped and do-si-doed, but they smiled enough to feel silly, their eyes full of a secret joke, their hands reluctant to let go. As the dance finished, Jane noticed Mrs. Wattlesbrook making her determined way toward them. “We should probably…” Martin said. Jane grabbed his hand and ran, fleeing to the rhythm of another dance tune, out the ballroom door and into a side corridor. Behind them, hurried boot heels echoed. They ran through the house and out back, crunching gravel under their feet, making for the dark line of trees around the perimeter of the park. Jane hesitated before the damp grass. “My dress,” she said. Martin threw her over his shoulder, her legs hanging down his front. He ran. Jostled on her stomach, Jane gave out laughter that sounded like hiccups. He weaved his way around hedges and monuments, finally stopping on a dry patch of ground hidden by trees. “Here you are, my lady,” he said, placing her back on her feet. Jane wobbled for a moment before gaining her balance. “So, these are your lands, Mr. Bentley.” “Why, yes. I shape the shrubs myself. Gardeners these days aren’t worth a damn.” “I should be engaged to Mr. Nobley tonight. You know you’ve absolutely ruined this entire experience for me.” “I’m sorry, but I warned you, five minutes with me and you’ll never go back.” “You’re right about that. I’d decided to give up on men entirely, but you made that impossible.” “Listen, I’m not trying to start anything serious. I just--” “Don’t worry.” Jane smiled innocently. “Weird intense Jane gone, new relaxed Jane just happy to see you.” “You do seem different.” He touched her arms, pulled her in closer. “I’m happy to see you too, if you’d know. I think I missed you a bit.” “That’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me.
Shannon Hale (Austenland (Austenland, #1))
There is a saying amongst my people that reflects this. Within every heart lives two dragons, a dragon of Hope and a dragon of Hate, both mighty and powerful in equal measure. They war constantly, always struggling for dominance to be the rightful ruler of your heart. You feed them with your actions. All that drives us in life is fuelled by either hope or hate. Hate is the dark mirror of hope, empowering our hearts with the same fire and energy but striving for different ends. Hate drives us to bring those above us to ruin, while hope exalts us to raise ourselves up beyond where we are. We want to better ourselves, or drag down someone else so we are on top. The destruction of the gnomes had taken with it the dragon of our hate, but hope could not flare up to take its place; hope was already dead within us. We were soulless, cast adrift and ready to settle down to wait for death. I remember these times as being some of the hardest of them all, not because of pain, or suffering, or loss…but because I no longer felt anything at all. Both dragons lay dead, and my heart was a barren wasteland cloaked in winter. While this wounded me greatly, it was better than the alternative. I said many things, did many things, that I regret in this time of my life, but I always feel the slightest bit of pride that at that moment, right when I had nothing, I didn’t feed Hate and nurse it back to health. Most manage to find an equilibrium in their hearts between Hate and Hope, controlling the former while encouraging the latter, and for most, this is a happy and content existence. Some find that Hope’s strength overpowers Hate easily, and that they are able to do noble things effortlessly and naturally simply by following their intrinsic sense of righteousness. However, some embrace that hateful dragon within them, that boiling black pit of rage that simmers and bubbles out of sight, ushering them into darkness and wickedness too numerous to count. They embrace this powerful ally and use it to great effect. Sometimes my surface friends wonder why anyone would do this, would willingly plunge themselves into shadow and wrath. Even humans, that most flexible and different of species, almost universally espouse the idea that good is preferable to evil, and that it is better to be noble than to be malicious, even when they do not believe it. Why would anyone listen to that whisper from Hate, the dark voice urging them to abandon Hope and to
Terah Edun (EPIC: Fourteen Books of Fantasy)
That’s the thing. “Why should I have my guns taken off me? I’ve done nothing wrong.” Look, I agree with you. If you’re a responsible gun owner and you don’t fuck around with them, then you should be allowed your guns. You really should. But that’s not how society works. We have to play to the 1% that are such fuckwits they ruin it for the rest of us. We have to walk as slow as our slowest person to keep society fucking moving, right? I take drugs like a fucking champion, right? [Audience cheering] We should all be allowed to take fucking drugs, but we can’t, can we? Because Sarah took drugs and she stabbed her fucking kids. Oh! “Oh, thanks, Sarah. You fucked it up for everyone.” Right? Everyone should be allowed to drive their car as fast as they can do it, right? But we can’t because Jonathan got drunk and ran over a family. “Thanks, Jonathan! Now I have to drive at 30, you fucking idiot!” See, that’s the thing. “Why should I have my guns taken off me, I’m responsible, just because that guy’s crazy?” Who’s to say you’re not crazy? That’s the thing about crazy people. They don’t know they’re crazy. That’s what makes them crazy. The only thing you know for sure on this Earth is, “I think, therefore I am.” You know that you exist. Anything past that is open to interpretation, right? You know you exist and that’s it. Right now, I think I’m in Boston talking to 1,200 people. That’s what I think I’m doing, but there is a good to fair chance that I’m in a mental home, standing in front of a white wall, going, [Slurring speech] “I hate guns. I hate guns. I hate guns.” [Audience applauding]
Jim Jefferies
Pardon?” Now Valnikov had lost the thread again. It was unraveled and he hadn’t the faintest idea why she was upset, why she was raising her voice. “You’ve been working this division one month,” she smirked. “We’ve hardly said more than a good morning before today. We’ve been partners for, oh, four hours. And you think you can dance me into a porno movie for a nooner?” “Did I say something wrong?” “Oh, Jesus Christ!” she sneered, shoving the paper cup into the bag. “Let’s finish handling our calls.” Valnikov sipped the rest of the coffee but his lunch was ruined. He knew for certain that he had offended her but didn’t know why. He was troubled and didn’t know what to say to make it right. The sparkling motes were swimming. He did the only thing he could. He started all over again. “Natalie, would you like to see a movie?
Joseph Wambaugh (The Black Marble)
On the other hand, a generous capital market is usually associated with the following: fear of missing out on profitable opportunities reduced risk aversion and skepticism (and, accordingly, reduced due diligence) too much money chasing too few deals willingness to buy securities in increased quantity willingness to buy securities of reduced quality high asset prices, low prospective returns, high risk and skimpy risk premiums It’s clear from this list of elements that excessive generosity in the capital markets stems from a shortage of prudence and thus should give investors one of the clearest red flags. The wide-open capital market arises when the news is good, asset prices are rising, optimism is riding high, and all things seem possible. But it invariably brings the issuance of unsound and overpriced securities, and the incurrence of debt levels that ultimately will result in ruin. The point about the quality of new issue securities in a wide-open capital market deserves particular attention. A decrease in risk aversion and skepticism—and increased focus on making sure opportunities aren’t missed rather than on avoiding losses—makes investors open to a greater quantity of issuance. The same factors make investors willing to buy issues of lower quality. When the credit cycle is in its expansion phase, the statistics on new issuance make clear that investors are buying new issues in greater amounts. But the acceptance of securities of lower quality is a bit more subtle. While there are credit ratings and covenants to look at, it can take effort and inference to understand the significance of these things. In feeding frenzies caused by excess availability of funds, recognizing and resisting this trend seems to be beyond the ability of the majority of market participants. This is one of the many reasons why the aftermath of an overly generous capital market includes losses, economic contraction, and a subsequent unwillingness to lend. The bottom line of all of the above is that generous credit markets usually are associated with elevated asset prices and subsequent losses, while credit crunches produce bargain-basement prices and great profit opportunities. (“Open and Shut”)
Howard Marks (Mastering the Market Cycle: Getting the Odds on Your Side)
Let’s pretend I’ve never said this before. That I’ll leave you if things don’t change. Let’s pretend you’ve never lied and said they would. Let’s pretend we’ve never hurt each other before, wipe the past from our minds and start anew. Let’s reintroduce ourselves, understand what the other needs to feel safe, secure, stable, and sure of this. Let’s destroy all the damage that was done. Let’s set it on fire, burn all our mistakes and try this again. Let’s go back to the beginning, get this right from the start. Let’s forget about the pain, the cuts that festered. Let’s erase the damnation, the frustration, the exacerbation. Let’s fix these faults of ours, be good to each other, even when we disagree. Let’s remember why we love each other, hold on to the reasons and stop the spirals from sucking us in. Let’s forget how we ruined each other and remember how we saved each other. Let’s remember how we saved each other.
Christina Hart (Our Water Graveyard)
The beauty of inflections Or the beauty of innuendoes, The blackbird whistling Or just after. I begged him, “Miguel, write! Write something! Try!” He hadn’t written a thing for months, he rarely had his homework, and in class he couldn’t sit still. Miguel was immensely confident, capable of unusual, interesting thought, yet lazy and disorganized, angry and socially awkward. He often drew while other children wrote, but he wasn’t very good at it, and what he drew upset me. “May I see?” Miguel had scrunched his drawing in a corner of the page. It was typically sloppy and mostly indecipherable. There were scratchy men with limbs that didn’t bend, and there were guns and bombs. At least he had a bird, an eagle decently drawn, but even it was bleeding from the heart. There were blotches of explosion and lots of smudgy death, not the joyful ruin happy children draw, no flashing zigzag lines and gaudy color. “Oh, Miguel,” I sighed. “Why are your pictures always so violent?” He smiled, happy to be noticed, and continued drawing. We had had this conversation many times before. “It worries me, Miguel. It makes me feel like you’re not happy.” “Oh, I’m happy, Mr. Swope. I just like drawing violence, that’s all.” I knew him well enough to say, “This picture makes me think you’re going to grow up and be a mass murderer, Miguel, and I think you can do a little better than that.” Miguel giggled as he kept on drawing. “Do me a favor. Stop drawing and try to write. Write at least one way of looking at a tree, okay? You can do this.” “Okay,” he said, and cheerfully pulled out his writing folder. It grows big but he is small although big things are happening inside.    MIGUEL There are no euphonies here, and even though his poem isn’t perfectly clear, it has some interesting innuendo going on, a lot of promise. I gave it a Good!!! But it’s hard to know what I responded to—the poem itself, or the boy behind it; my student as he was, or as I wanted him to be.
Sam Swope (I Am a Pencil: A Teacher, His Kids, and Their World of Stories)
Morning, Vex. Forget something?” She almost asked him what until she saw the way his gaze smoldered and caressed her almost naked body. Oops. Had she jumped out of bed in only her panties? Nudity wasn’t something that Meena usually noted or cared about. Mother, on the other hand, was always yelling at her to put clothes on. She and Leo had a lot in common. “You should get dressed.” “Why? I’m perfectly comfortable.” So comfortable she brought her shoulders back and made sure to give her boobs a little jiggle. He noticed. He stared. Oh my. Was it getting hot in here? Funny how the heat in her body, though, didn’t stop her nipples from hardening as if struck by a cold breeze. Except, in this case, it was more of an ardent perusal. Did Leo imagine his mouth latched onto a sensitive peak just like she was? “While I am sure you are comfortable, if we’re to go out, then in order to avoid a possible arrest for indecent exposure, you might want to cover your assets.” “We’re going out? Together?” He nodded. “Where?” “It’s a surprise.” She clapped her hands and squealed, “Yay,” only to frown a second later. Leo was acting awfully strange. “Wait a second, this isn’t one of those things where you blindfold me and tell me you’ve got a great surprise, only to dump me on a twelve-hour train to Kansas, is it? Or a plane to Newfoundland, Canada?” His lips twitched. “No. I promise we have a destination, and I am going with you.” “And will I be back here tonight?” “Perhaps. Unless you choose to sleep elsewhere.” Those enigmatic words weren’t his last. “Be downstairs and ready in twenty minutes, Vex. I really want you to come.” Did he purr that last word? Was that even possible? Could he tease her any harder? Please. “How should I dress? Fancy, casual, slutty, or prim and proper?” She eyed him in his khaki shorts and collared short-sleeved shirt. Casual with a hint of elegance. He looked ready for a day at a gentleman’s golf club. And she wanted to be his corrupting caddy, who ruined his shot and dragged him in the woods to show him her version of a tee off. “Your clothes won’t matter. You won’t wear them for long.” Good thing she was close to a wall. Her knees weakened to the point that she almost buckled to the floor. Leaning against it, she wondered if he purposely teased her. Did her serious Pookie even realize how his words could be taken? He approached her until he stood right in front of her. Close enough she could have reached out and hugged him. She didn’t, but only because he drew her close. His essence surrounded her. His hands splayed over the flesh of her lower back, branding her. She leaned into him, totally relying on him to hold her up on wobbly legs. “What about breakfast?” she asked. “I’ve got pastries and coffee in my truck. Lots of yummy treats with lickable icing.” Staring at his mouth, she knew of only one treat she wanted to lick. Alas, she didn’t get a chance. With a slap on her ass, he walked off toward the condo door. Leo. Slapped. My. Ass. She gaped at his retreating broad back. “Don’t make me wait. I’d hate to start without you.” With a wink— yes, a real freaking wink— Leo shut the door behind him. He was waiting for her. Why the hell was she standing there? She sprinted for the shower.
Eve Langlais (When an Omega Snaps (A Lion's Pride, #3))
Before Anna’s eyes she changed from a little girl into a sombre woman. She sat staring: serious, ironical. “Don’t you see, I’ve got to think it’s funny?” “Yes, I do.” “It happened all at once, at breakfast one morning. Richard’s always been horrid at breakfast. He’s always bad tempered and he nags at me. But the funny thing is, why did I let him? And he was going on and on, nagging away about me seeing Tommy so much. And suddenly, it was like a sort of revelation. It really was, Anna. He was sort of bouncing up and down the breakfast room. And his face was red. And he was so bad tempered. And I was listening to his voice. He’s got an ugly voice, hasn’t he? It’s a bully’s voice, isn’t it?” “Yes, it is.” “And I thought—Anna I wish I could explain it. It was really a revelation. I thought: I’ve been married to him for years and years, and all that time I’ve been—wrapped up in him. Well women are, aren’t they? I’ve thought of nothing else. I’ve cried myself to sleep night after night for years. And I’ve made scenes, and been a fool and been unhappy and…The point is, what for? I’m serious Anna.” Anna smiled, and Marion went on: “Because the point is, he’s not anything, is he? He’s not even very good-looking. He’s not even very intelligent—I don’t care if he is ever so important and a captain of industry. Do you see what I mean?” “Well, and then?” “I thought, My God, for that creature I’ve ruined my life. I remember the moment exactly. I was sitting at the breakfast-table, wearing a sort of negligee thing I’d bought because he likes me in that sort of thing—you know, frills and flowers, or well, he used to like me in them. I’ve always hated them. And I thought, for years and years I’ve even been wearing clothes I hated, just to please this creature.” Anna laughed. Marion was laughing, her handsome face alive with self-critical irony, and her eyes sad and truthful. “It’s humiliating, isn’t it Anna?” “Yes, it is.” “But I bet you’ve never made a fool of yourself about any stupid man. You’ve got too much sense.” “That’s what you think,” said Anna drily. But she saw this was a mistake; it was necessary for Marion to see her, Anna, as self-sufficient, and non-vulnerable. Marion, not hearing what Anna had said, insisted: “No, you’ve got too much sense, and that’s why I admire you.
Doris Lessing (The Golden Notebook)
What were you looking for over here?” Jim asked again. “I wonder if you can exorcise hands…hmm? Oh, where on the wall was that place I sent you through before. Do you remember?” Jim shook its head. “Why are you looking for that particular spot? It have fond memories for you or something?” “Hardly. You told me that it was easier to tear the fabric of existence in a spot where it had previously been rent. And I know I sent you through it from this room, but I don’t remember where, exactly.” I glanced at the clock on the mantel, leaping to my feet when I saw the time. “Oh my god. Oh my god! Tell me that clock isn’t right!” “That clock isn’t right.” Relief made me sag a bit as I dug through my purse looking for my cell phone. “Thank god. I was worried there for a minute that I’d missed the wedding.” “You have,” Jim said complacently, snuffling around behind the fainting couch. “What? You just told me the clock was wrong!” “Yuh-uh. And who ordered me to tell her that?” “Gah!” I screamed, punching a speed-dial number into the phone. “Talk about your day from hell…Jim, look around and find the weak spot. I’m not going to let something like a deranged Guardian ruin my day.” “Sooo many things I could say to that,” Jim said, shaking its head. “I’ll confine myself to pointing out that even if I found the spot, it wouldn’t do you any good.” “It wouldn’t? Why not?” Inside my head, a dark, sinuous voice whistled a peppy little tune. I ground my teeth. “Don’t tell me—I’d have to use the dark power in order to push us through.” “Yup.” Smirk. “Bloody he—Drake!” “Aisling?” I held the phone away from my ear at the sound of Drake’s roar. “Hi, sweetie. Um. I guess we’re even on the whole jilting-at-the-altar thing, huh?” “Where are you? Where have you been? Why have you not answered my calls?” Drake growled. “Rene and your uncle said you just disappeared on the street. Have you been harmed?” “I’m fine. Jim’s here with me. I’m in…er…oh, hell.” “Abaddon,” Jim corrected.
Katie MacAlister (Holy Smokes (Aisling Grey, #4))
March 13 MORNING “Why sit we here until we die?” — 2 Kings 7:3 DEAR reader, this little book was mainly intended for the edification of believers, but if you are yet unsaved, our heart yearns over you: and we would fain say a word which may be blessed to you. Open your Bible, and read the story of the lepers, and mark their position, which was much the same as yours. If you remain where you are you must perish; if you go to Jesus you can but die. “Nothing venture, nothing win,” is the old proverb, and in your case the venture is no great one. If you sit still in sullen despair, no one can pity you when your ruin comes; but if you die with mercy sought, if such a thing were possible, you would be the object of universal sympathy. None escape who refuse to look to Jesus; but you know that, at any rate, some are saved who believe in Him, for certain of your own acquaintances have received mercy: then why not you? The Ninevites said, “Who can tell?” Act upon the same hope, and try the Lord’s mercy. To perish is so awful, that if there were but a straw to catch at, the instinct of self-preservation should lead you to stretch out your hand. We have thus been talking to you on your own unbelieving ground, we would now assure you, as from the Lord, that if you seek Him He will be found of you. Jesus casts out none who come unto Him. You shall not perish if you trust Him; on the contrary, you shall find treasure far richer than the poor lepers gathered in Syria’s deserted camp. May the Holy Spirit embolden you to go at once, and you shall not believe in vain. When you are saved yourself, publish the good news to others. Hold not your peace; tell the King’s household first, and unite with them in fellowship; let the porter of the city, the minister, be informed of your discovery, and then proclaim the good news in every place. The Lord save thee ere the sun goes down this day.
Charles Haddon Spurgeon (Morning and Evening-Classic KJV Edition)
Rhi stood in the doorway and watched Henry. He was a fighter. Maybe that’s why she saved him. There was also a slim chance it was because he helped the Kings. “It’s a good thing you called me,” Usaeil, Queen of the Light, said as she came to stand beside Rhi. Rhi could’ve brought Henry to Usaeil’s manor on the west coast of Ireland, but then it would reveal to one and all power she’s managed to keep hidden from them. That was something she wanted to keep to herself. So she got Henry out of the prison and to the outskirts of Dublin. From there, it was simply a matter of asking Usaeil for help. Now all Rhi had to worry about was finding out how much Henry remembered. If he recalled seeing her teleport him out, then she would need to convince him to lie for her. Although Usaeil would want to know how Henry got out of his prison and how Rhi found him. Usaeil hadn’t begun those questions yet. But they were coming. “I’m glad you agreed to help,” Rhi said. Usaeil shoved her black hair over her shoulders and adjusted the coral sheath dress she wore. “He’s aiding the Kings. Why wouldn’t I help him?” Rhi wanted to roll her eyes, but she didn’t. “We might be Light, but we also use humans as the Dark do.” “We don’t kill them.” “No, we sleep with them once and ruin them for any other mortal. We don’t hurt them at all,” she said sarcastically, giving Usaeil a cutting look. Usaeil slid her silver eyes to Rhi. “I can easily toss Henry North out on his ass.” “Do it. What do I care?” “I think you care more than you’re ready to admit. Why else would you want to help him?” Usaeil sighed. “Rhi, we all know you went through hell at Balladyn’s hands. We know it’s going to take time for you to heal, but you will heal.” Rhi wasn’t so sure. She could feel the darkness within her, coiling and shifting. She had to fight to remember what she should do, instead of what the darkness wanted her to do. “Henry is healing nicely,” Rhi said, changing the subject. Usaeil nodded slowly. “His injuries were extensive. Had you not found him when you did, the internal bleeding would’ve killed him in a few hours. By the way, how did you find him again?” This was what Rhi had been waiting for. Everyone knew she couldn’t lie without feeling tremendous pain. She sank her nails into her palms, held Usaeil’s gaze and lied. “I found him in Dublin. As I said, I don’t know how he got there.” “So very odd.” The pain was gut wrenching. It twisted her insides and squeezed her lungs so that she couldn’t breath. Pain exploded inside her head. She began to shake. It was time for Rhi to change the subject again. “You should tell Con we have him.” The queen twisted her lips. “If I do, Con will want to come here and finish healing Henry himself, or want us to bring Henry to him. I’m not in the mood for either.” “Henry will be finished healing soon. What then? You want him to remain? In a place full of Light Fae?” Thankfully, the pain began to dull enough that Rhi could breath easier. “No,” Usaeil said with a frown. “Already his appearance has sparked interest. They’re trying to get in to see him. He’s a mortal, so he’ll succumb to any Fae he encounters.” Rhi took exception to that. “He’s stronger than that.” “He’s human, Rhi. Not a single one can resist us. It’s a fact. Henry is no different.” Rhi didn’t argue, but she knew she was right. Henry was different. She’d seen it the first time she met him in Con’s office months ago. He took in the fact his friends at Dreagan were actually dragon shifters with a nod, his solemn hazel eyes seeing things anew. She bit back a grin as she recalled how he’d become a little flustered when he saw her and learned who she was. Henry’s smile was charming, sweet . . . honest. He looked at her as if she were the only woman on the realm. Even though Rhi understood that it was the fact she was Fae that intrigued him, enthralled him, she took an instant liking to the human who never backed down.
Donna Grant (Night's Blaze (Dark Kings, #5))
over her at night. It feels nice to have someone, anyone, protecting her again. But. She thinks. It troubles Nassun that Schaffa has damaged himself in the eyes of his fellow Guardians by choosing not to kill her. It troubles her more that he suffers, gritting his teeth and pretending that this is another smile, even as she sees the silver flex and burn within him. It never stops doing so now, and he will not let her ease his pain because this makes her slow and tired the next day. She watches him endure it, and hates the little thing in his head that hurts him so. It gives him power, but what good is power if it comes on a spiked leash? “Why?” she asks him one night as they camp on a flat, elevated white slab of something that is neither metal nor stone and which is all that remains of some deadciv ruin. There have been some signs of raiders or commless in the area, and the tiny comm they stayed at
N.K. Jemisin (The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth, #2))
The Next Time" Nobody sees it happening, but the architecture of our time Is becoming the architecture of the next time. And the dazzle Of light upon the waters is as nothing beside the changes Wrought therein, just as our waywardness means Nothing against the steady pull of things over the edge. Nobody can stop the flow, but nobody can start it either. Time slips by; our sorrows do not turn into poems, And what is invisible stays that way. Desire has fled, Leaving only a trace of perfume in its wake, And so many people we loved have gone, And no voice comes from outer space, from the folds Of dust and carpets of wind to tell us that this Is the way it was meant to happen, that if only we knew How long the ruins would last we would never complain. II Perfection is out of the question for people like us, So why plug away at the same old self when the landscape Has opened its arms and given us marvelous shrines To flock towards? The great motels to the west are waiting, In somebody’s yard a pristine dog is hoping that we’ll drive by, And on the rubber surface of a lake people bobbing up and down Will wave. The highway comes right to the door, so let’s Take off before the world out there burns up. Life should be more Than the body’s weight working itself from room to room. A turn through the forest will do us good, so will a spin Among the farms. Just think of the chickens strutting, The cows swinging their udders, and flicking their tails at flies. And one can imagine prisms of summer light breaking against The silent, haze-filled sleep of the farmer and his wife. III It could have been another story, the one that was meant Instead of the one that happened. Living like this, Hoping to revise what has been false or rendered unreadable Is not what we wanted. Believing that the intended story Would have been like a day in the west when everything Is tirelessly present—the mountains casting their long shadow Over the valley where the wind sings its circular tune And trees respond with a dry clapping of leaves—was overly Simple no doubt, and short-sighted. For soon the leaves, Having gone black, would fall, and the annulling snow Would pillow the walk, and we, with shovels in hand, would meet, Bow, and scrape the sidewalk clean. What else would there be This late in the day for us but desire to make amends And start again, the sun’s compassion as it disappears.
Mark Strand (Blizzard of One)
I caught a fish that weighed three stone if it weighed a pound!” Nick bragged, looking to Kit for approval. “Indeed.” Kit nodded in assent, supportively. “But mine was the real coup—I took down a rabbit with feet as large as my own!” “Mmmm,” Will agreed, taking a drink of wine. “Neither compares with the quail I bested…it was the size of a golden eagle! Wasn’t it, Blackmoor?” Blackmoor smiled broadly, leaning back and looking from one brother to the next. “I’m not certain I want to be involved in this particular conversation,” he said with a laugh. “Oh?” Alex asked with a twinkle in her eye, knowing exactly why he wouldn’t participate. “Could that be because this generation of Staffords has been having this very conversation for years, since they were old enough to go hunting?” Blackmoor smiled at her and replied, “It could be…” “And perhaps because, for years, it is only after the Stafford boys have relayed their incredible feats of manhood that their father ruins their fun by telling the truth—that none of the three of them could catch a fish, a rabbit, or a bird if his very life depended on it?” the duke noted, drawing a laugh from everyone around the table. “Alas, it seems the wildlife of this particular estate have nothing to fear from their masters,” Vivi said. “It’s a good thing you’re all fairly intelligent,” Ella remarked. “And don’t forget attractive,” added Nick, good-humoredly. “Oh, of course!” Alex replied sarcastically. “How could we forget?” The
Sarah MacLean (The Season)
I should have rid myself of you when I learned I was with child. But it would have been a mortal sin.” She stared at him, and in her eyes, he saw nothing but hatred. “I’ve suffered every day you lived. And I will not stand by and let you ruin another woman’s life.” He expected Rose to speak, to say something to defend them. But her silence was damning. Though she continued to hold his hand, he could feel her grip loosening. She didn’t want him any more than his mother had. He should have expected it. And although he ought to let her go, now that she knew he was a bastard, damned if he wanted to. His only thread of honor had snapped in front of a truth he didn’t want to face. Iain stared at the women with no regrets for what he was about to do. He tightened his hand upon hers. “Most of the men and women in that ballroom will believe that I have compromised Lady Rose,” he said coolly. “I intend to marry her, no matter what anyone says about me.” “I cannot allow that,” Lady Wolcroft interrupted. “My granddaughter believed that you were an earl, a man who could provide a future for her. I believed that, too.” To Moira, she admitted, “I am sorry for my interference. You never told any of us about . . . why you hid him from the world. I thought you were merely estranged.” “I kept Iain away so that this would never happen,” his mother admitted. “I could not bring shame upon my husband.” It was as if he weren’t in the room at all. Iain refused to remain silent while they discussed his future. Ignoring all of them, he turned back to Rose. “Before all this happened, I asked you to marry me. Have your feelings changed, now that you know the truth?” The frozen expression on her face revealed her own doubts. “I feel as if I’ve stepped into the midst of a storm. I need a moment, Iain.” With that, she let go of his hand. The women closed in on her, and Lady Wolcroft sent him a dark look. “I think it’s best if you leave now, Ashton.” She opened the door and waited. Iain didn’t move. Instead, he locked his gaze upon Rose. “This is about what you want, a ghrá. They don’t matter.” She still wouldn’t look at him. But her hands were trembling as she gripped them together. “I—I need time to think.” It was as if he’d been imprisoned within panes of glass. He’d wanted to believe that she would be different. That she would love him enough to overlook the broken shards of the life he had. He didn’t want to leave her here with these vultures who would tell her how to live her life and what to do now. But when he saw her pale expression, his worst fears were confirmed. Love wasn’t enough to overcome the revelation that he was worth nothing. She’d wanted an earl, not a bastard. And no matter how much it broke him, the right thing was to let her go.
Michelle Willingham (Good Earls Don't Lie)
Yes, it’s almost too beautiful, Tony. By which I mean that it’s all too new yet. It still bothers me a little somehow, and that may be why this bad mood comes over me, nags at me, and ruins everything. I was so looking forward to all this, but, as always, anticipation was the best part, because good things always come too late, and then, when it’s finished and ready, you can’t really enjoy it the way you should.
Thomas Mann (Buddenbrooks)