Year Of Magical Thinking Quotes

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May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you're wonderful, and don't forget to make some art -- write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
Neil Gaiman
Life changes in the instant. The ordinary instant.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
we are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. as we were. as we are no longer. as we will one day not be at all.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us. I also know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a point at which we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Read, learn, work it up, go to the literature. Information is control.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I could not count the times during the average day when something would come up that I needed to tell him. This impulse did not end with his death. What ended was the possibility of response.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect this shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe their husband is about to return and need his shoes.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
We are not idealized wild things. We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I am a writer. Imagining what someone would say or do comes to me as naturally as breathing.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Marriage is memory, marriage is time. Marriage is not only time: it is also, parodoxically, the denial of time.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
It occurs to me that we allow ourselves to imagine only such messages as we need to survive.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I did not always think he was right nor did he always think I was right but we were each the person the other trusted.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
We imagined we knew everything the other thought, even when we did not necessarily want to know it, but in fact, I have come to see, we knew not the smallest fraction of what there was to know.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Why do you always have to be right. Why do you always have to have the last word. For once in your life just let it go.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I wanted to get the tears out of the way so I could act sensibly.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
There was a level on which I believed that what had happened remained reversible
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I know why we try to keep the dead alive: we try to keep them alive in order to keep them with us.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs...The way I write is who I am, or have become...
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Always keep mint on your windowsill in August, to ensure that buzzing flies will stay outside, where they belong. Don't think the summer is over, even when roses droop and turn brown and the stars shift position in the sky. Never presume August is a safe or reliable time of the year.
Alice Hoffman (Practical Magic (Practical Magic, #1))
Wanting to Die Since you ask, most days I cannot remember. I walk in my clothing, unmarked by that voyage. Then the almost unnameable lust returns. Even then I have nothing against life. I know well the grass blades you mention, the furniture you have placed under the sun. But suicides have a special language. Like carpenters they want to know which tools. They never ask why build. Twice I have so simply declared myself, have possessed the enemy, eaten the enemy, have taken on his craft, his magic. In this way, heavy and thoughtful, warmer than oil or water, I have rested, drooling at the mouth-hole. I did not think of my body at needle point. Even the cornea and the leftover urine were gone. Suicides have already betrayed the body. Still-born, they don't always die, but dazzled, they can't forget a drug so sweet that even children would look on and smile. To thrust all that life under your tongue!— that, all by itself, becomes a passion. Death's a sad Bone; bruised, you'd say, and yet she waits for me, year after year, to so delicately undo an old wound, to empty my breath from its bad prison. Balanced there, suicides sometimes meet, raging at the fruit, a pumped-up moon, leaving the bread they mistook for a kiss, leaving the page of the book carelessly open, something unsaid, the phone off the hook and the love, whatever it was, an infection.
Anne Sexton
We were not having any fun, he had recently begun pointing out. I would take exception (didn't we do this, didn't we do that) but I had also known what he meant. He meant doing things not because we were expected to do them or had always done them or should do them but because we wanted to do them. He meant wanting. He meant living.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I’ve had a lot of practice. The Pack contains thirty-two species in seven tribes, each with their own hang-up. Jackals and coyotes pick fights with wolves, because they have an inferiority complex and think they’ve got something to prove. Wolves believe themselves to be superior, marry the wrong people, and then refuse to divorce them because they cling to their ‘mating for life’ idiocy. Hyenas listen to nobody, screw everything, and break out in berserk rages at some perceived slight against one of their own. Cats randomly refuse to follow orders to prove they can. That’s my life. I’ve been at this for fifteen years now. You’re easy by comparison.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Strikes (Kate Daniels, #3))
Mourning has its place but also its limits.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
The way he said her name made my heart cramp. In all my years of word collecting, I've learned this to be a tried and true fact: I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name. I think that's one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person's mouth. When you know they'll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.
Natalie Lloyd (A Snicker of Magic)
The death of a parent, he wrote, “despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and that may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago. We might, in that indeterminate period they call mourning, be in a submarine, silent on the ocean’s bed, aware of the depth charges, now near and now far, buffeting us with recollections.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Leis go brown, tectonic plates shift, deep currents move, islands vanish, rooms get forgotten.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Grief turns out to be a place none of us know until we reach it. We anticipate (we know) that someone close to us could die, but we do not look beyond the few days or weeks that immediately follow such an imagined death. We misconstrue the nature of even those few days or weeks. We might expect if the death is sudden to feel shock. We do not expect the shock to be obliterative, dislocating to both body and mind. We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss. We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes. In the version of grief we imagine, the model will be "healing." A certain forward movement will prevail. The worst days will be the earliest days. We imagine that the moment to most severely test us will be the funeral, after which this hypothetical healing will take place. When we anticipate the funeral we wonder about failing to "get through it," rise to the occasion, exhibit the "strength" that invariably gets mentioned as the correct response to death. We anticipate needing to steel ourselves the for the moment: will I be able to greet people, will I be able to leave the scene, will I be able even to get dressed that day? We have no way of knowing that this will not be the issue. We have no way of knowing that the funeral itself will be anodyne, a kind of narcotic regression in which we are wrapped in the care of others and the gravity and meaning of the occasion. Nor can we know ahead of the fact (and here lies the heart of the difference between grief was we imagine it and grief as it is) the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaninglessness itself.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
How could this have happened when everything was normal?
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Grief is different. Grief has no distance. Grief comes in waves, paroxysms, sudden apprehensions that weaken the knees and blind the eyes and obliterate the dailiness of life. Virtually everyone who has ever experienced grief mentions this phenomenon of “waves.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
People who have recently lost someone have a certain look, recognizable maybe only to those who have seen that look on their own faces. I have noticed it on my face and I notice it now on others. The look is one of extreme vulnerability, nakedness, openness. It is the look of someone who walks from the ophthalmologist's office into the bright daylight with dilated eyes, or of someone who wears glasses and is suddenly made to take them off. These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible. I myself felt invisible for a period of time, incorporeal. I seemed to have crossed one of those legendary rivers that divide the living from the dead, entered a place in which I could be seen only by those who were themselves recently bereaved. I understood for the first time the power in the image of the rivers, the Styx, the Lethe, the cloaked ferryman with his pole. I understood for the first time the meaning in the practice of suttee. Widows did not throw themselves on the burning raft out of grief. The burning raft was instead an accurate representation of the place to which their grief (not their families, not the community, not custom, their grief) had taken them.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Time is the school in which we learn.  
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
...nor can we know ahead of the fact the unending absence that follows, the void, the very opposite of meaning, the relentless succession of moments during which we will confront the experience of meaningless itself.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
The power of grief to derange the mind has in fact been exhaustively noted.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
We are not idealized wild things. We are imperfect mortal beings, aware of that mortality even as we push it away, failed by our very complication, so wired that when we mourn our losses we also mourn, for better or for worse, ourselves. As we were. As we are no longer. As we will one day not be at all.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I think that all women are witches, in the sense that a witch is a magical being. And a wizard, which is a male version of a witch, is kind of revered, and people respect wizards. But a witch, my god, we have to burn them. It’s the male chauvinistic society that we’re living in for the longest time, 3,000 years or whatever. And so I just wanted to point out the fact that men and women are magical beings. We are very blessed that way, so I’m just bringing that out. Don’t be scared of witches, because we are good witches, and you should appreciate our magical power.
Yoko Ono
(The new boyfriend) knows I write every day for hours but has no idea that all I’m writing about is me. It seems wiser to let him think I’m an aspiring novelist instead of just an alcoholic with a year of sobriety who spends eight hours a day writing about the other 16.
Augusten Burroughs (Magical Thinking: True Stories)
I got schooled this year. By everyone. By my little brother... by The Avett Brothers... by my mother, my best friend, my teacher, my father, and by a boy. a boy that I'm seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably in love with... I got so schooled this year. By a nine-year-old. He taught me that it's okay to live life a little backwards. And how to laugh At what you would think is un-laughable. I got schooled this year By a Band! They taught me how to find that feeling of feeling again. They taught me how to decide what to be And go be it. I got schooled this year. By a cancer patient. She taught me so much. She's still teaching me so much. She taught me to question. To never regret. She taught me to push my boundaries, Because that's what they're there for. She told me to find a balance between head and heart And then she taught me how... I got schooled this year By a Foster Kid She taught me to respect the hand that I was dealt. And to be grateful I was even dealt a hand. She taught me that family Doesn't have to be blood. Sometimes your family are your friends. I got schooled this year By my teacher He taught me That the points are not the point, The point is poetry... I got schooled this year By my father. He taught me that hero's aren't always invincible And that the magic is within me.. I got schooled this year by a Boy. a boy that I'm seriously, deeply, madly, incredibly, and undeniably in love with. And he taught me the most important thing of all... To put the emphasis On life.
Colleen Hoover
I was cold because nothing in my body was working as it should.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
These people who have lost someone look naked because they think themselves invisible.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. The question of self-pity.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Because we were both writers and both worked at home our days were filled with the sound of each other's voice
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I learned to find equal meaning in the repeated rituals of domestic life. Setting the table. Lighting the candles. Building the fire. Cooking. All those soufflés, all that crème caramel, all those daubes and albóndigas and gumbos. Clean sheets, stacks of clean towels, hurricane lamps for storms, enough water and food to see us through whatever geological event came our way. These fragments I have shored against my ruins, were the words that came to mind then. These fragments mattered to me. I believed in them. That I could find meaning in the intensely personal nature of life as a wife and mother did not seem inconsistent with finding meaning in the vast indifference of geology and the test shots.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I bought new strings of colored lights. This served as a profession of faith in the future. I take the opportunity for such professions where and when I can invent them, since I do not yet actually feel this faith in the future.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Visible mourning reminds us of death, which is construed as unnatural, a failure to manage the situation. “A single person is missing for you, and the whole world is empty,” Philippe Ariès wrote to the point of this aversion in Western Attitudes toward Death. “But one no longer has the right to say so aloud.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
The death of a parent, he wrote, 'despite our preparation, indeed, despite our age, dislodges things deep in us, sets off reactions that surprise us and that may cut free memories and feelings that we had thought gone to ground long ago...
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Dolphins, I learned from J. Worden of the Harvard Child Bereavement Study at Massachusetts General Hospital, had been observed refusing to eat after the death of a mate. Geese had been observed reacting to such a death by flying and calling, searching until they themselves became disoriented and lost.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
He comes into my city, he throws away my people, he orders me around like I'm his servant and now this? How dare he!" I sighed. "How dare he!" came out. Could "Does he know who I am?" be far behind? "I'm not some illiterate he can push around. I won't be treated this way. I worked too damn hard, for years. Years! Years of study and that fucking Neanderthal comes in and waves his arms." Ghastek skewed his face into a grimace. He was probably aiming to impersonate Hugh, but he mostly succeeded in looking extremely constipated. "Ooo, I'm Hugh d'Ambray, I'm starting a war!" Laughing right now was a really bad idea. I had to conserve the energy. "A war I've been trying years to avoid. Years!" He kept saying that. "Does he think it's easy to negotiate with violent lunatics, who can't understand elementary concepts?" Good to know where we stood with him.
Ilona Andrews (Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels, #7))
For forty years I saw myself thru John's eyes. I did not age.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I cannot count the days on which I found myself driving abruptly blinded by tears.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Some people have inspired whole countries to great deeds because of the power of their vision. And so could he. Not because he dreams about marching hordes, or world domination, or an empire of a thousand years. Just because he thinks that everyone’s really decent underneath and would get along just fine if only they made the effort, and he believes that so strongly it burns like a flame which is bigger than he is. He’s got a dream and we’re all part of it, so that it shapes the world around him. And the weird thing is that no one wants to disappoint him. It’d be like kicking the biggest puppy in the universe. It’s a kind of magic.
Terry Pratchett (Men at Arms (Discworld, #15; City Watch, #2))
prepare a little hot tea or broth and it should be brought to them . . . without their being asked if they would care for it. Those who are in great distress want no food, but if it is handed to them, they will mechanically take it ' ... There was something arresting about the matter-of-fact wisdom here, the instinctive understanding of the physiological disruptions... I will not forget the instinctive wisdom of the friend who, every day for those first few weeks, brought me a quart container of scallion-and-ginger congee from Chinatown. Congee I could eat. Congee was all I could eat.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Practice calling people by their names. Every year shrewd manufacturers sell more briefcases, pencils, Bibles, and hundreds of other items just by putting the buyer’s name on the product. People like to be called by name. It gives everyone a boost to be addressed by name.
David J. Schwartz (The Magic of Thinking Big)
Persons under the shock of genuine affliction are not only upset mentally but are all unbalanced physically. No matter how calm and controlled they seemingly may be, no one can under such circumstances be normal. Their disturbed circulation makes them cold, their distress makes them unstrung, sleepless.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
We all know that if we are to live ourselves there comes a time when we must relinquish the dead, let them go, keep them dead. Let them become the photograph on the table. Let them become the name on the trust accounts. Let go of them in the water. Knowing this does not make it any easier to let go of them in the water.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
I still remember the day I got my first calculator Teacher: All right, children, welcome to fourth grade math. Everyone take a calculator out of the bin. Me: What are these? Teacher: From now on we'll be using calculators. Me: What do these things do? Teacher: Simple operations, like multiplication and division. Me: You mean this device just...does them? By itself? Teacher: Yes. You enter in the problem and press equal. Me: knew about this machine all along, didn't you? This whole time, while we were going through this...this charade with the pencils and the line paper and the stupid multiplication tables!...I'm sorry for shouting...It's just...I'm a little blown away. Teacher: Okay, everyone, today we're going to go over some word problems. Me: What the hell else do you have back there? A magical pen that writes book reports by itself? Some kind of automatic social studies worksheet that...that fills itself out? What the hell is going on? Teacher: If a farmer farms five acres of land a day-- Me: So that's it, then. The past three years have been a total farce. All this time I've been thinking, "Well, this is pretty hard and frustrating but I guess these are useful skills to have." Meanwhile, there was a whole bin of these things in your desk. We could have jumped straight to graphing. Unless, of course, there's some kind of graphing calculator! Teacher: There is. You get one in ninth grade. Me: Is this...Am I on TV? Is this a prank show? Teacher: No.
Simon Rich (Ant Farm and Other Desperate Situations)
Be an experimental person. Break up fixed routines. Expose yourself to new restaurants, new books, new theaters, new friends; take a different route to work someday, take a different vacation this year, do something new and different this weekend.
David J. Schwartz (The Magic of Thinking Big)
The mourner is in fact ill, but because this state of mind is common and seems so natural to us, we do not call mourning an illness…. To put my conclusion more precisely: I should say that in mourning the subject goes through a modified and transitory manic-depressive state and overcomes it.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Years ago, homosexuals were given special status within the tribe. They had powerful medicine. I think it's even more true today, even though our tribe has assimilated into homophobia. I mean, a person has to have magic to assert their identity without regard to all the bullshit, right?
Sherman Alexie (The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven)
Research to date has shown that, like many other stressors, grief frequently leads to changes in the endocrine, immune, autonomic nervous, and cardiovascular systems; all of these are fundamentally influenced by brain function and neurotransmitters.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
This is my attempt to make sense of the period that followed, weeks and then months that cut loose any fixed idea I had ever had about death, about illness, about probability and luck, about good fortune and bad, about marriage and children and memory, about grief, about the ways in which people do and do not deal with the fact that life ends, about the shallowness of sanity, about life itself. I have been a writer my entire life. As a writer, even as a child, long before what I wrote began to be published, I developed a sense that meaning itself was resident in the rhythms of words and sentences and paragraphs, a technique for withholding whatever it was I thought or believed behind an increasingly impenetrable polish. The way I write is who I am, or have become, yet this is a case in which I wish I had instead of words and their rhythms a cutting room, equipped with an Avid, a digital editing system on which I could touch a key and collapse the sequence of time, show you simultaneously all the frames of memory that come to me now, let you pick the takes, the marginally different expressions, the variant readings of the same lines. This is a case in which I need more than words to find the meaning. This is a case in which I need whatever it is I think or believe to be penetrable, if only for myself.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
As for Sadie, she didn’t appear interested in strategy. She leaped from puddle to puddle in her combat boots. She hummed to herself, twirled like a little kid and occasionally pulled random things out of her backpack: wax animal figurines, some string, a piece of chalk, a bright yellow bag of candy. She reminded me of someone … Then it occurred to me. She looked like a younger version of Annabeth, but her fidgeting and hyperness reminded me of … well, me. If Annabeth and I ever had a daughter, she might be a lot like Sadie. Whoa. It’s not like I’d never dreamed about kids before. I mean, you date someone for over a year, the idea is going to be in the back of your mind somewhere, right? But still – I’m barely seventeen. I’m not ready to think too seriously about stuff like that. Also, I’m a demigod. On a day-to-day basis, I’m busy just trying to stay alive. Yet, looking at Sadie, I could imagine that someday maybe I’d have a little girl who looked like Annabeth and acted like me – a cute little hellion of a demigod, stomping through puddles and flattening monsters with magic camels.
Rick Riordan (The Crown of Ptolemy (Demigods & Magicians, #3))
think I am beginning to understand why grief feels like suspense,” C. S. Lewis wrote after the death of his wife. “It comes from the frustration of so many impulses that had become habitual. Thought after thought, feeling after feeling, action after action, had H. for their object. Now their target is gone. I keep on through habit fitting an arrow to the string, then I remember and have to lay the bow down. So many roads lead thought to H. I set out on one of them. But now there’s an impassable fron-tierpost across it. So many roads once; now so many cul de sacs.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred, the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings were the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
Each person held aloft a single lit candle—the city’s traditional way to express its appreciation for that year’s peace prize winner. It was a magical sight, as if a pool of stars had descended from the sky; and as Michelle and I leaned out to wave, the night air brisk on our cheeks, the crowd cheering wildly, I couldn’t help but think about the daily fighting that continued to consume Iraq and Afghanistan and all the cruelty and suffering and injustice that my administration had barely even begun to deal with. The idea that I, or any one person, could bring order to such chaos seemed laughable; on some level, the crowds below were cheering an illusion. And yet, in the flickering of those candles, I saw something else. I saw an expression of the spirit of millions of people around the world: the U.S. soldier manning a post in Kandahar, the mother in Iran teaching her daughter to read, the Russian pro-democracy activist mustering his courage for an upcoming demonstration—all those who refused to give up on the idea that life could be better, and that whatever the risks and hardships, they had a role to play. Whatever you do won’t be enough, I heard their voices say. Try anyway.
Barack Obama (A Promised Land)
Why did I allow the abuse to continue? Even as a teenager? I didn’t. Something that had been plaguing me for years now made sense. It was like the answer to a terrible secret. The thing is, it wasn’t me in my bed, it was Shirley who lay the wondering if that man was going to come to her room, pull back the cover and push his penis into her waiting mouth it was Shirley. I remembered watching her, a skinny little thing with no breasts and a dark resentful expression. She was angry. She didn’t want this man in her room doing the things he did, but she didn’t know how to stop it. He didn’t beat her, he didn’t threaten her. He just looked at her with black hypnotic eyes and she lay back with her legs apart thinking about nothing at all. And where was I? I stood to one side, or hovered overhead just below the ceiling, or rode on a magic carpet. I held my breath and watched my father pushing up and down inside Shirley’s skinny body.
Alice Jamieson (Today I'm Alice: Nine Personalities, One Tortured Mind)
It was in fact the ordinary nature of everything preceding the event that prevented me from truly believing it had happened, absorbing it, incorporating it, getting past it. I recognize now that there was nothing unusual in this: confronted with sudden disaster we all focus on how unremarkable the circumstances were in which the unthinkable occurred, the clear blue sky from which the plane fell, the routine errand that ended on the shoulder with the car in flames, the swings where the children were playing as usual when the rattlesnake struck from the ivy. "He was on his way home from work — happy, successful, healthy — and then, gone," I read in the account of a psychiatric nurse whose husband was killed in a highway accident. In 1966 I happened to interview many people who had been living in Honolulu on the morning of December 7, 1941; without exception, these people began their accounts of Pearl Harbor by telling me what an "ordinary Sunday morning" it had been. "It was just an ordinary beautiful September day," people still say when asked to describe the morning in New York when American Airlines 11 and United Airlines 175 got flown into the World Trade towers. Even the report of the 9/11 Commission opened on this insistently premonitory and yet still dumbstruck narrative note: "Tuesday, September 11, 2001, dawned temperate and nearly cloudless in the eastern United States.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
You may be safe, but I am free.' Take advantage of the freedom that comes with your youth. Inhale life, exhale fire, and embrace the late, sleepless nights, because that's when the magic happens- when everyone else is asleep and you're awake thinking about the world as it is, and the world as it would be. Make the most of those moments," I said forcefully. "And in the coming years people will tell you that you're too young to change the world. I'm here to tell you, that's fucking bullshit.
Adam Braun (The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change)
I think so. There are so many tales, so strange and beautiful and perfect. They are not what are real, but better. I thought I had something that was magic once, but I lost it, and now I don’t think it was at all.” She touched her chest where the handkerchief had been and frowned. “I wish there was magic. If all the tales were true, then maybe they could tell me what I’m doing, and what I am to do now.” “Ah, now, don’t cry over lost years and forgetfulness. The tales tell what they can. The rest is for us to learn. The question is, are we smart enough to figure for ourselves? Now, that’s what I’d like to know.
Shannon Hale (The Goose Girl (The Books of Bayern, #1))
I was obviously born to draw better than most people, just as the widow Berman and Paul Slazinger were obviously born to tell stories better than most people can. Other people are obviously born to sing and dance or explain the stars in the sky or do magic tricks or be great leaders or athletes, and so on. I think that could go back to the time when people had to live in small groups of relatives -- maybe fifty or a hundred people at the most. And evolution or God or whatever arranged things genetically to keep the little families going, to cheer them up, so that they could all have somebody to tell stories around the campfire at night, and somebody else to paint pictures on the walls of the caves, and somebody else who wasn't afraid of anything and so on. That's what I think. And of course a scheme like that doesn't make sense anymore, because simply moderate giftedness has been made worthless by the printing press and radio and television and satellites and all that. A moderately gifted person who would have been a community treasure a thousand years ago has to give up, has to go into some other line of work, since modern communications put him or her into daily competition with nothing but the world's champions. The entire planet can get along nicely now with maybe a dozen champion performers in each area of human giftedness. A moderately gifted person has to keep his or her gifts all bottled up until, in a manner of speaking, he or she gets drunk at a wedding and tapdances on the coffee table like Fred Astair or Ginger Rogers. We have a name for him or her. We call him or her an 'exhibitionist.' How do we reward such an exhibitionist? We say to him or her the next morning, 'Wow! Were you ever _drunk_ last night!
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (Bluebeard)
Generals trump Majors," Ursan said. "True, but do princes trump generals?" "I attacked him." "Ryne's not the type to hold a grudge." Ursan considered. "Isn't he a king? Both his parents died" "Technically, yes. But he hasn't assumed the title." "Neither has Prince Kerrick," Ursan said. " Don't you find that odd?" "Not with Kerrick. He loved his father very much. I think it's still too painful for him to assume the title. Plus he hasn't been home in years." Ursan remained quiet until we reached his tent. "Prince Kerrick's a forest mage. Which means his eyes change colour with the seasons. Right?" "Yes." He stared at me for a moment. "Lucky guy." Ursan ducked into his tent.
Maria V. Snyder (Scent of Magic (Healer, #2))
Words actually failed me. I felt as dumb as my lounge-less friend in the corner. "You injected me with vampire blood?" My words were said slowly, ensuring that I didn't get one wrong or accidentally call Francis a fucking asshat. "You're a vampire?" Francis' expression managed to convey how stupid he thought that question was. "I live underground, and you've never seen me outside. I'm pale in complexion ands obviously hundreds of years old. What did you think I was? Agoraphobic?
Steve McHugh (Crimes Against Magic (Hellequin Chronicles, #1))
I just can't see the upside in this," I heard myself say by way of explanation. Later he said that if John had been sitting in the office he would have found this funny, as he himself had found it. "Of course I knew what you meant to say, and John would have known too, you meant to say you couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel." I agreed, but this was not in fact the case. I had meant pretty much exactly what I said: I couldn't see the upside in this. As I thought about the difference between the two sentences I realized that my impression of myself had been of someone who could look for, and find, the upside in any situation. I had believed in the logic of popular songs. I had looked for the silver lining. I had walked on through the storm. It occurs to me now that these were not even the songs of my generation. They were the songs, and the logic, of the generation or two that preceded my own. The score for my generation was Les Paul and Mary Ford, "How High the Moon," a different logic altogether. It also occurs to me, not an original thought but novel to me, that the logic of those earlier songs was based on self-pity. The singer of the song about looking for the silver lining believes that clouds have come her way. The singer of the song about walking on through the storm assumes that the storm could otherwise take her down.
Joan Didion (The Year of Magical Thinking)
After ten whole minutes of painful silence, I finally raised my hand and told Mr. O'Hara I loved Miranda Blythe's romance novels, and I decided I liked him immediately when he didn't laugh or reassure me that we'd be reading real books. Like Mrs. Andrews had last year. He did say, 'I'm afraid Ms. Blythe is not on the curriculum this semester. We'll be starting your education with the epic poets—boring, I know, but necessary building blocks. However, an extra-credit book report is always welcome, and you're free to choose whatever topic you like.' Then Mr. O'Hara added, 'I think Ms. Blythe's works would be a particularly interesting topic for a report. In fact, if you want an example of the archetypal hero journey—' 'Wait, wait, wait.' Fred raised his hand. 'You read romance novels?' 'My dear boy,' Mr. O'Hara replied, 'I read everything.
Caitlen Rubino-Bradway (Ordinary Magic)
But Celaena had stood in front of the that wooden door to the bedroom, listening to Yrene wash her clothes in the nearby kitchen. She found herself unable to turn away, unable to stop thinking about the would-be healer with the brown-gold hair and caramel eyes, of what Yrene had lost and how helpless she'd become. There were so many of them now—the children who had lost everything to Adarlan. Children who had now grown into assassins and barmaids, without a true place to call home, their native kingdoms left to ruin and ash. Magic had been gone all these years. And the gods were dead, or simply didn't care anymore. Yet there, deep in her gut, was a small but insistent tug. A tug on a strand of some invisible web. So Celaena decided to tug back, just to see how far and wide the reverberations would go.
Sarah J. Maas (The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass, #0.1-0.5))
Falling in love is magical, after all, romantic, breathtaking … but falling in love and love are different. Aren’t they? Don’t they have to be? Good grief, no one could cope with being newly infatuated, year after year. When you’re infatuated you can’t think about anything else, you forget about your friends, your work, your lunch. If we were infatuated all the time we’d starve to death. And being in love means being infatuated … from time to time. You have to be sensible. The problem is that everything is relative, happiness is based on expectations, and we have the Internet now. A whole world constantly asking us: ‘But is your life as perfect as this? Well? How about now? Is it as perfect as this? If it isn’t, change it!
Fredrik Backman (Anxious People)
When I was a boy in the midwest I used to go out and look at the stars at night and wonder about them. I guess every boy does that. When I wasn't looking at the stars, I was running in the my old or my brand-new tennis shoes, on my way to swing in a tree, swim in a lake, or delve in the town library to read about dinosaurs or time machines. I guess every boy has done that, too. This is a book about those stars and those tennis shoes. Mainly about the stars, beacuse that is the way I grew up, getting more and more involved with rockets and space as I moved toward my twelfth, thirteenth, and fourteenth years. Not that I have forgotten the tennis shoes and their powerful magic, as you will see in the last story here, which I have included not because it concerns the future, but because it gives you some sort of idea of the kind of boy I was when I was looking at the stars and thinking of the years ahead. Nor have I forgetten the dinosaurs that all boys love; they are here, too, along with a machine that travels back in time to step on a butterfly. This is a book then by a boy who grew up in a small illinois town and lived to see the space age arrive, as he hoped and dreamt it would. I dedicate these stories to all boys who wonder about the past, run swiftly in the present, and have high hopes for our future. The stars are yours, if you have the head, the hands, and the heart for them.
Ray Bradbury
There is some confusion as to what magic actually is. I think this can be cleared up if you just look at the very earliest descriptions of magic. Magic in its earliest form is often referred to as “the art”. I believe this is completely literal. I believe that magic is art and that art, whether it be writing, music, sculpture, or any other form is literally magic. Art is, like magic, the science of manipulating symbols, words, or images, to achieve changes in consciousness. The very language about magic seems to be talking as much about writing or art as it is about supernatural events. A grimmoir for example, the book of spells is simply a fancy way of saying grammar. Indeed, to cast a spell, is simply to spell, to manipulate words, to change people's consciousness. And I believe that this is why an artist or writer is the closest thing in the contemporary world that you are likely to see to a Shaman. I believe that all culture must have arisen from cult. Originally, all of the faucets of our culture, whether they be in the arts or sciences were the province of the Shaman. The fact that in present times, this magical power has degenerated to the level of cheap entertainment and manipulation, is, I think a tragedy. At the moment the people who are using Shamanism and magic to shape our culture are advertisers. Rather than try to wake people up, their Shamanism is used as an opiate to tranquilize people, to make people more manipulable. Their magic box of television, and by their magic words, their jingles can cause everyone in the country to be thinking the same words and have the same banal thoughts all at exactly the same moment. In all of magic there is an incredibly large linguistic component. The Bardic tradition of magic would place a bard as being much higher and more fearsome than a magician. A magician might curse you. That might make your hands lay funny or you might have a child born with a club foot. If a Bard were to place not a curse upon you, but a satire, then that could destroy you. If it was a clever satire, it might not just destroy you in the eyes of your associates; it would destroy you in the eyes of your family. It would destroy you in your own eyes. And if it was a finely worded and clever satire that might survive and be remembered for decades, even centuries. Then years after you were dead people still might be reading it and laughing at you and your wretchedness and your absurdity. Writers and people who had command of words were respected and feared as people who manipulated magic. In latter times I think that artists and writers have allowed themselves to be sold down the river. They have accepted the prevailing belief that art and writing are merely forms of entertainment. They’re not seen as transformative forces that can change a human being; that can change a society. They are seen as simple entertainment; things with which we can fill 20 minutes, half an hour, while we’re waiting to die. It’s not the job of the artist to give the audience what the audience wants. If the audience knew what they needed, then they wouldn’t be the audience. They would be the artists. It is the job of artists to give the audience what they need.
Alan Moore
There was more than one Cabeswater. Or more than one of whatever it was. How many? He didn't know. How alive was it? He didn't know that, either. Did it THINK, was it an alien, did it die, was it good, was it right? He didn't know. But he knew there was more than one, and this one stretched its fingers out as hard as it could to reach the other. The enormity of the enormity of the world grew and grew inside Adam, and he didn't know if he could hold it. He was just a boy. Was he meant to know this? They had transformed Henrietta already by waking this ley line and strengthening Cabeswater. What would a world look like with more forests woken all over it? Would it tear itself apart with crackling energy and magic, or was this a pendulum swing, a result of hundreds of years of sleep? How many kings slept?
Maggie Stiefvater (Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle, #3))
He surveyed me, his eyes half closed, as if wondering if I were a delicious snack. I had an image of a massive dragon circling me slowly, eyes full of magic fixed on me as he moved, considering if he should bite me in half. “Dragons.” Rogan snapped his fingers. Oh crap. “I wondered why I kept getting dragons around you.” He leaned forward. His eyes lit up, turning back to their clear sky blue. “You think I’m a dragon.” “Don’t be ridiculous.” My face felt hot. I was probably blushing. Damn it. His smile went from amused to sexual, so charged with promise that carnal was the only way to describe it. I almost bolted out of my chair. “Big powerful scary dragon.” “You have delusions of grandeur.” “Do I have a lair? Did I kidnap you to it from your castle?” I stared straight at him, trying to frost my voice. “You have some strange fantasies, Rogan. You may need professional help.” “Would you like to volunteer?” “No. Besides, dragons kidnap virgins, so I’m out.” And why had I just told him I was not a virgin? Why did I even go there? “It doesn’t matter if I’m the first. It only matters that I’ll be the last.” “You won’t be the first, the last, or anything in between. Not in a million years.” He laughed. “Rogan,” I ground out through my teeth. “I’m on the clock. My client is in the next room mourning his wife. Stop flirting with me.” “Stop? I haven’t even started.
Ilona Andrews (White Hot (Hidden Legacy, #2))
You told me that the children of the forest had the greensight. I remember.” “Some claimed to have that power. Their wise men were called greenseers.” “Was it magic?” “Call it that for want of a better word, if you must. At heart it was only a different sort of knowledge.” Oh, to be sure, there is much we do not understand. The years pass in their hundreds and their thousands, and what does any man see of life but a few summers, a few winters? We look at mountains and call them eternal, and so they seem . . . but in the course of time, mountains rise and fall, rivers change their courses, stars fall from the sky, and great cities sink beneath the sea. Even gods die, we think. Everything changes. So long as there was magic, anything could happen. Ghosts could walk, trees could talk, and broken boys could grow up to be knights.
George R.R. Martin (A Clash of Kings (A Song of Ice and Fire, #2))
Whenever you feel short or need of something, give what you want first, and it will come back in buckets. That is true for money, a smile, love or friendship. I know it is often the last thing a person may do, but it has always worked for me. I trust that the principle of prosperity is true, and I give what I want. I want money, so I give money, and it comes back in multiples. I want sales, so I help someone else sell something, so sales come to me. I want contacts, and I help someone else get contacts. Like magic, contacts come to me. I heard a saying years ago that went: god does not need to receive, but humans need to give. My rich dad would often say: poor people are more greedy than rich people. He would explain that if a person is rich, that person is providing something that other people wanted...whenever I think people aren't smiling at me, I simply began smiling and saying hello. Like magic, the next thing I know: I'm surrounded by smiling people. It is true that you world is only a mirror of you. So that's why I say, teach and you shall receive.
Robert T. Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad)
As observers of totalitarianism such as Victor Klemperer noticed, truth dies in four modes, all of which we have just witnessed. The first mode is the open hostility to verifiable reality, which takes the form of presenting inventions and lies as if they were facts. The president does this at a high rate and at a fast pace. One attempt during the 2016 campaign to track his utterances found that 78 percent of his factual claims were false. This proportion is so high that it makes the correct assertions seem like unintended oversights on the path toward total fiction. Demeaning the world as it is begins the creation of a fictional counterworld. The second mode is shamanistic incantation. As Klemperer noted, the fascist style depends upon “endless repetition,” designed to make the fictional plausible and the criminal desirable. The systematic use of nicknames such as “Lyin’ Ted” and “Crooked Hillary” displaced certain character traits that might more appropriately have been affixed to the president himself. Yet through blunt repetition over Twitter, our president managed the transformation of individuals into stereotypes that people then spoke aloud. At rallies, the repeated chants of “Build that wall” and “Lock her up” did not describe anything that the president had specific plans to do, but their very grandiosity established a connection between him and his audience. The next mode is magical thinking, or the open embrace of contradiction. The president’s campaign involved the promises of cutting taxes for everyone, eliminating the national debt, and increasing spending on both social policy and national defense. These promises mutually contradict. It is as if a farmer said he were taking an egg from the henhouse, boiling it whole and serving it to his wife, and also poaching it and serving it to his children, and then returning it to the hen unbroken, and then watching as the chick hatches. Accepting untruth of this radical kind requires a blatant abandonment of reason. Klemperer’s descriptions of losing friends in Germany in 1933 over the issue of magical thinking ring eerily true today. One of his former students implored him to “abandon yourself to your feelings, and you must always focus on the Führer’s greatness, rather than on the discomfort you are feeling at present.” Twelve years later, after all the atrocities, and at the end of a war that Germany had clearly lost, an amputated soldier told Klemperer that Hitler “has never lied yet. I believe in Hitler.” The final mode is misplaced faith. It involves the sort of self-deifying claims the president made when he said that “I alone can solve it” or “I am your voice.” When faith descends from heaven to earth in this way, no room remains for the small truths of our individual discernment and experience. What terrified Klemperer was the way that this transition seemed permanent. Once truth had become oracular rather than factual, evidence was irrelevant. At the end of the war a worker told Klemperer that “understanding is useless, you have to have faith. I believe in the Führer.
Timothy Snyder (On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century)
Those children are right," he would have said. "They stole nothing from you, my dear. These things don't belong to you here, you now. They belonged to her, that other you, so long ago." Oh, thought Mrs. Bentley. And then, as though an ancient phonograph record had been set hissing under a steel needle, she remembered a conversation she had once had with Mr. Bentley--Mr. Bentley, so prim, a pink carnation in his whisk-broomed lapel, saying, "My dear, you never will understand time, will you? You've always trying to be the things you were, instead of the person you are tonight. Why do you save those ticket stubs and theater programs? They'll only hurt you later. Throw them away, my dear." But Mrs. Bentley had stubbornly kept them. "It won't work," Mr. Bentley continued, sipping his tea. "No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now. Time hypnotizes. When you're nine, you think you've always been nine years old and will always be. When you're thirty, it seems you've always been balanced there on that bright rim of middle life. And then when you turn seventy, you are always and forever seventy. You're in the present, you're trapped in a young now or an old now, but there is no other now to be seen." It had been one of the few, but gentle, disputes of their quiet marriage. He had never approved of her bric-a-brackery. "Be what you are, bury what you are not," he had said. "Ticket stubs are trickery. Saving things is a magic trick, with mirrors." If he were alive tonight, what would he say? "You're saving cocoons." That's what he'd say. "Corsets, in a way, you can never fit again. So why save them? You can't really prove you were ever young. Pictures? No, they lie. You're not the picture." "Affidavits?" No, my dear, you are not the dates, or the ink, or the paper. You're not these trunks of junk and dust. You're only you, here, now--the present you." Mrs. Bentley nodded at the memory, breathing easier. "Yes, I see. I see." The gold-feruled cane lay silently on the moonlit rug. "In the morning," she said to it, "I will do something final about this, and settle down to being only me, and nobody else from any other year. Yes, that's what I'll do." She slept . . .
Ray Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
It was that summer, too, that I began the cutting, and was almost as devoted to it as to my newfound loveliness. I adored tending to myself, wiping a shallow red pool of my blood away with a damp washcloth to magically reveal, just above my naval: queasy. Applying alcohol with dabs of a cotton ball, wispy shreds sticking to the bloody lines of: perky. I had a dirty streak my senior year, which I later rectified. A few quick cuts and cunt becomes can't, cock turns into back, clit transforms to a very unlikely cat, the l and i turned into a teetering capital A. The last words I ever carved into myself, sixteen years after I started: vanish. Sometimes I can hear the words squabbling at each other across my body. Up on my shoulder, panty calling down to cherry on the inside of my right ankle. On the underside of a big toe, sew uttering muffled threats to baby, just under my left breast. I can quiet them down by thinking of vanish, always hushed and regal, lording over the other words from the safety of the nape of my neck. Also: At the center of my back, which was too difficult to reach, is a circle of perfect skin the size of a fist. Over the years I've made my own private jokes. You can really read me. Do you want me to spell it out for you? I've certainly given myself a life sentence. Funny, right? I can't stand to look myself without being completely covered. Someday I may visit a surgeon, see what can be done to smooth me, but now I couldn't bear the reaction. Instead I drink so I don't think too much about what I've done to my body and so I don't do any more. Yet most of the time that I'm awake, I want to cut. Not small words either. Equivocate. Inarticulate. Duplicitous. At my hospital back in Illinois they would not approve of this craving. For those who need a name, there's a gift basket of medical terms. All I know is that the cutting made me feel safe. It was proof. Thoughts and words, captured where I could see them and track them. The truth, stinging, on my skin, in a freakish shorthand. Tell me you're going to the doctor, and I'll want to cut worrisome on my arm. Say you've fallen in love and I buzz the outlines of tragic over my breast. I hadn't necessarily wanted to be cured. But I was out of places to write, slicing myself between my toes - bad, cry - like a junkie looking for one last vein. Vanish did it for me. I'd saved the neck, such a nice prime spot, for one final good cutting. Then I turned myself in.
Gillian Flynn (Sharp Objects)
During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes. Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. That is, if this being is omnipotent, then every occurrence, including every human action, every human thought, and every human feeling and aspiration is also His work; how is it possible to think of holding men responsible for their deeds and thoughts before such an almighty Being? In giving out punishment and rewards He would to a certain extent be passing judgment on Himself. How can this be combined with the goodness and righteousness ascribed to Him? (Albert Einstein, Science, Philosophy, and Religion, A 1934 Symposium published by the Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941; from Einstein's Out of My Later Years, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1970, pp. 26-27.)
Albert Einstein
We're all creatures of complex needs and desires. The only certain thing in a romantic relationship is that you will both change, and one morning you will wake up, go the mirror, and see a stranger. You will have what you wanted, and discover you want something different. You think you know who you are, and then you'll surprise yourself. In all the choices in front of you, Restless, one thing is clear: love is not something to be thrown away lightly. There was something about this man, beyond coincidences of timing and opportunity, that drew you to him. Before you give up on the marriage . . . give him a chance. Be honest with him about the needs that aren't being met, the dreams you want to pursue. Let him find out who you really are. Let him help you in the work of opening that door, so the two of you can finally meet after all these years. How do you know he can't satisfy your emotional needs? How can you be sure he doesn't long for magic and passion just as you do? Can you state with absolute certainty that you know everything there is to know about him? There are rewards to be gained from the effort, even if it fails. And it will take courage as well as patience, Restless. Try everything you can . . . fight to stay with a man who loves you. Just for now, put aside the question of what you might have had with someone else, and focus on what you can have, what you do have, at this very moment. I hope you'll find new questions, and that your husband might be the answer.
Lisa Kleypas
Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh.. people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.
Phil Robinson
The other thing that I would say about writer's block is that it can be very, very subjective. By which I mean, you can have one of those days when you sit down and every word is crap. It is awful. You cannot understand how or why you are writing, what gave you the illusion or delusion that you would every have anything to say that anybody would ever want to listen to. You're not quite sure why you're wasting your time. And if there is one thing you're sure of, it's that everything that is being written that day is rubbish. I would also note that on those days (especially if deadlines and things are involved) is that I keep writing. The following day, when I actually come to look at what has been written, I will usually look at what I did the day before, and think, "That's not quite as bad as I remember. All I need to do is delete that line and move that sentence around and its fairly usable. It's not that bad." What is really sad and nightmarish (and I should add, completely unfair, in every way. And I mean it -- utterly, utterly, unfair!) is that two years later, or three years later, although you will remember very well, very clearly, that there was a point in this particular scene when you hit a horrible Writer's Block from Hell, and you will also remember there was point in this particular scene where you were writing and the words dripped like magic diamonds from your fingers -- as if the Gods were speaking through you and every sentence was a thing of beauty and magic and brilliance. You can remember just as clearly that there was a point in the story, in that same scene, when the characters had turned into pathetic cardboard cut-outs and nothing they said mattered at all. You remember this very, very clearly. The problem is you are now doing a reading and you cannot for the life of you remember which bits were the gifts of the Gods and dripped from your fingers like magical words and which bits were the nightmare things you just barely created and got down on paper somehow!! Which I consider most unfair. As a writer, you feel like one or the other should be better. I wouldn't mind which. I'm not somebody who's saying, "I really wish the stuff from the Gods was better." I wouldn't mind which way it went. I would just like one of them to be better. Rather than when it's a few years later, and you're reading the scene out loud and you don't know, and you cannot tell. It's obviously all written by the same person and it all gets the same kind of reaction from an audience. No one leaps up to say, "Oh look, that paragraph was clearly written on an 'off' day." It is very unfair. I don't think anybody who isn't a writer would ever understand how quite unfair it is.
Neil Gaiman
You go out into your world, and try and find the things that will be useful to you. Your weapons. Your tools. Your charms. You find a record, or a poem, or a picture of a girl that you pin to the wall and go, "Her. I'll try and be her. I'll try and be her - but here." You observe the way others walk, and talk, and you steal little bits of them - you collage yourself out of whatever you can get your hands on. You are like the robot Johnny 5 in Short Circuit, crying, "More input! More input for Johnny 5! as you rifle through books and watch films and sit in front of the television, trying to guess which of these things that you are watching - Alexis Carrington Colby walking down a marble staircase; Anne of Green Gables holding her shoddy suitcase; Cathy wailing on the moors; Courtney Love wailing in her petticoat; Dorothy Parker gunning people down; Grace Jones singing "Slave to the Rhythm" - you will need when you get out there. What will be useful. What will be, eventually, you? And you will be quite on your own when you do all this. There is no academy where you can learn to be yourself; there is no line manager slowly urging you toward the correct answer. You are midwife to yourself, and will give birth to yourself, over and over, in dark rooms, alone. And some versions of you will end in dismal failure - many prototypes won't even get out the front door, as you suddenly realize that no, you can't style-out an all-in-one gold bodysuit and a massive attitude problem in Wolverhampton. Others will achieve temporary success - hitting new land-speed records, and amazing all around you, and then suddenly, unexpectedly exploding, like the Bluebird on Coniston Water. But one day you'll find a version of you that will get you kissed, or befriended, or inspired, and you will make your notes accordingly, staying up all night to hone and improvise upon a tiny snatch of melody that worked. Until - slowly, slowly - you make a viable version of you, one you can hum every day. You'll find the tiny, right piece of grit you can pearl around, until nature kicks in, and your shell will just quietly fill with magic, even while you're busy doing other things. What your nature began, nature will take over, and start completing, until you stop having to think about who you'll be entirely - as you're too busy doing, now. And ten years will pass without you even noticing. And later, over a glass of wine - because you drink wine now, because you are grown - you will marvel over what you did. Marvel that, at the time, you kept so many secrets. Tried to keep the secret of yourself. Tried to metamorphose in the dark. The loud, drunken, fucking, eyeliner-smeared, laughing, cutting, panicking, unbearably present secret of yourself. When really you were about as secret as the moon. And as luminous, under all those clothes.
Caitlin Moran (How to Build a Girl (How to Build a Girl, #1))
So yeah, you were part of the job. Don't get me wrong, Mercer, I like you. You're smart, fluent in sarcasm, and, Bad Dog incident aside, pretty kick-ass at magic. And it's not like you're hard to look at." "Be still my beating heart." "But to answer your question, no part of the Archer Cross you knew at Hecate exists. That day in the cellar, I kissed you back because it was my job to stay close to you. If that's where you wanted to take things, then that's where I was going to go. I kissed you because I had to. Not exactly the hardest assignment I've ever had, but an assignment nonetheless." I stood there absorbing his words like blows, my heart aching. But it wasn't what he said that made me feel like I'd been punched in the chest. It's that I knew he was lying. That speech came out way too quickly and way too smooth, almost like he'd been practicing it in his head. The same way I'd been practing what I'd say to him if I ever saw him again. I couldn't even begin to handle that right now, so instead I just said, "Okay,then. Yay for honesty. Now that we're done with the confessional part of the evening, why don't you tell me why we're here." There was another pause, then he started walking again. I followed, leaves crunching under my feet. "Like I said, Hacte Hall has always made The Eye nervous." "Why? Are they allergic to plaid?" I thought he might laugh, but instead, he said, "Think about it,Mercer.One place where Prodigium round up their most powerful members? Don't tell me that's not suspicious." That had never occurred to me. I'd always just thought of all us at Hecate as giant screwups, but in a way, Archer was right. We'd all been sentenced to Hex Hall because of spells that were powerful and dangerous. I thought of Cal saying I created "too big." Wasn't that what just about everyone at Hecate had done? Still, the idea that the place I'd called home for nearly a year was actually some evil farm for powerful Prodigium was unsettling to say the least.
Rachel Hawkins (Demonglass (Hex Hall, #2))
Ohhhhh." A lush-bodied girl in the prime of her physical beauty. In an ivory georgette-crepe sundress with a halter top that gathers her breasts up in soft undulating folds of the fabric. She's standing with bare legs apart on a New York subway grating. Her blond head is thrown rapturously back as an updraft lifts her full, flaring skirt, exposing white cotton panties. White cotton! The ivory-crepe sundress is floating and filmy as magic. The dress is magic. Without the dress the girl would be female meat, raw and exposed. She's not thinking such a thought! Not her. She's an American girl healthy and clean as a Band-Aid. She's never had a soiled or a sulky thought. She's never had a melancholy thought. She's never had a savage thought. She's never had a desperate thought. She's never had an un-American thought. In the papery-thin sundress she's a nurse with tender hands. A nurse with luscious mouth. Sturdy thighs, bountiful breasts, tiny folds of baby fat at her armpits. She's laughing and squealing like a four year-old as another updraft lifts her skirt. Dimpled knees, a dancer's strong legs. This husky healthy girl. The shoulders, arms, breasts belong to a fully mature woman but the face is a girl's face. Shivering in New York City mid-summer as subway steam lifts her skirt like a lover's quickened breath. "Oh! Ohhhhh." It's nighttime in Manhattan, Lexington Avenue at 51st Street. Yet the white-white lights exude the heat of midday. The goddess of love has been standing like this, legs apart, in spike-heeled white sandals so steep and so tight they've permanently disfigured her smallest toes, for hours. She's been squealing and laughing, her mouth aches. There's a gathering pool of darkness at the back of her head like tarry water. Her scalp and her pubis burn from the morning's peroxide applications. The Girl with No Name. The glaring-white lights focus upon her, upon her alone, blond squealing, blond laughter, blond Venus, blond insomnia, blond smooth-shaven legs apart and blond hands fluttering in a futile effort to keep her skirt from lifting to reveal white cotton American-girl panties and the shadow, just the shadow, of the bleached crotch. "Ohhhhhh." Now she's hugging herself beneath her big bountiful breasts. Her eyelids fluttering. Between the legs, you can trust she's clean. She's not a dirty girl, nothing foreign or exotic. She's an American slash in the flesh. That emptiness. Guaranteed. She's been scooped out, drained clean, no scar tissue to interfere with your pleasure, and no odor. Especially no odor. The Girl with No Name, the girl with no memory. She has not lived long and she will not live long.
Joyce Carol Oates (Blonde)
The hills below crouched on all fours under the weight of the rainforest where liana grew and soldier ants marched in formation. Straight ahead they marched, shamelessly single-minded, for soldier ants have no time for dreaming. Almost all of them are women and there is so much to do - the work is literally endless. So many to be born and fed, then found and buried. There is no time for dreaming. The life of their world requires organization so tight and sacrifice so complete there is little need for males and they are seldom produced. When they are needed, it is deliberately done by the queen who surmises, by some four-million-year-old magic she is heiress to, that it is time. So she urges a sperm from the private womb where they were placed when she had her one, first and last copulation. Once in life, this little Amazon trembled in the air waiting for a male to mount her. And when he did, when he joined a cloud of others one evening just before a summer storm, joined colonies from all over the world gathered fro the marriage flight, he knew at last what his wings were for. Frenzied, he flied into the humming cloud to fight gravity and time in order to do, just once, the single thing he was born for. Then he drops dead, having emptied his sperm into his lady-love. Sperm which she keeps in a special place to use at her own discretion when there is need for another dark and singing cloud of ant folk mating in the air. Once the lady has collected the sperm, she too falls to the ground, but unless she breaks her back or neck or is eaten by one of a thousand things, she staggers to her legs and looks for a stone to rub on, cracking and shedding the wings she will never need again. Then she begins her journey searching for a suitable place to build her kingdom. She crawls into the hollow of a tree, examines its walls and corners. She seals herself off from all society and eats her own wing muscles until she bears her eggs. When the first larvae appear, there is nothing to feed them, so she gives them their unhatched sisters until they are old enough and strong enough to hunt and bring their prey back to the kingdom. That is all. Bearing, hunting, eating, fighting, burying. No time for dreaming, although sometimes, late in life, somewhere between the thirtieth and fortieth generation she might get wind of a summer storm one day. The scent of it will invade her palace and she will recall the rush of wind on her belly - the stretch of fresh wings, the blinding anticipation and herself, there, airborne, suspended, open, trusting, frightened, determined, vulnerable - girlish, even, for and entire second and then another and another. She may lift her head then, and point her wands toward the place where the summer storm is entering her palace and in the weariness that ruling queens alone know, she may wonder whether his death was sudden. Or did he languish? And if so, if there was a bit of time left, did he think how mean the world was, or did he fill that space of time thinking of her? But soldier ants do not have time for dreaming. They are women and have much to do. Still it would be hard. So very hard to forget the man who fucked like a star.
Toni Morrison (Tar baby)
I first met Winston Churchill in the early summer of 1906 at a dinner party to which I went as a very young girl. Our hostess was Lady Wemyss and I remember that Arthur Balfour, George Wyndman, Hilaire Belloc and Charles Whibley were among the guests… I found myself sitting next to this young man who seemed to me quite different from any other young man I had ever met. For a long time he seemed sunk in abstraction. Then he appeared to become suddenly aware of my existence. He turned on me a lowering gaze and asked me abruptly how old I was. I replied that I was nineteen. “And I,” he said despairingly, “am thirty-two already. Younger than anyone else who counts, though, “he added, as if to comfort himself. Then savagely: “Curse ruthless time! Curse our mortality. How cruelly short is this allotted span for all we must cram into it!” And he burst forth into an eloquent diatribe on the shortness of human life, the immensity of possible human accomplishment—a theme so well exploited by the poets, prophets, and philosophers of all ages that it might seem difficult to invest it with new and startling significance. Yet for me he did so, in a torrent of magnificent language which appeared to be both effortless and inexhaustible and ended up with the words I shall always remember: “We are all worms. But I do believe that I am a glow worm.” By this time I was convinced of it—and my conviction remained unshaken throughout the years that followed. Later he asked me whether I thought that words had a magic and music quite independent of their meaning. I said I certainly thought so, and I quoted as a classic though familiar instance the first lines that came into my head. Charm’d magic casements, opening on the foam Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn. His eyes blazed with excitement. “Say that again,” he said, “say it again—it is marvelous!” “But I objected, “You know these lines. You know the ‘Ode to a Nightengale.’ ” He had apparently never read or heard of it before (I must, however, add that next time I met him he had not learned not merely this but all of the odes to Keats by heart—and he recited them quite mercilessly from start to finish, not sparing me a syllable). Finding that he liked poetry, I quoted to him from one of my own favorite poets, Blake. He listened avidly, repeating some lines to himself with varying emphases and stresses, then added meditatively: “I never knew that old Admiral had found so much time to write such good poetry.” I was astounded that he, with his acute susceptibility to words and power of using them, should have left such tracts of English literature entirely unexplored. But however it happened he had lost nothing by it, when he approached books it was “with a hungry, empty mind and with fairly srong jaws, and what I got I *bit*.” And his ear for the beauty of language needed no tuning fork. Until the end of dinner I listened to him spellbound. I can remember thinking: This is what people mean when they talk of seeing stars. That is what I am doing now. I do not to this day know who was on my other side. Good manners, social obligation, duty—all had gone with the wind. I was transfixed, transported into a new element. I knew only that I had seen a great light. I recognized it as the light of genius… I cannot attempt to analyze, still less transmit, the light of genius. But I will try to set down, as I remember them, some of the differences which struck me between him and all the others, young and old, whom I have known. First and foremost he was incalculable. He ran true to no form. There lurked in his every thought and world the ambush of the unexpected. I felt also that the impact of life, ideas and even words upon his mind, was not only vivid and immediate, but direct. Between him and them there was no shock absorber of vicarious thought or precedent gleaned either from books or other minds. His relationship wit
Violet Bonham Carter
You’re sure you want to do this,” Galen says, eyeing me like I’ve grown a tiara of snakes on my head. “Absolutely.” I unstrap the four-hundred-dollar silver heels and spike them into the sand. When he starts unraveling his tie, I throw out my hand. “No! Leave it. Leave everything on.” Galen frowns. “Rachel would kill us both. In our sleep. She would torture us first.” “This is our prom night. Rachel would want us to enjoy ourselves.” I pull the thousand-or-so bobby pins from my hair and toss them in the sand. Really, both of us are right. She would want us to be happy. But she would also want us to stay in our designer clothes. Leaning over, I shake my head like a wet dog, dispelling the magic of hairspray. Tossing my hair back, I look at Galen. His crooked smile almost melts me where I stand. I’m just glad to see a smile on his face at all. The last six months have been rough. “Your mother will want pictures,” he tells me. “And what will she do with pictures? There aren’t exactly picture frames in the Royal Caverns.” Mom’s decision to mate with Grom and live as his queen didn’t surprise me. After all, I am eighteen years old, an adult, and can take care of myself. Besides, she’s just a swim away. “She keeps picture frames at her house though. She could still enjoy them while she and Grom come to shore to-“ “Okay, ew. Don’t say it. That’s where I draw the line.” Galen laughs and takes off his shoes. I forget all about Mom and Grom. Galen, barefoot in the sand, wearing an Armani tux. What more could a girl ask for? “Don’t look at me like that, angelfish,” he says, his voice husky. “Disappointing your grandfather is the last thing I want to do.” My stomach cartwheels. Swallowing doesn’t help. “I can’t admire you, even from afar?” I can’t quite squeeze enough innocence in there to make it believable, to make it sound like I wasn’t thinking the same thing he was. Clearing his throat, he nods. “Let’s get on with this.” He closes the distance between us, making foot-size potholes with his stride. Grabbing my hand, he pulls me to the water. At the edge of the wet sand, just out of reach of the most ambitious wave, we stop. “You’re sure?” he says again. “More than sure,” I tell him, giddiness swimming through my veins like a sneaking eel. Images of the conference center downtown spring up in my mind. Red and white balloons, streamers, a loud, cheesy DJ yelling over the starting chorus of the next song. Kids grinding against one another on the dance floor to lure the chaperones’ attention away from a punch bowl just waiting to be spiked. Dresses spilling over with skin, matching corsages, awkward gaits due to six-inch heels. The prom Chloe and I dreamed of. But the memories I wanted to make at that prom died with Chloe. There could never be any joy in that prom without her. I couldn’t walk through those doors and not feel that something was missing. A big something. No, this is where I belong now. No balloons, no loud music, no loaded punch bowl. Just the quiet and the beach and Galen. This is my new prom. And for some reason, I think Chloe would approve.
Anna Banks (Of Triton (The Syrena Legacy, #2))
The Humbug whistled gaily at his work, for he was never as happy as when he had a job which required no thinking at all. After what seemed like days, he had dug a hole scarcely large enough for his thumb. Tock shuffled steadily back and forth with the dropper in his teeth, but the full well was still almost as full as when he began, and Milo's new pile of sand was hardly a pile at all. "How very strange," said Milo, without stopping for a moment. "I've been working steadily all this time, and I don't feel the slightest bit tired or hungry. I could go right on the same way forever." "Perhaps you will," the man agreed with a yawn (at least it sounded like a yawn). "Well, I wish I knew how long it was going to take," Milo whispered as the dog went by again. "Why not use your magic staff and find out?" replied Tock as clearly as anyone could with an eye dropper in his mouth. Milo took the shiny pencil from his pocket and quickly calculated that, at the rate they were working, it would take each of them eight hundred and thirty-seven years to finish. "Pardon me," he said, tugging at the man's sleeve and holding the sheet of figures up for him to see, "but it's going to take eight hundred and thirty-seven years to do these jobs." "Is that so?" replied the man, without even turning around. "Well, you'd better get on with it then." "But it hardly seems worth while," said Milo softly. "WORTH WHILE!" the man roared indignantly. "All I meant was that perhaps it isn't too important," Milo repeated, trying not to be impolite. "Of course it's not important," he snarled angrily. "I wouldn't have asked you to do it if I thought it was important." And now, as he turned to face them, he didn't seem quite so pleasant. "Then why bother?" asked Tock, whose alarm suddenly began to ring. "Because, my young friends," he muttered sourly, "what could be more important than doing unimportant things? If you stop to do enough of them, you'll never get to where you're going." He punctuated his last remark with a villainous laugh. "Then you must -----" gasped Milo. "Quite correct!" he shrieked triumphantly. "I am the Terrible Trivium, demon of petty tasks and worthless jobs, ogre of wasted effort, and monster of habit.
Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)
Wanting his mind on other matters, she deliiberately challenged his statement. "You don't know so much about me. There was a man once. He was crazy about me." She tried to look wordly. "Absolutely crazy for me." His answering laughter was warm against her neck, her throat. His lips touched the skin over her pulse and skimmed lightly up to her ear. "Are you, by any chance, referring to that foppish boy with the orange hair and spiked collar? Dragon something?" Savannah gasped and pulled away to glare at im. "How could you possibly know about him? I dated him last year." Gregori nuzzled her neck, inhaling her fragrance, his hand sliding over her shoulder, moving gently over her satin skin to take possession of her breast. "He wore boots and rode a Harley." His breath came out in a rush as his palm cupped the soft weight, his thumb brushing her nipple into a hard peak. The feel of his large hand-so strong, so warm and possessive on her-sent heat curling through her body. Desire rose sharply. He was seducing her with tenderness. Savannah didn't want it to happen. Her body felt better, but the soreness was there to remind her where this could all lead. Her hand caught at his wrist. "How did you find out about Dragon?" she asked, desperate to distract him, to distract herself. How could he make her body burn for his when she was so afraid of him, of having sex with him? "Making love," he corrected, his voice husky, caressing, betraying the ease with which his mind moved like a shadow through hers."And to answer your question, I live in you, can touch you whenever I wish.I knew about all of them. Every damn one." He growled the worrds, and her breath caught in her throat. "He was the only one you thought of kissing." His mouth touched hers. Gently. Lightly. Returned for more. Coaxing, teasing, until she opened to him. He stole her breath, her reason, whirling her into a world of feeling.Bright colors and white-hot heat, the room falling away until there was only his broad shoulders,strong arms, hard body, and perfect,perfect mouth. When he lifted his head, Savannah nearly pulled him back to her.He watched her face,her eyes cloudy with desire, her lips so beautiful, bereft of his. "Do you have any idea how beautiful you are, Savannah? There is such beauty in your soul,I can see it shining in your eyes." She touched his face, her palm molding his strong jaw. Why couldn't she resist his hungry eyes? "I think you're casting a spell over me. I can't remember what we were talking about." Gregori smiled. "Kissing." His teeth nibbled gently at her chin. "Specifically,your wanting to kiss that orange-bearded imbecile." "I wanted to kiss every one of them," she lied indignantly. "No,you did not.You were hoping that silly fop would wipe my taste from your mouth for all eternity." His hand stroked back the fall of hair around her face.He feathered kisses along the delicate line of her jaw. "It would not have worked,you know.As I recall,he seemed to have a problem getting close to you." Her eyes smoldered dangerously. "Did you have anything to do with his allergies?" She had wanted someone, anyone,to wipe Gregori's taste from her mouth,her soul. He raised his voice an octave. "Oh, Savannah, I just have to taste your lips," he mimicked. Then he went into a sneezing fit. "You haven't ridden until you've ridden on a Harley,baby." He sneezed, coughed, and gagged in perfect imitation. Savannah pushed his arm, forgetting for a moment her bruised fist. When it hurt, she yelped and glared accusingly at him. "It was you doing all that to him! That poor man-you damaged his ego for life. Each time he touched me, he had a sneezing fit." Gregori raised an eyebrow, completely unrepentant. "Technically,he did not lay a hand on you.He sneezed before he could get that close.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))
In my travels on the surface, I once met a man who wore his religious beliefs like a badge of honor upon the sleeves of his tunic. "I am a Gondsman!" he proudly told me as we sat beside eachother at a tavern bar, I sipping my wind, and he, I fear, partaking a bit too much of his more potent drink. He went on to explain the premise of his religion, his very reason for being, that all things were based in science, in mechanics and in discovery. He even asked if he could take a piece of my flesh, that he might study it to determine why the skin of the drow elf is black. "What element is missing," he wondered, "that makes your race different from your surface kin?" I think that the Gondsman honestly believed his claim that if he could merely find the various elements that comprised the drow skin, he might affect a change in that pigmentation to make the dark elves more akin to their surface relatives. And, given his devotion, almost fanaticism, it seemed to me as if he felt he could affect a change in more than physical appearance. Because, in his view of the world, all things could be so explained and corrected. How could i even begin to enlighten him to the complexity? How could i show him the variations between drow and surface elf in the very view of the world resulting from eons of walking widely disparate roads? To a Gondsman fanatic, everything can be broken down, taken apart and put back together. Even a wizard's magic might be no more than a way of conveying universal energies - and that, too, might one day be replicated. My Gondsman companion promised me that he and his fellow inventor priests would one day replicate every spell in any wizard's repertoire, using natural elements in the proper combinations. But there was no mention of the discipline any wizard must attain as he perfects his craft. There was no mention of the fact that powerful wizardly magic is not given to anyone, but rather, is earned, day by day, year by year and decade by decade. It is a lifelong pursuit with gradual increase in power, as mystical as it is secular. So it is with the warrior. The Gondsman spoke of some weapon called an arquebus, a tubular missile thrower with many times the power of the strongest crossbow. Such a weapon strikes terror into the heart of the true warrior, and not because he fears that he will fall victim to it, or even that he fears it will one day replace him. Such weapons offend because the true warrior understands that while one is learning how to use a sword, one should also be learning why and when to use a sword. To grant the power of a weapon master to anyone at all, without effort, without training and proof that the lessons have taken hold, is to deny the responsibility that comes with such power. Of course, there are wizards and warriors who perfect their craft without learning the level of emotional discipline to accompany it, and certainly there are those who attain great prowess in either profession to the detriment of all the world - Artemis Entreri seems a perfect example - but these individuals are, thankfully, rare, and mostly because their emotional lacking will be revealed early in their careers, and it often brings about a fairly abrupt downfall. But if the Gondsman has his way, if his errant view of paradise should come to fruition, then all the years of training will mean little. Any fool could pick up an arquebus or some other powerful weapon and summarily destroy a skilled warrior. Or any child could utilize a Gondsman's magic machine and replicate a firebal, perhaps, and burn down half a city. When I pointed out some of my fears to the Gondsman, he seemed shocked - not at the devastating possibilities, but rather, at my, as he put it, arrogance. "The inventions of the priests of Gond will make all equal!" he declared. "We will lift up the lowly peasant
R.A. Salvatore (Streams of Silver (Forgotten Realms: Icewind Dale, #2; Legend of Drizzt, #5))
In 90% of cases, you can start with one of the two most effective ways to open a speech: ask a question or start with a story. Our brain doesn’t remember what we hear. It remembers only what we “see” or imagine while we listen. You can remember stories. Everything else is quickly forgotten. Smell is the most powerful sense out of 4 to immerse audience members into a scene. Every sentence either helps to drive your point home, or it detracts from clarity. There is no middle point. If you don’t have a foundational phrase in your speech, it means that your message is not clear enough to you, and if it’s not clear to you, there is no way it will be clear to your audience. Share your failures first. Show your audience members that you are not any better, smarter or more talented than they are. You are not an actor, you are a speaker. The main skill of an actor is to play a role; to be someone else. Your main skill as a speaker is to be yourself. People will forgive you for anything except for being boring. Speaking without passion is boring. If you are not excited about what you are talking about, how can you expect your audience to be excited? Never hide behind a lectern or a table. Your audience needs to see 100% of your body. Speak slowly and people will consider you to be a thoughtful and clever person. Leaders don’t talk much, but each word holds a lot of meaning and value. You always speak to only one person. Have a conversation directly with one person, look him or her in the eye. After you have logically completed one idea, which usually is 10-20 seconds, scan the audience and then stop your eyes on another person. Repeat this process again. Cover the entire room with eye contact. When you scan the audience and pick people for eye contact, pick positive people more often. When you pause, your audience thinks about your message and reflects. Pausing builds an audiences’ confidence. If you don’t pause, your audience doesn’t have time to digest what you've told them and hence, they will not remember a word of what you've said. Pause before and after you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. After you make an important point and stand still. During this pause, people think about your words and your message sinks in. Speakers use filler words when they don’t know what to say, but they feel uncomfortable with silence. Have you ever seen a speaker who went on stage with a piece of paper and notes? Have you ever been one of these speakers? When people see you with paper in your hands, they instantly think, “This speaker is not sincere. He has a script and will talk according to the script.” The best speeches are not written, they are rewritten. Bad speakers create a 10 minutes speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Great speakers create a 5 minute speech and deliver it in 7 minutes. Explain your ideas in a simple manner, so that the average 12-year-old child can understand the concept. Good speakers and experts can always explain the most complex ideas with very simple words. Stories evoke emotions. Factual information conveys logic. Emotions are far more important in a speech than logic. If you're considering whether to use statistics or a story, use a story. PowerPoint is for pictures not for words. Use as few words on the slide as possible. Never learn your speech word for word. Just rehearse it enough times to internalize the flow. If you watch a video of your speech, you can triple the pace of your development as a speaker. Make videos a habit. Meaningless words and clichés neither convey value nor information. Avoid them. Never apologize on stage. If people need to put in a lot of effort to understand you they simply won’t listen. On the other hand if you use very simple language you will connect with the audience and your speech will be remembered.
Andrii Sedniev (Magic of Public Speaking: A Complete System to Become a World Class Speaker)
And do not try to be so brave. I am your lifemate.You cannot hide from me something as powerful as fear." "Trepidation," she corrected, nibbling at the pad of his thumb. "Is there a difference?" His pale eyes had warmed to molten mercury. Just that fast, her body ent liquid in answer. "You know very well there is." She laughed again, and the sound traveled down from his heart to pool in his groin, a heavy,familiar ache. "Slight, perhaps, but very important." "I will try to make you happy, Savannah," he promised gravely. Her fingers went up to brush at the thick mane of hair falling around his face. "You are my lifemate, Gregori. I have no doubt you will make me happy." He had to look away,out the window into the night. She was so good, with so much beauty in her, while he was so dark, his goodness drained into the ground with the blood of all the lives he had taken while he waited for her. But now,faced with the reality of her, Gregori could not bear her to witness the blackness within him, the hideous stain across his soul. For beyond his killing and law-breaking, he had committed the gravest crime of all. And he deserved the ultimate penalty, the forfeit of his life. He had deliberately tempered with nature.He knew he was powerful enough, knew his knowledge exeeded the boundaries of Carpathian law. He had taken Savannah's free will, manipulated the chemistry between them so that she would believe he was her true lifemate. And so she was with him-less than a quarter of a century of innocence pitted against his thousand years of hard study.Perhaps that was his punishment, he mused-being sentenced to an eternity of knowing Savannah could never really love him, never really accept his black soul.That she would be ever near yet so far away. If she ever found out the extent of his manipulation, she would despise him. Yet he could never,ever, allow her to leave him. Not if mortals and immortals alike were to be safe. His jaw hardened, and he stared out the window, turning slightly away from her. His mind firmly left hers, not wanting to alert her to the grave crime he had committed.He could bear torture and centuries of isolation, he could bear his own great sins, but he could not endure her loathing him. Unconsciously, he took her hand in his and tightened his grip until it threatened to crush her fragile bones. Savannah glanced at him, let out a breath slowly to keep from wincing, and kept her hand passively in his.He thought his mind closed to her.Didn't believe she was his true lifemate. He truly believed he had manipulated the outcome of their joining unfairly and that somewhere another Carpathian male with the chemistry to match hers might be waiting.Though he had offered her free access to his mind, had himself given her the power,to meld her mind with his,both as her wolf and as her healer before she was born,he likely didn't think a woman,a fledging, and one who was not his true lifemate, could possibly have the skill to read his innermost secrets.But Savannah could. And completing the ancient ritual of lifemates had only strengthened the bond.
Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))