There is only one page left to write on. I will fill it with words of only one syllable. I love. I have loved. I will love.
I go to sleep alone, and wake up alone. I take walks. I work until I'm tired. I watch the wind play with the trash that's been under the snow all winter. Everything seems simple until you think about it. Why is love intensified by abscence?
I never wanted to have anything in my life that I couldn't stand losing. But it's too late for that.
Don't you think it's better to be extremely happy for a short while, even if you lose it, than to be just okay for your whole life?
I am suddenly comsumed by nostalgia for the little girl who was me, who loved the fields and believed in God, who spent winter days home sick from school reading Nancy Drew and sucking menthol cough drops, who could keep a secret.
There are several ways to react to being lost. One is to panic: this was usually Valentina's first impulse. Another is to abandon yourself to lostness, to allow the fact that you've misplaced yourself to change the way you experience the world.
Chaos is more freedom; in fact, total freedom. But no meaning. I want to be free to act, and I also want my actions to mean something.
The choices we’re working with here are a block universe, where past, present and future all coexist simultaneously and everything has already happened; chaos, where anything can happen and nothing can be predicted because we can’t know all the variables; and a Christian universe in which God made everything and it’s all here for a purpose but we have free will anyway.
one of the best and the most painful things about time traveling has been the opportunity to see my mother alive.
I sit quietly and think about my mom. It's funny how memory erodes, If all I had to work from were my childhood memories, my knowledge of my mother would be faded and soft, with a few sharp memories standing out.
We are often insane with happiness. We are also very unhappy for reasons neither of us can do anything about. Like being separated.
I think about my mother singing after lunch on a Summer afternoon, twirling in blue dress across the floor of her dressing room
When I am out there, in time, I am inverted, changed into a desperate version of myself. I become a thief, a vagrant, an animal who runs and hides. I startle old women and amaze children. I am a trick, an illusion of the highest order, so incredible that I am actually true.
After my mom died she ate my father up completely. She would have hated it. Every minute of his life since then has been marked by her absence, every action has lacked dimension because she is not there to measure against. And when I was young I didn't understand, but now, I know, how absence can be present, like a damaged nerve, like a dark bird. If I had to live on without you I know I could not do it. But I hope, I have this vision of you walking unencumbered, with your shining hair in the sun. I have not seen this with my eyes, but only with my imagination, that makes pictures, that always wanted to paint you, shining; but I hope that this vision will be true, anyway.
You can still be cool when you’re dead. In fact, it’s much easier, because you aren’t getting old and fat and losing your hair.
Even her name seemed empty, as though it had detached itself from her and was floating untethered in his mind. How am I supposed to live without you? It was not a matter of the body; his body would carry on as usual. The problem was located in the word how: he would live, but without Elspeth the flavour, the manner, the method of living were lost to him. He would have to relearn solitude.
...all of our laments could not add a single second to her life, not one additional beat of the heart, nor a breath.
The apartment is a laboratory in which we conduct experiments, perform research on each other. We discover Henry hates it when I absentmindedly click my spoon against my teeth while reading the paper at breakfast. We agree that it is okay for me to listen to Joni Mitchell and it is okay for Henry to listen to the Shaggs as long as the other person isn't around. We figure out that Henry should do all the cooking and I should be in charge of laundry and neither of us is willing to vacuum so we hire a cleaning service.
Now I wonder if it means that the future is a place, or like a place, that I could go to; that is go to in some way otherthan just getting older.
When I began writing The Night Bookmobile, it was a story about a woman's secret life as a reader. As I worked it also became a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary tale of the seductions of the written word. It became a vision of the afterlife as a library, of heaven as a funky old camper filled with everything you've ever read. What is this heaven? What is it we desire from the hours, weeks, lifetimes we devote to books? What would you sacrifice to sit in that comfy chair with perfect light for an afternoon in eternity, reading the perfect book, forever?
Have you ever found your heart's desire and then lost it? I had seen myself, a portrait of myself as a reader. My childhood: days home sick from school reading Nancy Drew, forbidden books read secretively late at night. Teenage years reading -trying to read- books I'd heard were important, Naked Lunch, and The Fountainhead, Ulysses and Women in Love... It was as though I had dreamt the perfect lover, who vanished as I woke, leaving me pining and surly.
When the woman you live with is an artist, every day is a surprise. Clare has turned the second bedroom into a wonder cabinet, full of small sculptures and drawings pinned up on every inch of wall space. There are coils of wire and rolls of paper tucked into shelves and drawers. The sculptures remind me of kites, or model airplanes. I say this to Clare one evening, standing in the doorway of her studio in my suit and tie, home from work, about to begin making dinner, and she throws one at me; it flies surprisingly well, and soon we are standing at opposite ends of the hall, tossing tiny sculptures at each other, testing their aerodynamics. The next day I come home to find that Clare has created a flock of paper and wire birds, which are hanging from the ceiling in the living room. A week later our bedroom windows are full of abstract blue translucent shapes that the sun throws across the room onto the walls, making a sky for the bird shapes Clare has painted there. It's beautiful. The next evening I'm standing in the doorway of Clare's studio, watching her finish drawing a thicket of black lines around a little red bird. Suddenly I see Clare, in her small room, closed in by all her stuff, and I realize that she's trying to say something, and I know what I have to do.
Martin said, It feels as though part of my self has detached and gone to Amsterdam, where it—she—is waiting for me. Do you know about phantom-limb syndrome? Julia nodded. There's pain where she ought to be. It's feeding the other pain, the thing that makes me wash and count and all that. So her absence is stopping me from going to find her. Do you see?
The hardest lesson is Clare’s solitude. Sometimes I come home and Clare seems kind of irritated; I’ve interrupted some train of thought, broken into the dreary silence of her day. Sometimes I see an expression on Clare’s face that is like a closed door. She has gone inside the room of her mind and is sitting there knitting or something. I’ve discovered that Clare likes to be alone. But when I return from time traveling she is always relieved to see me.
When you live with a woman you learn something every day. So far I have learned that long hair will clog up the shower drain before you can say 'Liquid-Plumr'
Now I wonder if it means that the future is a place, or like a place, that I could go to; that is go to in some way other than just getting older.
That is what madness is, isn't it? All the wheels fly off the bus and things don't make sense any more. Or rather, they do, but it's not a kind of sense anyone else can understand.