One is seduced and battered in turn. The result is presumably wisdom. Wisdom! We are clinging to life like lizards.Why is it so difficult to assemble those things that really matter in life and to dwell among them only? I am referring to certain landscapes, persons, beasts, books, rooms, meteorological conditions, fruits. In fact, I insist on it.A letter is like a poem, it leaps into life and shows very clearly the marks, perhaps I should say thumbprints, of an unwilling or unready composer.
They lay silently. She was staring at something across the room. She was making him feel uncomfortable. 'It wouldn't work. It's the attraction of opposites,' he said.We're not opposites.'I don't mean just you and me. Women fall in love when they get to know you. Men are just the opposite. When they finally know you they're ready to leave.
Their life is mysterious, it is like a forest; from far off it seems a unity, it can be comprehended, described, but closer it begins to separate, to break into light and shadow, the density blinds one. Within there is no form, only prodigious detail that reaches everywhere: exotic sounds, spills of sunlight, foliage, fallen trees, small beasts that flee at the sound of a twig-snap, insects, silence, flowers.And all of this, dependent, closely woven, all of it is deceiving. There are really two kinds of life. There is, as Viri says, the one people believe you are living, and there is the other. It is this other which causes the trouble, this other we long to see.
Women fall in love when they get to know you. Men are just the opposite. When they finally know you they're ready to leave
The book was in her lap; she had read no further. The power to change one’s life comes from a paragraph, a lone remark. The lines that penetrate us are slender, like the flukes that live in river water and enter the bodies of swimmers. She was excited, filled with strength. The polished sentences had arrived, it seemed, like so many other things, at just the right time. How can we imagine what our lives should be without the illumination of the lives of others?
there comes a time in life, when you realize that everything is a dream; only those things which are written down have any possibility of being real.
If you can overcome the occasional angst, you may have the chance to see some interesting things, perhaps the same things the tour buses bring people to see, but purified by solitude, if you will. In any case, do not stay in the hotel room. That is the only place you are vulnerable.
...alone in this city, alone on this sea. The days were strewn about him, he was a drunkard of days. He had achieved nothing. He had his life--it was not worth much--not like a life that, though ended, had truly been something. If I had had courage,he thought, if I had had faith. We preserve ourselves as if that were important, and always at the expense of others. We hoard ourselves. We succeed if they fail, we are wise if they are foolish, and we go onward, clutching, until there is no one--we are left with no companion save God. In whom we do not believe. Who we know does not exist.
I'm tired of my life, my clothes, the things I say. I'm hacking away at the surface, as at some kind of gray ice, trying to break through to what is underneath or I am dead. I can feel the surface trembling—it seems ready to give but it never does. I am uninterested in current events. How can I justify this? How can I explain it? I don't want to have the same vocabulary I've always had. I want something richer, broader, more penetrating and powerful.
She formed her life day by day, taking as its materials the emptiness and panic as well as the rushes, like fever, of contentment. I am beyond fear of solitude, she thought, I am past it. The idea thrilled her. I am beyond it and I will not sink. This submission, this triumph made her stronger. It was as if finally, after having passed through inferior stages, her life had found a form worthy of it.
But knowledge does not protect one. Life is contemptuous of knowledge; it forces it to sit in the anterooms, to wait outside. Passion, energy, lies: these are what life admires.
Now they are lovers. The first, wild courses are ended. They have founded their domain. A satanic happiness follows.
He liked to read with the silence and the golden color of the whiskey as his companions. He liked food, people, talk, but reading was an inexhaustible pleasure. What the joys of music were to others, words on a page were to him.
A writer cannot really grasp what he has written. It is not like a building or a sculpture, it cannot be seen whole. It is only a kind of smoke seized and printed on a page.
His world was small, an illiterate county seat, a backward state, though from it he fashioned something greater, far greater perhaps than he ever knew. A writer cannot really grasp what he has written. It is not like a building or a sculpture; it cannot be seen whole. It is only a kind of smoke seized and printed on a page.
Age doesn't arrive slowly, it comes in a rush. One day nothing has changed, a week later, everything has. A week may be too long a time, it can happen overnight. You are the same and still the same and suddenly one morning two distinct lines, ineradicable, have appeared at the corners of your mouth.
I can't explain it. It's what turns you to powder, being ground between what you can't do and what you must do. You just turn to dust.
He wants his children to have an old life and a new life, a life that is indivisible from all lives past, that grows from them, exceeds them, and another that is original, pure, free, that is beyond the prejudice which protects us, the habit which gives us shape. He wants them to know both degradation and sainthood, the one without humiliation, the other without ignorance.
For those we are born to speak to we need prepare nothing, the lines are ready, everything is there.
I love to write about Nabokov and also to think about him. I love his attitude that he is incomparable, his lofty judgments and general scorn of other writers - not all of them, of course.
It's great to listen to men talk about sports or fights or war or even hunting sometimes, but the presence of the other, the presence of art and beauty, which crude masculinity seems to discount, is essential. Real civilization and real manhood seem to me to include those.
You can write about other people and their ideas and life without having lived it, but even your perception of that is going to be colored by what you know and what you experience. And this is undeniable.
In a certain sense, a writer is an exile, an outsider, always reporting on things, and it is part of his life to keep on the move. Travel is natural.
I sometimes say that I don't make anything up - obviously that's not true. But I am uninterested in writers who say that everything comes out of the imagination. I would rather be in a room with someone who is telling the story of his life, which may be exaggerated and even have lies in it, but I want to hear the true story, essentially.