A love story can never be about full possession. The happy marriage, the requited love, the desire that never dims--these are lucky eventualites but they aren't love stories. Love stories depend on disappointment, on unequal births and feuding families, on matrimonial boredom and at least one cold heart. Love stories, nearly without exception, give love a bad name.We value love not because it's stronger than death but because it's weaker. Say what you want about love: death will finish it. You will not go on loving in the grave, not in any physical way that will at all resemble love as we know it on earth. The perishable nature of love is what gives love its importance in our lives. If it were endless, if it were on tap, love wouldn't hit us the way it does.And we certainly wouldn't write about it.
Yes, you need a passport to prove to the world that you exist. The people at passport control, they cannot look at you and see you are a person. No! They have to look at a little photograph of you. Then they believe you exist.
O Earth, lie heavily upon her eyes;Seal her sweet eyes weary of watching Earth;Lie close around her; leave no room for mirthWith its harsh laughter, nor for sound of sighs.She hath no questions, she hath no replies.
The last thing the hockey ball symbolized was Time itself, the unstoppability of it, the way we're chained to our bodies, which are chained to Time.
But maybe they understood more about life than I did. From an early age they knew what little value the world placed in books, and so didn't waste their time with them. Whereas I, even now, persist in believing that these black marks on white paper bear the greatest significance, that if I keep writing, I might be able to catch the rainbow of consciousness in a jar.
Reading a novel after reading semiotic theory was like jogging empty-handed after jogging with hand weights. What exquisite guilt she felt, wickedly enjoying narrative! Madeleine felt safe with a nineteenth century novel. There were going to be people in it. Something was going to happen to them in a place resembling the world. Then too there were lots of weddings in Wharton and Austen. There were all kinds of irresistible gloomy men.
Pay no attention to the terrors that visit you in the night. The psyche is at its lowest ebb then, unable to defend itself. The desolation that envelops you feels like truth, but isn't. It's just mental fatigue masquerading as insight.
The Statue of Liberty's gender changed nothing. It was the same here as anywhere: men and their wars.
My change from girl to boy was far less dramatic than the distance anybody travels from infancy to adulthood.
Historical fact: People stopped being people in 1913. That was the year Henry Ford put his cars on rollers and made his workers adopt the speed of the assembly line. At first, workers rebelled. They quit in droves, unable to accustom their bodies to the new pace of the age. Since then, however, the adaptation has been passed down: we've all inherited it to some degree, so that we plug right into joy-sticks and remotes, to repetitive motions of a hundred kinds.
The essential matrimonial facts: that to be happy you have to find variety in repetition, that to go forward you have to come back to where you begin.
Virgin suicideWhat was that she cried?No use in stayin'On this holocaust rideShe gave me her cherryShe's my virgin suicide
Tessie allowed Milton to press his clarinet to her skin and fill her body with music. At first it only tickled her. But after a while the notes spread deeper into her body. She felt the vibrations penetrate her muscles, pulsing in waves, until they rattled her bones and made her inner organs hum.
Planning is for the world's great cities, for Paris, London, and Rome, for cities dedicated, at some level, to culture. Detroit, on the other hand, was an American city and therefore dedicated to money, and so design had given way to expediency.
Judge Woodward envisioned the new Detroit as an urban Arcadia of interlocking hexagons. Each wheel was to be separate yet united. This dream never quite came to be. Planning is for the world's great cities, for Paris, London, and Rome, for cities dedicated, at some level, to culture. Detroit, on the other hand, was an American city and therefore dedicated to money, and so design had given way to expediency.
I'm not sure, with a grandmother like mine, if you can ever become a true American in the sense of believing that life is about the pursuit of happiness.
At that moment Mr. Lisbon had the feeling that he didn't know who she was, that children were only strangers you agreed to live with, and he reached out in order to meet her for the first time.
They had killed themselves over our dying forests, over manatees maimed by propellers as they surfaced to drink from garden hoses; they had killed themselves at the sight of used tires stacked higher than the pyramids; they had killed themselves over the failure to find a love none of us could ever be. In the end, the tortures tearing the Lisbon girls pointed to a simple reasoned refusal to accept the world as it was handed down to them, so full of flaws.
We realized that the version of the world they rendered for us was not the world they really believed in...
Mr. Lisbon had the feeling that he didn't know who she was, that children were only strangers you agreed to live with.
College feminists made fun of skyscrapers, saying they were phallic symbols. They said the same thing about space rockets, even though, if you stopped to think about it, rockets were shaped the way they were not because of phallocentrism but because of aerodynamics. Would a vagina-shaped Apollo 11 have made it to the moon? Evolution had created the penis. It was a useful structure for getting certain things done. And if it worked for the pistils of flowers as well as the inseminatory organs of Homo sapiens, whose fault was that but Biology's? But no--anything large or grand in design, any long novel, big sculpture, or towering building, became, in the opinion of the women Mitchell knew at college, manifestations of male insecurity about the size of their penises.
Mr. Lisbon knew his parental and neighborly duty entailed putting the retainer in a Ziploc bag, calling the Kriegers, and telling them their expensive orthodontal device was in safe keeping. Acts like theses -- simple, humane, conscientious, forgiving -- held life together. Only a few days earlier he would have been able to perform them. But now he took the retainer and dropped it in the toiler. He pressed the handle. The retainer, jostled int he surge, disappeared down the porcelain throat, and, when waters abated, floated triumphantly, mockingly, out, Mr. Lisbon waited for the tank to refill and flushed again, but the same thing happened. The replica of the boy's mouth clung to the white slope.
They thought depression was like bieng 'depressed'. They thought it was like being in a bad mood, only worse. Therefore, they tried to get him to snap out of it.
Depression is like a bruise that never goes away. A bruise in your mind. You just got to be careful not to touch it where it hurts. It's always there, though.
He felt as if he were being violently emptied out, as if a big magnet were pulling his blood and fluids down into the earth. He was weeping again, unstoppably, his head like the chandelier in his grandparents’ house in Buffalo, the one that was too high for them to reach and that every time he visited had one fewer bulb alight. His head was an old chandelier, going dark.
Household objects lost meaning. A bedside clock became a hunk of molded plastic, telling something called time, in a world marking its passage for some reason.
Desdemona, mourning her parents, was still imprisoned by the past. And so she stood on the mountain, looking down at the emancipated city, and felt cheated by her ability to feel happy by everybody else.
There’s a thing they’ve figured out about love. Scientifically. They’ve done studies to find out what keeps couples together. Do you know what it is? It isn’t getting along. Isn’t having money, or children, or a similar outlook on life. It’s just checking in with each other. Doing little kindnesses for each other. At breakfast, you pass the jam. Or, on a trip to New York City, you hold hands for a second in a smelly subway elevator. You ask “How was your day?” and pretend to care. Stuff like that really works.
Find the Bad Guy means how, when you’re arguing with your spouse, both people are trying to win the argument. Who didn’t close the garage door? Who left the Bigfoot hair clump in the shower drain? What you have to realize, as a couple, is that there is no bad guy. You can’t win an argument when you’re married. Because if you win, your spouse loses, and resents losing, and then you lose, too, pretty much.
She lost much of her appetite. At night, an invisible hand kept shaking her awake every few hours. Grief was physiological, a disturbance of the blood. Sometimes a whole minute would pass in nameless dread - the bedside clock ticking, the blue moonlight coating the window like glue - before she`d remember the brutal fact that had caused it.
Wouldn't it be nice to be done with it? To be done with sex and longing? Mitchell could almost imagine pulling it off, sitting on a bridge at night with the Seine flowing by. He looked up at all the lighted windows along the river's arc. He thought of all the people going to sleep or reading or listening to music, all the lives contained by a great city like this, and, floating up in his mind, rising just above the rooftops, he tried to feel, to vibrate among, all those million tremulous souls. He was sick of craving, of wanting, of hoping, of losing.
The girls took into their own hands decisions better left to God. They became too powerful to live among us, too self-concerned, too visionary, too blind.