It was a year ago today your daughter went missing.’ Bagg had closed his eyes, feeling the death going on inside.
It's amazing how close I have been, all this time, to my old life. And yet the distance that divides me from it is vast.
Question: You’re 21-years-old, a young adult writing mature adult literary fiction. Imaj: Yes, I feel creativity is an ageless thing.
School children, who have enjoyed reading a romance or a detective thriller or a novel about terror and conquest, make the invariable mistake of studying literature in the college. They make the mistake of learning theory in place of art; they acquire impediments in their own enjoyment of the books by allowing a set of theories to govern their own reading.
After everything is said and done, a memory remains a treacherous thing…How long does one cling on to the people they’ve lost? How long could I have remembered my grandfather? How long had it been since I forgotten him and my mind began harbouring other things?
Write for joy. It is the *only* reason to write. Whatever happens to your books afterward, just write for joy. Send your current one out when it's done and forget it, start another, and keep on writing for joy. Words I now live by. Welwyn Wilton Katz
As the flesh gets in the way of our ideals, we regulate ourselves unto enslavement and inhumanity.The human spirit then dies and the animal in us returns.
All that is gold does not glitter.Not all those who wander are lost:The old that is strong does not wither.Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the moment any of us utter our first goo-goo's and ga-ga's, we are as good as gone. At that precise instant, any possibility that It will ever arise in us is irrevocably crushed. If any proof is needed, consider how immune to strong emotion our society has grown. At your next visit to the local funeral parlor, glance at the mourners, who can more properly be defined as spectators. Notice how they smell, how well-dressed and dignified they are. This is because viewing the dead has become overwhelmingly acceptable as a social function. Yes, even the corpse is part of the festivities, lying there as the guest of honor, laid out in his best clothes, pumped full of chemicals and smeared with make-up as the patrons file by and nurse their long buried consciences with silk handkerchiefs.
The problem with a lot of people who read only literary fiction is that they assume fantasy is just books about orcs and goblins and dragons and wizards and bullshit. And to be fair, a lot of fantasy is about that stuff.The problem with people in fantasy is they believe that literary fiction is just stories about a guy drinking tea and staring out the window at the rain while he thinks about his mother. And the truth is a lot of literary fiction is just that. Like, kind of pointless, angsty, emo, masturbatory bullshit.However, we should not be judged by our lowest common denominators. And also you should not fall prey to the fallacious thinking that literary fiction is literary and all other genres are genre. Literary fiction is a genre, and I will fight to the death anyone who denies this very self-evident truth.So, is there a lot of fantasy that is raw shit out there? Absolutely, absolutely, it’s popcorn reading at best. But you can’t deny that a lot of lit fic is also shit. 85% of everything in the world is shit. We judge by the best. And there is some truly excellent fantasy out there. For example, Midsummer Night’s Dream; Hamlet with the ghost; Macbeth, ghosts and witches; I’m also fond of the Odyessey; Most of the Pentateuch in the Old Testament, Gargantua and Pantagruel.Honestly, fantasy existed before lit fic, and if you deny those roots you’re pruning yourself so closely that you can’t help but wither and die.
With more time spent in their mother's presence, Maggie kept topics of conversation to small stuff, seldom ever wanted to dig below the surface, learned from her mother: just be polite, which makes Callie's own facile mental questioning and creative drive, paired with her physical rigidity, all the more oppositional, and, how they dance around serious subjects, laughable.
After all, she knows how painful it can be not to follow your heart and she knows about the obstacles and about loyalty and duty and about the countless kinds of love. If only Eve and Myles were freer to make the right choices, she thinks.
THE NEXT DAY WAS RAIN-SOAKED and smelled of thick sweet caramel, warm coconut and ginger. A nearby bakery fanned its daily offerings. A lapis lazuli sky was blanketed by gunmetal gray clouds as it wept crocodile tears across the parched Los Angeles landscape.When Ivy was a child and she overheard adults talking about their break-ups, in her young feeble-formed mind, she imagined it in the most literal of essences. She once heard her mother speaking of her break up with an emotionally unavailable man.She said they broke up on 69th Street. Ivy visualized her mother and that man breaking into countless fragments, like a spilled box of jigsaw pieces. And she imagined them shattered in broken shards, being blown down the pavement of 69th Street.For some reason, on the drive home from Marcel’s apartment that next morning, all Ivy could think about was her mother and that faceless man in broken pieces, perhaps some aspects of them still stuck in cracks and crevices of the sidewalk, mistaken as grit.She couldn’t get the image of Marcel having his seizure out of her mind. It left a burning sensation in the center of her chest. An incessant flame torched her lungs, chest, and even the back door of her tongue. Witnessing someone you cared about experiencing a seizure was one of those things that scribed itself indelibly on the canvas of your mind. It was gut-wrenching. Graphic and out-of-body, it was the stuff that post traumatic stress syndrome was made of.
You are there and to their ears, being a Syrian sounds like you’re unclean, shameful, indecent; it’s like you owe the world an apology for your very existence.
The blind faith in some half-assed conspiracy theories lines up with the logic of having to believe in something with no questions asked. It gives us peace and comfort. As simple as I was, I found that resorting to this absolute nonsense was the root of all our problems. It was a road of willingly-learned helplessness, for no action could make a difference, thereby no action was needed.
One way to think about your life is as an extended free fall. An epiphany may help you see better as you fall. Rather than a meaningless blur, you will see rocks and trees and lizards. An epiphany is not a parachute.
You already know what the machine will write on your arm. That lie you’ve been telling yourself—you know what it is. That blind spot is not really a blind spot—you’re choosing to look away. Perhaps more to the point, you already know whether you want to see it. You already know whether you’re going to use the machine. So why are you still reading this?
The epiphany machine will not discover anything about you that you do not, in some way, already know. But think for a moment about surprise. What is surprising is never what is revealed but the grace with which it has been hidden.
I was an utterance in absentia. I was a forgotten word, uttered and mislaid long ago. I was the word that existed because there was another word that was my opposite, and without it I was nothing. I gained meaning only by acknowledging that possible other.Nida
It is not often that I have two options to choose from. It is nice to be compelled towards something, otherwise one drifts through life unimpeded.Bhanggi
What do you think about America?Everyone always smiles so big! Well—most people. Maybe not so much you. I think it looks stupid.
I have a hunch the world is darker than I could ever imagine and there is less reason for hope than I am able to see. It makes me grateful there is only so much I can see, and I am left mostly with questions. Grateful, also, that hope is not a reasonable thing. Though I have seen my share of darkness, I am spared perceiving much of it. And here is why I hope beyond a reasonable doubt: I think that as the darkness grows, it makes the dim lights that are left seem brighter. And the darker it gets, the brighter the light appears, until it is so luminous, eventually, even falling shadows are filled with it.
I’ve been told that I cannot change shit, so I might as well stop torturing myself. My emotions are ridiculed and branded as childish. I have been told that the world has given up on my people. I have been told, and realise that on many occasions, I myself am viewed as an outcast by some of those suffering. I’ve been confronted and my answer is always the same: I care even in my most fucked-up moments. I care even when gates of shit pour open to drown me; I care because I am a citizen of the world.
For I’m neither a submitter nor a hating retaliator, I acknowledge the boundaries of my existence; yet, I still care. I care regardless of the way they choose to reduce me to the brand that is the birthmark of the accident of my conception. I care less about what that brand signifies in terms of my character, potential, and intentions. For the harmed I care. For the real victims. It’s the most basic of my mandatory civil duties. Only in caring, am I a citizen of the world.
For some reason, notwithstanding the alienation and utter rejection, I consider myself a global citizen. They say misery calls for company and I’ve always been a man of funerals. The companion of the misfortunate, until they are not!
As a citizen of the world, it’s my instinct to keep the fallen and the suffering in my thoughts. The human brain fascinates me; its limitless bounds of empathy. You see, in my mind there is logic to it: do no harm, prevent harm, help, support, care for the harmed, face the harmer. My stupid idealist conscience considers sympathy, not pity, at its worst, the most basic and the least negotiable civil duty. Of course as a citizen of the world, I should strive to do more. That said, I am only a man and so I often do the least.
I thought you'd be interested in these things as a government man. Ain't you mixed up in the prices of things we eat or something? Ain't that it? Making them more costly or something. Making the grits cost more and the grunts less?
As a citizen of the world, it’s my instinct to keep the fallen and the suffering in my thoughts... You see, in my mind there is logic to it: do no harm, prevent harm, help, support, care for the harmed, face the harmer. My stupid idealist conscience considers sympathy, not pity, at its worst, the most basic and the least negotiable civil duty. Of course as a citizen of the world, I should strive to do more. That said, I am only a man and so I often do the least.
The old law of an eye for an eye didn’t make them blind to the fact that another man’s terrorist wasn’t their freedom fighter.
I am not an atheist preacher. I am not an absolutist or chauvinist whose ways are immune to evolution. My core philosophy is that I might be wrong.
In light of my distanced telescopic exposure to the mayhem, I refused to plagiarise others’ personal tragedies as my own. There is an authorship in misery that costs more than empathy. Often I’d found myself dumbstruck in failed attempts to simulate that particular unfamiliar dolour. After all, no one takes pleasure in being possessed by a wailing father collecting the decapitated head of his innocent six year old. Even on the hinge of a willing attempt at full empathy with those cursed with such catastrophes, one had to have a superhuman emotional powers. I could not, in any way, claim the ability to relate to those who have been forced to swallow the never-ending bitter and poisonous pills of our inherited misfortune. Yet that excruciating pain in my chest seemed to elicit a state of agony in me, even from far behind the telescope. It could have been my tribal gene amplified by the ripple effect of the falling, moving in me what was left of my humanity.
In the mantra of shared hatred and placing the blame on Israel, our cowardice to face the barbarity of our heads of states was replaced with a divine purpose. Contemplating the manifestation of the eradication of hatred I often concluded, the entirety of the Middle East’s theocracies and dictatorships would be replaced by total anarchy. We would be left with nothing, as our brotherhood of hatred was the only bond known to us. Enculturated in the malarkey of that demagoguery, forces beyond our control and comprehension seem to deceive us into a less harmful and satisfactory logic as opposed to placing some blame on ourselves and thus, having to act to reverse that state of affairs.
I have to stress that my duties towards victims of all sorts, be it helping, taking their side, or caring, ends the moment their status becomes a bargaining chip. The moment the victim becomes a righteous sufferer. For in my short time on this planet, history and on-going affairs are full of those competing in victimhood.
There was something distinctly American about it all, a fundamental difference in perspective and place–in how they saw themselves in the world. And this was what made it so American–not that they felt compassion for mistreated workers three continents away, workers they had never seen or known, whose world they could not begin to understand, not that they felt guilty about their privilege, no,no not that either, but that they felt the need to do something. That they felt they had to power to do something about it. That was what made it so American. That they felt they had the power to do something–they assumed they had that power. They had been born with it–the ability to change the world–and had never questioned its existence, an assumption so massive as to remain unseen. The power and the responsibility to protect the people they imagined as powerless. The poor defenseless people of the Third World. He felts a sudden queasy sadness. What if they knew what a real revolutionary was? How bloody a real revolution. He looked around, suddenly feeling the need to sit, and saw nothing but their faces, their round wet faces staring back at him. What a violence of spirit not to know the world.
Narrative secrets are not the same as human mysteries, a lesson that novelists seem fates to forget, again and again; the former quickly confess themselves, and fall silent, while the true mysteries go on speaking.
Darkness crept through. Shadows pried at doors, teased dull edges of recollections that never quite took hold. Memories that would have shriveled under the blinding sun of daylight. And reason.