Sed2109 > Sed2109's Quotes

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  • #1
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Having a sister or a friend is like sitting at night in a lighted house. Those outside can watch you if they want, but you need not see them. You simply say, "Here are the perimeters of our attention. If you prowl around under the windows till the crickets go silent, we will pull the shades. If you wish us to suffer your envious curiosity, you must permit us not to notice it." Anyone with one solid human bond is that smug, and it is the smugness as much as the comfort and safety that lonely people covet and admire.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #2
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Gilead


  • #3
    Marilynne Robinson
    “These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Gilead


  • #4
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Because, once alone, it is impossible to believe that one could ever have been otherwise. Loneliness is an absolute discovery.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #5
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Imagine a Carthage sown with salt, and all the sowers gone, and the seeds lain however long in the earth, till there rose finally in vegetable profusion leaves and trees of rime and brine. What flowering would there be in such a garden? Light would force each salt calyx to open in prisms, and to fruit heavily with bright globes of water–-peaches and grapes are little more than that, and where the world was salt there would be greater need of slaking. For need can blossom into all the compensations it requires. To crave and to have are as like as a thing and its shadow. For when does a berry break upon the tongue as sweetly as when one longs to taste it, and when is the taste refracted into so many hues and savors of ripeness and earth, and when do our senses know any thing so utterly as when we lack it? And here again is a foreshadowing–-the world will be made whole. For to wish for a hand on one’s hair is all but to feel it. So whatever we may lose, very craving gives it back to us again.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #6
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Ascension seemed at such times a natural law. If one added to it a law of completion - that everything must finally be made comprehensible - then some general rescue of the sort I imagined my aunt to have undertaken would be inevitable. For why do our thoughts turn to some gesture of a hand, the fall of a sleeve, some corner of a room on a particular anonymous afternoon, even when we are asleep, and even when we are so old that our thoughts have abandoned other business? What are all these fragments for , if not to be knit up finally?”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #7
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Then there is the matter of my mother's abandonment of me. Again, this is the common experience. They walk ahead of us, and walk too fast, and forget us, they are so lost in thoughts of their own, and soon or late they disappear. The only mystery is that we expect it to be otherwise.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #8
    Marilynne Robinson
    “Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable, and finally has come to look and not to buy.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #9
    Marilynne Robinson
    “During those days Fingerbone was strangely transformed. If one should be shown odd fragments arranged on a silver tray and be told, "That is a splinter from the True Cross, and that is a nail paring dropped by Barabbas, and that is a bit of lint from under the bed where Pilate's wife dreamed her dream," the very ordinariness of the things would recommend them. Every spirit passing through the world fingers the tangible and mars the mutable, and finally has come to look and not to buy. So shoes are worn and hassocks are sat upon and finally everything is left where it was and the spirit passes from the ground as if there were no other pleasure in the world but brown leaves, as if it would deck, clothe, flesh itself in flourishes of dusty brown apple leaves, and then drops them all in a heap at the side of the house and goes on.”
    Marilynne Robinson, Housekeeping


  • #10
    Charlotte Brontë
    “Do you think I am an automaton? — a machine without feelings? and can bear to have my morsel of bread snatched from my lips, and my drop of living water dashed from my cup? Do you think, because I am poor, obscure, plain, and little, I am soulless and heartless? You think wrong! — I have as much soul as you — and full as much heart! And if God had gifted me with some beauty and much wealth, I should have made it as hard for you to leave me, as it is now for me to leave you. I am not talking to you now through the medium of custom, conventionalities, nor even of mortal flesh: it is my spirit that addresses your spirit; just as if both had passed through the grave, and we stood at God's feet, equal — as we are!”
    Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre


  • #11
    Tony Kushner
    “I hate America. I hate this country. It’s just big ideas, and stories, and people dying, and people like you. The white cracker who wrote the national anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word 'free' to a note so high nobody can reach it. That was deliberate. Nothing on earth sounds less like freedom to me. You come to room 1013 over at the hospital, I'll show you America. Terminal, crazy and mean. I live in America, that’s hard enough, I don’t have to love it. You do that. Everybody’s got to love something.”
    Tony Kushner, Angels in America


  • #12
    Tony Kushner
    “Respect the delicate ecology of your delusions.”
    Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches


  • #13
    Tony Kushner
    “I've lived through such terrible times and there are people who live through much worse. But you see them living anyway. When they're more spirit than body, more sores than skin, when they're burned and in agony, when flies lay eggs in the corners of the eyes of their children - they live. Death usually has to take life away. I don't know if that's just the animal. I don't know if it's not braver to die, but I recognize the habit; the addiction to being alive. So we live past hope. If I can find hope anywhere, that's it, that's the best I can do. It's so much not enough. It's so inadequate. But still bless me anyway. I want more life.”
    Tony Kushner, Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes


  • #14
    Tony Kushner
    “Night flight to San Francisco; chase the moon across America. God, it’s been years since I was on a plane. When we hit 35,000 feet we’ll have reached the tropopause, the great belt of calm air, as close as I’ll ever get to the ozone. I dreamed we were there. The plane leapt the tropopause, the safe air, and attained the outer rim, the ozone, which was ragged and torn, patches of it threadbare as old cheesecloth, and that was frightening. But I saw something that only I could see because of my astonishing ability to see such things: Souls were rising, from the earth far below, souls of the dead, of people who had perished, from famine, from war, from the plague, and they floated up, like skydivers in reverse, limbs all akimbo, wheeling and spinning. And the souls of these departed joined hands, clasped ankles, and formed a web, a great net of souls, and the souls were three-atom oxygen molecules of the stuff of ozone, and the outer rim absorbed them and was repaired. Nothing’s lost forever. In this world, there’s a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we’ve left behind, and dreaming ahead. At least I think that’s so.”
    Tony Kushner, Angels in America, Part Two: Perestroika
    tags: hope


  • #15
    George Eliot
    “But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.”
    George Eliot, Middlemarch


  • #16
    George Eliot
    “The clergy are, practically, the most irresponsible of all talkers.

    ["Evangelical Teaching: Dr. Cumming," The Westminster Review, 1885.]”
    George Eliot


  • #17
    George Eliot
    “Marriage, which has been the bourne of so many narratives, is still a great beginning, as it was to Adam and Eve, who kept their honey-moon in Eden, but had their first little one among the thorns and thistles of the wilderness. It is still the beginning of the home epic - the gradual conquest or irremediable loss of that complete union which make the advancing years a climax, and age the harvest of sweet memories in common.”
    George Eliot, Middlemarch


  • #18
    George Eliot
    “If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel's heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence.”
    George Eliot, Middlemarch


  • #19
    Virginia Woolf
    “What is the meaning of life? That was all- a simple question; one that tended to close in on one with years, the great revelation had never come. The great revelation perhaps never did come. Instead, there were little daily miracles, illuminations, matches struck unexpectedly in the dark; here was one.”
    Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


  • #20
    Virginia Woolf
    “so that the monotonous fall of the waves on the beach, which for the most part beat a measured and soothing tattoo to her thoughts seemed consolingly to repeat over and over again as she sat with the children the words of some old cradle song, murmured by nature, ‘I am guarding you—I am your support," but at other times suddenly and unexpectedly, especially when her mind raised itself slightly from the task actually in hand, had no such kindly meaning, but like a ghostly roll of drums remorsely beat the measure of life, made one think of the destruction of the island and its engulfment in the sea, and warned her whose day had slipped past in one quick doing after another that it was all ephemeral as a rainbow—this sound which had been obscured and concealed under the other sounds suddenly thundered hollow in her ears and made her look up with an impulse of terror.”
    Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


  • #21
    Virginia Woolf
    “When life sank down for a moment, the range of experience seemed limitless... Beneath it is all dark, it is all spreading, it is unfathomably deep; but now and again we rise to the surface and that is what you see us by. Her horizon seemed to her limitless.”
    Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


  • #22
    Virginia Woolf
    “Listening (had there been any one to listen) from the upper rooms of the empty house only gigantic chaos streaked with lightning could have been heard tumbling and tossing, as the winds and waves disported themselves like the amorphous bulks of leviathans whose brows are pierced by no light of reason, and mounted one on top of another, and lunged and plunged in the darkness or the daylight (for night and day, month and year ran shapelessly together) in idiot games, until it seemed as if the universe were battling and tumbling, in brute confusion and wanton lust aimlessly by itself.”
    Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse


  • #23
    Arundhati Roy
    “But what was there to say?

    Only that there were tears. Only that Quietness and Emptiness fitted together like stacked spoons. Only that there was a snuffling in the hollows at the base of a lovely throat. Only that a hard honey-colored shoulder had a semicircle of teethmarks on it. Only that they held each other close, long after it was over. Only that what they shared that night was not happiness, but hideous grief.

    Only that once again they broke the Love Laws. That lay down who should be loved. And how. And how much.”
    Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things


  • #24
    Arundhati Roy
    “It is after all so easy to shatter a story. To break a chain of thought. To ruin a fragment of a dream being carried around carefully like a piece of porcelain. To let it be, to travel with it, as Velutha did, is much the harder thing to do.”
    Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things


  • #25
    Gary Shteyngart
    “The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons -- it was systemic and it was complete.”
    Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story


  • #26
    Gary Shteyngart
    “My hair would continue to gray, and then one day, it would fall out entirely, and then, on a day meaninglessly close to the present one, meaninglessly like the present one, I would disappear from the earth. And all these emotions, all these yearnings, all these data, if that helps to clinch the enormity of what I'm talking about, would be gone. And that's what immortality means. It means selfishness. My generations belief that each one of us matters more than you or anyone else would think.”
    Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story


  • #27
    Gary Shteyngart
    “I felt the weakness of these books, their immateriality, how they had failed to change the world, and I didn't want to sully myself with their weakness anymore.”
    Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story


  • #28
    Gary Shteyngart
    “Every returning New Yorker asks the question: Is this still my city? I have a ready answer, cloaked in obstinate despair: It is. And if it's not, I will love it all the more. I will love it to the point where it becomes mine again.”
    Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story


  • #29
    Gary Shteyngart
    “I wish I were stronger and more secure in myself so that I could really spend my life with a guy like Lenny. Because he has a different kind of strength than Joshie. He has the strength of his sweet tuna arms. He has the strength of putting his nose in my hair and calling it home. He has the strength to cry when I go down on him. Who IS Lenny? Who DOES that? Who will ever open up to me like that again? No one. Because it's too dangerous. Lenny is a dangerous man. Joshie is more powerful, but Lenny is much more dangerous.”
    Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story


  • #30
    Gary Shteyngart
    “In the first few pages, Kundera discusses several abstract historical figures: Robespierre, Nietzsche, Hitler. For Eunice's sake, I wanted him to get to the plot, to introduce actual "living" characters - I recalled this was a love story - and to leave the world of ideas behind. Here we were, two people lying in bed, Eunice's worried head propped on my collarbone, and I wanted us to feel something in common. I wanted this complex language, this surge of intellect, to be processed into love. Isn't that how they used to do it a century ago, people reading poetry to one another?”
    Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story




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