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“In this world, there is a kind of painful progress. Longing for what we've left behind, and dreaming ahead.”
Tony Kushner, Perestroika
“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, Perestroika
tags: hope
“You have a good heart and you think the good thing is to be guilty and kind but it's not always kind to be gentle and soft, there's a genuine violence softness and kindness visit on people. Sometimes self-interested is the most generous thing you can be. ”
Tony Kushner, Perestroika
“Harper: In your experience of the world. How do people change?

Mormon Mother: Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice.

God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and then plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your bloody tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled and torn. It's up to you to do the stitching.

Harper: And then up you get. And walk around.

Mormon Mother: Just mangled guts pretending.

Harper: That's how people change.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“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
“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
“We won't die secret deaths anymore. The world only spins forward. We will be citizens. The time has come. Bye now. You are fabulous creatures, each and every one. And I bless you: More Life. The Great Work Begins.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“Don't be afraid; people are so afraid; don't be afraid to live in the raw wind, naked, alone...Learn at least this: What you are capable of. Let nothing stand in your way.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“Respect the delicate ecology of your delusions.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“Love is the world's infinite mutability; lies, hatred, murder even, are all knit up in it; it is the inevitable blossoming of its opposites, a magnificent rose smelling faintly of blood.”
Tony Kushner, The Illusion
“You'll find, my friend, that what you love will take you places you never dreamed you'd go.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
tags: life, love
“I just wondered what a thing it would be...if overnight everything you owe anything to, justice, or love, had really gone away. Free.

It would be...heartless terror. Yes. Terrible, and...

Very great. To shed your skin, every old skin, one by one and then walk away, unemcumbered, into the morning.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“The smallest indivisible human unit is two people, not one; one is a fiction. From such nets of souls societies, the social world, human life springs.”
Tony Kushner
“I don't understand why I'm not dead. When your heart breaks, you should die”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“Belize: Hell or heaven?

[Roy indicates "Heaven" through a glance]

Belize: Like San Francisco.

Roy Cohn: A city. Good. I was worried... it'd be a garden. I hate that shit.

Belize: Mmmm. Big city. Overgrown with weeds, but flowering weeds. On every corner a wrecking crew and something new and crooked going up catty corner to that. Windows missing in every edifice like broken teeth, fierce gusts of gritty wind, and a gray high sky full of ravens.

Roy Cohn: Isaiah.

Belize: Prophet birds, Roy. Piles of trash, but lapidary like rubies and obsidian, and diamond-colored cowspit streamers in the wind. And voting booths.

Roy Cohn: And a dragon atop a golden horde.

Belize: And everyone in Balencia gowns with red corsages, and big dance palaces full of music and lights and racial impurity and gender confusion. And all the deities are creole, mulatto, brown as the mouths of rivers. Race, taste and history finally overcome. And you ain't there.

Roy Cohn: And Heaven?

Belize: That was Heaven, Roy.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“Imagination can't create anything new, can it? It only recycles bits and pieces from the world and reassembles them into visions... So when we thing we've escaped the unbearable ordinariness and, well, untruthfulness of our lives, it's really only the same old ordinariness and falseness rearranged into the appearance of novelty and truth. Nothing unknown is knowable. Don't you think it's depressing?”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“It isn't easy, it doesn't count if it's easy, it's the hardest thing. Forgiveness. Which is maybe where love and justice finally meet.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“One wants to move through life with elegance and grace, blossoming infrequently but with exquisite taste, and perfect timing, like a rare bloom, a zebra orchid... One wants... But one so seldom gets what one wants, does one?”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“The white cracker who wrote the National Anthem knew what he was doing. He set the word "free" to a note so high nobody could reach it. That was deliberate.”
Tony Kushner, Perestroika
“Fabulous. If you possess it, you don’t need to ask what it is. When you attempt to delineate it, you move away from it. Fabulous is one of those words that provide a measure of the degree to which a person or event manifests a particular oppressed subculture’s most distinctive, invigorating features. What are the salient features of fabulousness? Irony. Tragic History. Defiance. Gender-fuck. Glitter. Drama. It is not butch. It is not hot. The cathexis surrounding fabulousness is not necessarily erotic. The fabulous is not delineated by age or beauty. It is raw materials reworked into illusion. To be truly fabulous, one must completely triumph over tragedy, age, and physical insufficiencies. The fabulous is the rapturous embrace of difference, the discovering of self not in that which has rejected you but in that which makes you unlike, the dislike, the other.”
Tony Kushner
“I wish you would be more true to your demographic profile. Life is confusing enough.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
Purple? Boy, what kind of a homosexual are you, anyway? That's not purple, Mary, that color up there is mauve.
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“My whole life has conspired to bring me to this place, and I can’t despise my whole life.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“Here's another piece of advice, only date people who have read a different set of books than you have read, it will save you lots of time in the library.”
Tony Kushner
“I had a book of Bible stories when I was a kid. There was a picture I'd look at twenty times every day: Jacob wrestles with the angel. I don't really remember the story, or why the wrestling --just the picture. Jacob is young and very strong. The angel is...a beautiful man, with golden hair and wings, of course. I still dream about it. Many nights. I'm...It's me. In that struggle. Fierce, and unfair. The angel is not human, and it holds nothing back, so how could anyone human win, what kind of a fight is that? It's not just. Losing means your soul thrown down in the dust, your heart torn out from God's. But you can't not lose.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches
“I never imagined losing my mind was going to be such hard work.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“The dreams of the left are always beautiful - the imagining of a better world, the damnation of the present one. This faith, this luminescent anger - these are worthy of being called human. These are the Beautiful that an age produces.”
Tony Kushner
“I'm not religious, but I like God and he likes me.”
Tony Kushner, Perestroika
“The body is the garden of the soul.”
Tony Kushner, Angels in America
“Real love isn't ambivalent. I'd swear that's a line from my favorite best-selling paperback novel, "In Love with the Night Mysterious", except I don't think you've ever read it. Well, you ought to, instead of spending the rest of your life, trying to get through "Democracy in America." It's about this white woman whose daddy owns a plantation in the Deep South, in the years before the Civil War. And her name is Margaret, and she's in love with her daddy's number-one slave, and his name is Thaddeus. And she's married, but her white slave-owner husband has AIDS: Antebellum Insufficiently-Developed Sex-organs. And so, there's a lot of hot stuff going down, when Margaret and Thaddeus can catch a spare torrid ten under the cotton-picking moon. And then of course the Yankees come, and they set the slaves free. And the slaves string up old daddy and so on, historical fiction. Somewhere in there I recall, Margaret and Thaddeus find the time to discuss the nature of love. Her face is reflecting the flames of the burning plantation, you know the way white people do, and his black face is dark in the night and she says to him, "Thaddeus, real love isn't ever ambivalent.”
Tony Kushner, Millennium Approaches

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