Angle of Repose Quotes

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Angle of Repose Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner
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Angle of Repose Quotes (showing 1-30 of 76)
“Touch. It is touch that is the deadliest enemy of chastity, loyalty, monogamy, gentility with its codes and conventions and restraints. By touch we are betrayed and betray others ... an accidental brushing of shoulders or touching of hands ... hands laid on shoulders in a gesture of comfort that lies like a thief, that takes, not gives, that wants, not offers, that awakes, not pacifies. When one flesh is waiting, there is electricity in the merest contact.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“[T]hat old September feeling, left over from school days, of summer passing, vacation nearly done, obligations gathering, books and football in the air ... Another fall, another turned page: there was something of jubilee in that annual autumnal beginning, as if last year's mistakes had been wiped clean by summer.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Wisdom. . .is knowing what you have to accept.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“She had rooms in her mind that she would not look into.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“I wonder if ever again Americans can have that experience of returning to a home place so intimately known, profoundly felt, deeply loved, and absolutely submitted to? It is not quite true that you can't go home again. I have done it, coming back here. But it gets less likely. We have had too many divorces, we have consumed too much transportation, we have lived too shallowly in too many places.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“[The modern age] knows nothing about isolation and nothing about silence. In our quietest and loneliest hour the automatic ice-maker in the refrigerator will cluck and drop an ice cube, the automatic dishwasher will sigh through its changes, a plane will drone over, the nearest freeway will vibrate the air. Red and white lights will pass in the sky, lights will shine along highways and glance off windows. There is always a radio that can be turned to some all-night station, or a television set to turn artificial moonlight into the flickering images of the late show. We can put on a turntable whatever consolation we most respond to, Mozart or Copland or the Grateful Dead.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Towns are like people. Old ones often have character, the new ones are interchangeable.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“You'll do what you think you want to do, or what you think you ought to do. If you're very lucky, luckier than anybody I know, the two will coincide.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“You can't retire to weakness -- you've got to learn to control strength.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Civilizations grow by agreements and accomodations and accretions, not by repudiations. The rebels and the revolutionaries are only eddies, they keep the stream from getting stagnant but they get swept down and absorbed, they're a side issue. Quiet desperation is another name for the human condition. If revolutionaries would learn that they can't remodel society by day after tomorrow -- haven't the wisdom to and shouldn't be permitted to -- I'd have more respect for them ... Civilizations grow and change and decline -- they aren't remade.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“No life goes past so swiftly as an eventless one, no clock spins like a clock whose days are all alike.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
tags: life, time
“It's easier to die than to move ... at least for the Other Side you don't need trunks.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“There is another physical law that teases me, too: the Doppler Effect. The sound of anything coming at you- a train, say, or the future- has a higher pitch than the sound of the same thing going away. If you have perfect pitch and a head for mathematics you can compute the speed of the object by the interval between its arriving and departing sounds. I have neither perfect pitch nor a head for mathematics, and anyway who wants to compute the speed of history? Like all falling bodies, it constantly accelerates. But I would like to hear your life as you heard it, coming at you, instead of hearing it as I do, a somber sound of expectations reduced, desires blunted, hopes deferred or abandoned, chances lost, defeats accepted, griefs borne.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“You married me...but you didn't marry what you could make out of me.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“A writer is an organism that will go on writing even after its heart has been cut out.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Faith can reclaim deserts as well as move mountains.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Hope was always out ahead of fact, possibility obscured the outlines of reality.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
tags: hope
“His clock was set on pioneer time. He met trains that had not yet arrived, he waited on platforms that hadn't yet been built, beside tracks that might never be laid.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“What do you mean, 'Angle of Repose?' she asked me when I dreamed we were talking about Grandmother's life, and I said it was the angle at which a man or woman finally lies down. I suppose it is; and yet ... I thought when I began, and still think, that there was another angle in all those years when she was growing old and older and very old, and Grandfather was matching her year for year, a separate line that did not intersect with hers. They were vertical people, they lived by pride, and it is only by the ocular illusion of perspective that they can be said to have met. But he had not been dead two months when she lay down and died too, and that may indicate that at that absolute vanishing point they did intersect. They had intersected for years, for more than he especially would ever admit.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“I know no way of discounting the doctrine that when you take something you want, and damn the consequences, then you had better be ready to accept whatever consequences ensue.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“[I]t is dangerous for a bride to be apologetic about her husband.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“There must be some other possibility than death or lifelong penance ... some meeting, some intersection of lines; and some cowardly, hopeful geometer in my brain tells me it is the angle at which two lines prop each other up, the leaning-together from the vertical which produces the false arch. For lack of a keystone, the false arch may be as much as one can expect in this life. Only the very lucky discover the keystone.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Salt is added to dried rose petals with the perfume and spices, when we store them away in covered jars, the summers of our past.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Before I can say I am, I was. Heraclitus and I, prophets of flux, know that the flux is composed of parts that imitate and repeat each other. Am or was, I am cumulative, too. I am everything I ever was, whatever you and Leah may think. I am much of what my parents and especially my grandparents were -- inherited stature, coloring, brains, bones (that part unfortunate), plus transmitted prejudices, culture, scruples, likings, moralities, and moral errors that I defend as if they were personal and not familial.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“It happens that I despise that locution, "having sex," which describes something a good deal more mechanical than making love and a good deal less fun than fucking.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“It was as if she had thought him into existence again, as if her mind were a flask into which had been poured a measure of longing, a measure of discontent, a measure of fatigue, a dash of bitterness, and pouf, there he stood.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“I find it hard to describe what it is like to look fully into eyes that one has known that well--known better than one knows the look of one's own eyes, actually--and then put away, deliberately forgotten. That instantly reasserted intimacy, that resumption of what looks like friendly concern, is like nakedness, like exposure.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“Satisfying natural desires is fine, but natural desires have a way of being both competitive and consequential.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose
“There is one thing above all others that I despise. It is fingers, especially female fingers, messing around in my guts. My guts, like Victorian marriage, are private.”
Wallace Stegner, Angle of Repose

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