Speedboat Quotes

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Speedboat Speedboat by Renata Adler
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Speedboat Quotes Showing 1-30 of 69
“I think when you are truly stuck, when you have stood still in the same spot for too long, you throw a grenade in exactly the spot you were standing in, and jump, and pray. It is the momentum of last resort.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“That 'writers write' is meant to be self-evident. People like to say it. I find it is hardly ever true. Writers drink. Writers rant. Writers phone. Writers sleep. I have met very few writers who write at all.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“And then there were the wallflowers who had recognized for years that the thing was hopeless, who had found in that information a kind of calm. They no longer tried, with a bright and desperate effort, to sustain a conversation with somebody's brother, somebody's usher, somebody's roommate, somebody's roommate's usher's brother... The category of wallflower who had given up on all this was very quiet, not indifferent, only quiet. And she always brought a book.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Hardly anyone about whom I deeply care at all resembles anyone else I have ever met, or heard of, or read about in literature.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Self-pity” is just sadness, I think, in the pejorative.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Being neurotic seemed to be a kind of wild card, an all-purpose explanation.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“What is the point. That is what must be borne in mind. Sometimes the point is really who wants what. Sometimes the point is what is right or kind. Sometimes the point is a momentum, a fact, a quality, a voice, an imitation, a thing that is said or unsaid. Sometimes it's who's at fault, or what will happen if you do not move at once. The point changes and goes out. You cannot be forever watching for the point, or you lose the simplest thing: being a major character in your own life. But if you are, for any length of time, custodian of the point-- in art, in court, in politics, in lives, in rooms-- it turns out there are rear-guard actions everywhere. To see a thing clearly, and when your vision of it dims, or when it goes to someone else, if you have a gentle nature, keep your silence, that is lovely. Otherwise, now and then, a small foray is worthwhile. Just so that being always, complacently, thoroughly wrong does not become the safest position of them all. The point has never quite been entrusted to me.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“People who are less happy, I find, are always consoling those who are more.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Speech, tennis, music, skiing, manners, love- you try them waking and perhaps balk at the jump, and then you're over. You've caught the rhythm of them once and for all, in your sleep at night. The city, of course, can wreck it. So much insomnia. So many rhythms collide. The salesgirl, the landlord, the guests, the bystanders, sixteen varieties of social circumstance in a day. Everyone has the power to call your whole life into question here. Too many people have access to your state of mind. Some people are indifferent to dislike, even relish it. Hardly anyone I know.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The whole magic of a plot requires that somebody be impeded from getting something over with.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
tags: plot
“Do you realize how angry you sound?” must be one of the most infuriating questions in the language.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“I love the laconic. Clearly, I am not of their number.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“…They used the fail-safe method for undergraduate work at any solid institution: take two utterly unrelated things or matters and show that they are, if not in fact identical, actually related in the most profound and subtle sense.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The girls were always running out of money, out of cash, precisely, to pay taxi drivers, train conductors, men who delivered pizzas after dark. They borrowed cash, normally, upon arrival. They borrowed passions—Wallace Stevens, Joseph Conrad, Mozart, hiking, the Bible—from each other, as girls of another generation borrowed clothes.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Guts,” never much of a word outside the hunting season, was a favorite noun in literary prose. People were said to have or to lack them, to perceive beauty and make moral distinctions in no other place. “Gut-busting” and “gut-wrenching” were accolades. “Nerve-shattering,” “eye-popping,” “bone-crunching”—the responsive critic was a crushed, impaled, electrocuted man. “Searing” was lukewarm. Anything merely spraining or tooth-extracting would have been only a minor masterpiece. “Literally,” in every single case, meant figuratively; that is, not literally. This film will literally grab you by the throat. This book will literally knock you out of your chair…

Sometimes the assault mode took the form of peremptory orders. See it. Read it. Go at once…Many sentences carried with them their own congratulations, Suffice it to say…or, The only word for it is…Whether it really sufficed to say, or whether there was, in fact, another word, the sentence, bowing and applauding to itself, ignored…There existed also an economical device, the inverted-comma sneer—the “plot,” or his “work,” or even “brave.” A word in quotation marks carried a somehow unarguable derision, like “so-called” or “alleged…”

“He has suffered enough” meant if we investigate this matter any further, it will turn out our friends are in it, too…

Murders, generally, were called brutal and senseless slayings, to distinguish them from all other murders; nouns thus became glued to adjectives, in series, which gave an appearance of shoring them up…

Intelligent people, caught at anything, denied it. Faced with evidence of having denied it falsely, people said they had not done it and had not lied about it, and didn’t remember it, but if they had done it or lied about it, they would have done it and misspoken themselves about it in an interest so much higher as to alter the nature of doing and lying altogether. It was in the interest of absolutely nobody to get to the bottom of anything whatever. People were no longer “caught” in the old sense on which most people could agree. Induction, detection, the very thrillers everyone was reading were obsolete. The jig was never up. In every city, at the same time, therapists earned their living by saying, “You’re being too hard on yourself.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The second rat, of course, may have been the first rat farther uptown, in which case I am either being followed or the rat keeps the same rounds and hours I do. I think sanity, however, is the most profound moral option of our time. Two rats, then.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“My capacity for having a good time exists. It surfaces, however, on odd occasions.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The radical intelligence in the moderate position is the only place where the center holds. Or so it seems.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“I took a little celebrational nap.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“My dislike has no consequences. It accrues only in my mind—like preserves on a shelf or guns zeroing in, and never firing.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
tags: hatred
“Every love story,every commercial trade, every secret, every matter in which trust is involved, is a gentle transaction of hostages. Everything is, to a degree, in the custody of every other thing. Blackmail, kidnapping, then, are among the extreme violations of the deal. Anyway, I seem to be about to have Jim's child; at least, I think I will, and the thing is I haven't mentioned it to Jim.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Many people, particularly children, have had poison ivy very often, very badly. They speak of it. They do not forget it. But there is an outer limit, a kind that passes any question of degree. Those who have utterly had it instantly recognize each other—like the Jews and homosexuals in Proust. It has no dignity whatever. There are no poison-ivy heroes…

There are other such cabals, reverse elites of outer limit, junkies, sufferers from migraines, the truly seasick, soldiers’ fear in wartime, certain cramps.Many people suffer from cramps severely, turn quite silent, green, and shaky. Someone offers them a glass of gin. But there are cramps of an entirely other order, when even hardened doctors—knowing it is not important, only temporary, just a matter of hours—reach for the Demerol and the needle. It must be so in each lonely degrading thing from which one comes back having learned nothing whatever. There are no conclusions to be drawn from it. Lonely people see double entendres everywhere.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The salesgirl, the landlord, the guests, the bystanders, sixteen varieties of social circumstance in a day. Everyone has the power to call your whole life into question here. Too many people have access to your state of mind. Some people are indifferent to dislike, even relish it. Hardly anyone I know.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“…a kind of Calvinist in reverse; that is, he was uncompromisingly bohemian”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The style of flirtation specific to classrooms was of service to the students all their lives.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“In almost every thriller, a point is reached when someone, usually calling from a phone booth, telephones with a vital piece of information, which he cannot divulge by phone. By the time the hero arrives at the place where they had arranged to meet, the caller is dead, or too near death to tell. There is never an explanation for the reluctance of the caller to impart his message in the first place. Certainly, the convention existed well before the age of the tape recorder and the wiretap. Not on the phone, in a spy or mystery story, has always been, in and of itself, sufficient to hold up the resolution of the case for a long, long time.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The dishes that were meant to be hot were never quite as warm as those that were meant to be chilled.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The score," the megaphone on the ferry around Manhattan said, from time to time, without further explanation, "is one to nothing." to the foreigners, unaware perhaps that a World Series was in progress, this may have seemed an obscure instruction, or a commentary on the sights. "In the top of the fifth," it said, with some excitement, as we rounded Wall Street, "the score is five to one.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“The pressures were wrong. There was just enough money and not enough time.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat
“Late-sleeping Utopians, especially, persist like mercury. I am a fanatic myself, although not a woman of temperament. I get nervous at scenes. I stole a washcloth once from a motel in Angkor Wat. The bellboy was incensed. I had to give it back. To promote the general welfare and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity—I believe all that. I go to parties almost whenever I am asked. I think a high tone of moral indignation, used too often, is an ugly thing. I get up at eight. Quite often now I have a drink before eleven. In some ways, I have overshot my mark in life in spades.”
Renata Adler, Speedboat

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