For them it might stave off what he could not help but see with clarity: that the world was silent and cold and bare and that in this lay its terrible beauty. (David Guterson, from Snow Falling on Cedars)
People often die in the night, devoured by their own nightmares. (Greg Bear, from “Petra”)
And Savinkov remembered that Kaliayev had once said to him, “Everything is beautiful. The stars and clouds and flowers and people and — death is beautiful, too.” (Otto Friedrich, from The End of the World)
“Cities, like dreams, are made of desires and fears, even if the thread of their discourse is secret, their rules absurd, their perspectives deceitful, and everything conceals something else.” (Italo Calvino, from Invisible Cities)
And I fervently believe that there will come a time when no one will be burned and no one beheaded; when the criminal will plead for death as a mercy and deliverance and death will be denied him, for life will serve as his punishment just as death does today; when there will be no senseless uniforms and rituals, no contracts and conditions binding feeling, no duties and responsibilities, and will shall yield to love alone, not to will; when there will be no husbands and wives, only lovers … (Vissarion Belinsky, from Letters to V. P. Botkin, 1840-1841)
“Nevetheless, you’ll have to reconcile yourself to the fact that I am,” retorted Woland with a twisted smile. “No sooner do you appear on the roof than you blab nonsense, and I’ll tell you what it is – it’s in your intonation. You pronounced your words as if you refuse to acknowledge the existence of either shadows or evil. But would you kindly ponder this question: What would your good do if evil didn’t exist, and what would the earth look like if all the shadows disappeared? After all, shadows are cast by things and people. Here is the shadow of my sword. But shadows also come from trees and from living things. Do you want to strip the earth of all trees and living things just because of your fantasy of enjoying naked light? You’re stupid.” (Mikhail Bulgakov, from The Master and Margarita)
Later, over cigarettes and coffee, Perry returned to the subject of thievery. “My friend Willie-Jay used to talk about it. He used to say that all crimes were only varieties of theft. Murder included. When you kill a man you steal his life. I guess that makes me a pretty big thief. See, Don – I did kill them. Down there in court, old Dewey made it sound like I was prevaricating – on account of Dick’s mother. Well, I wasn’t. Dick helped me, he held the flashlight and picked up the shells. And it was his idea, too. But Dick didn’t shoot them, he never could’ve – though he’s damn quick when it comes to running down an old dog. I wonder why I did it.” He scowled, as though the problem was new to him, a newly unearthed stone of surprising, unclassified color. “I don’t know why,” he said, as if holding it to the light, and angling it now here, now there. “I was sore at Dick. The tough brass boy. But it wasn’t Dick. Or the fear of being identified. I was willing to take that gamble. And it wasn’t because of anything the Clutters did. They never hurt me. Like other people. Like people have all my life. Maybe it’s just that the Clutters were the ones who had to pay for it.” (Truman Capote, from In Cold Blood)
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Hey, look at that! I’m back in Arizona and I picked up almost two months’ worth of comics! Yeah, I’m not going to review them properly here – that would take waaaaaaaay too long. This is more of a “What I bought and the random thoughts I have about the issues and, why not, what I did in Pennsylvania for seven-and-a-half weeks.” Can you handle that??????
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“… No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the lifesensation of any given epoch of one’s existence – that which makes its truth, its meaning – its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream – alone …” (Joseph Conrad, from Heart of Darkness)
There was no hope for an empire that lost the will to prosecute the grand and awful business of adventure. (Michael Chabon, from Gentlemen of the Road)
“I have told my sons that they are not under any circumstances to take part in massacres, and that the news of massacres of enemies is not to fill them with satisfaction or glee.
“I have also told them not to work for companies which make massacre machinery, and to express contempt for people who think we need machinery like that.” (Kurt Vonnegut, from Slaughterhouse-5)
“You see,” Lardner said at the long bar of the Artist and Writers Restaurant, “Duke thought if his dream came true he would be a different person. He’s not unhappy about the dream. He’s unhappy that he is still the same man. Happens to a lot of us. We get somewhere we wanted and find we’re still ourselves.” (Roger Kahn, from The Boys of Summer)
Last week, on my last day in London visiting the house I grew up in, I decided to tackle my comic book collection. This is a pretty sparse little pile of boxes, taking up some space in my dad’s office. I really wasn’t sure what state they’d be in, or how I’d be able to find them (my dad’s way of storing things is… interesting to say the least), but I was pretty determined. After a day of moving the things that were in front of and on top of the boxes (it turned out he’d put boards on top of them and made them a table to hold a tv and other assorted detritus), we managed to unearth a rather neat little time capsule spanning my comic book collecting years of 1981-1995. Continue Reading »