“We met long ago,” said Galip. “When we first met, your legs looked so thin and so delicate that I was afraid they would break. Your skin was rough when you were a kid, but as you got older, after we graduated from middle school, your complexion became rosy and incredibly fine. If they took us to the beach on hot summer days when we went crazy from playing indoors, coming back with ice-cream cones we bought at Tarabya, we would scratch letters with our long nails into the salt on each other’s arms. I loved the fuzz on your skinny arms. I loved the peachy color of your suntanned legs. I loved the way your hair spilled over your face when you reached for something on the shelf above my head.”
“We should have met long ago.”
“I used to love the strap marks left on your shoulders by the bathing suit you borrowed from your mother, the way you absentmindedly tugged at your at your hair when you were nervous, the way you caught between your middle finger and thumb a speck of tobacco left by your filterless cigarette on the tip of your tongue, the way your mouth fell open watching a movie, the way you unwittingly scarfed up the roasted garbanzos and nuts in the dish under your hand while you read a book, the way you kept losing your keys, the way you screwed up your eyes to see because you refused to accept you were nearsighted. When you narrowed your eyes on a distant point and absconded for parts unknown, I understood that you were thinking of something else, and I loved you apprehensively. Oh my God! I loved with fear and trepidation what I couldn’t know of your mind as much as I loved what I did know.” (Orhan Pamuk, from The Black Book)
“I write in blood, and the best truth is a bloody truth.” (Irvin D. Yalom, from When Nietzsche Wept)
The great French revolutionary hero Danton, who will lose his head during the ‘Terror,’ is making a rueful remark. ‘… But Robespierre and the people,’ he observes, ‘are virtuous.’ Danton is on a London stage, not really Danton at all but an actor speaking lines of Georg Büchner in English translation; and the time is not then, but now. I don’t know if the thought originated in French, German, or English, but I do know that it seems astonishingly bleak – because what it means, obviously, is that the people are like Robespierre. Danton may be the hero of the revolution, but he also likes wine, fine clothes, whores; weaknesses which (the audience instantly sees) will enable Robespierre, a good actor in a green coat, to cut him down. When Danton is sent to visit the widow, old Madame Guillotine with her basket of heads, we know it isn’t really on account of any real or trumped-up political crimes. He gets the chop (miraculously staged) because he is too fond of pleasure. Epicureanism is subversive. The people are like Robespierre. They distrust fun. (Salman Rushdie, from Shame)
“It’s like blue light when you touch me,” she’d say. “Electric blue light sparking between us.” She’d cry softly into my shoulder, tears of passion, because she couldn’t get close enough to me. (W. P. Kinsella, from The Iowa Baseball Confederacy)
Here are links to all the Comics You Should Own essays I have written so far. Plus, I’ve added some explanation. Enjoy!
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While we wait for chocolate malteds I notice a high-schooler sitting at the counter exchanging looks with the girl next to him. She’s gorgeous, and I’m not the only other one who notices it. The girl behind the counter waiting on them is also watching with an anger she thinks no one else sees. Some kind of triangle. We keep passing unseen through little moments of other people’s lives. (Robert M. Pirsig, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
Actually, his statement in its entirety was, “The rich are the most discriminated-against minority in the world. Openly or covertly, everybody hates the rich because, openly or covertly, everybody envies the rich. Me, I love the rich. Somebody has to love them. Sure, a lot o’ rich people are assholes, but believe me, a lot o’ poor people are assholes, too, and an asshole with money can at least pay for his own drinks.” (Tom Robbins, from Jitterbug Perfume)
“That’s why opera is important, Baron. Because it’s realer than any play! A dramatic poet would have to put all those thoughts down one after another to represent this second of time. The composer can put them all down at once – and still make us hear each one of them. Astonishing device: a Vocal Quartet! … I tell you I want to write a finale lasting half an hour! A quartet becoming a quintet becoming a sextet. On and on, wider and wider – all sounds multiplying and rising together – and the together making a sound entirely new! … I bet you that’s how God hears the world. Millions of sounds ascending at once and mixing in His ear to become an unending music, unimaginable to us! That’s our job! That’s our job, we composers: to combine the inner minds of him and him and him, and her and her – the thoughts of chambermaids and Court Composers – and turn the audience into God.” (Peter Shaffer, from “Amadeus”)
“It took me some time to figure out that love is in the details. It’s in the books and records and the stereo and the convertible. Love is always in the details. And that’s where the pain is too.” (John Crowley, from Aegypt)
The thousands stand and chant. Around them in the world, people ride escalators going up and sneak secret glances at the faces going down. People dangle teabags over hot water in white cups. Cars run silently on the autobahns, streaks of painted light. People sit at desks and stare at office walls. They smell their shirts and drop them in the hamper. People bind themselves into numbered seats and fly across time zones and high cirrus and deep night, knowing there is something they’ve forgotten to do.
The future belongs to crowds. (Don DeLillo, from Mao II)
One need only admit that public tranquility is in danger and any action finds a justification. (Leo Tolstoy, from War and Peace)
Turkish influence would have been better for Georgia than Russian influence, because Atatürk took a backward Turkey and made it modern, while Lenin and Stalin took a directionless Russia and made it backward. (Robert Kaplan, from Eastward to Tartary)
They tax our policy, and call it cowardice,
Count wisdom as no member of the war.
Forestall prescience, and esteem no act
But that of hand. The still and mental parts,
That do contrive how many hands shall strike
When fitness calls them on, and know by measure
Of their observant toil the enemies’ weight –
Why, this hath not a finger’s dignity.
“We want to find a funny, upbeat way of bringing the issue of homelessness to TV. So we’ve got three wacky homeless characters. But they’re wise. They’re wacky and wise.”
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