There is not much importance in giving an award of importance to someone of no importance. (Joseph Heller, from Picture This)
At this point one may note that men must be either pampered or annihilated. (Niccolo Machiavelli, from The Prince)
“And the good thing about feeling really happy, you know, Valentin? … It’s that you think it’s forever, that one’s never ever going to feel unhappy again.” (Manuel Puig, from Kiss of the Spider Woman)
Aliye’s death, and its echoes, had been stilled by the greater horror of this mother’s death, which burned inside him like a smothered coal in the silence there. But Aliye had started dying from the moment his mother told him that they were not to marry, in spite of the bey’s gracious visit, in spite of the fine carpet, in spite of the words he has whispered to Aliye and which he had thought were true words. He knew then how it must end for her, though his mother said it would be otherwise. He wished that there were one fixed thing in the world that would never change, or disappoint him, or leave him, but he did not know what that might be, unless it was the idea of God, which was a certitude without delight or consolation. (Starling Lawrence, from Montenegro)
People aren’t supposed to look back. I’m certainly not going to do it any more.
I’ve finished my war book now. The next one I write is going to be fun.
This one is a failure, and had to be, since it was written by a pillar of salt. (Kurt Vonnegut, from Slaughterhouse-5)
“I need to know secrets and have secrets and keep secrets. I need to be confided in. Each time you come alone and you don’t tell anybody, that’s a sexual secret. The event has taken place and only you know about it and you have ministered to yourself in exactly the way you wanted to and thought of exactly what you wanted to think about. And each of these thousands of times you have come alone constitutes a perfectly unique moment, with precisely this order of images and that fold of yourself being moved by your middle finger in just that way and that biting of lower lip with exactly that degree of force, all entirely private.” (Nicholson Baker, from Vox)
For, if one can ask and receive eternity from God, then we can take the opposite of eternity – time – only from Satan … (Milorad Pavić, from Dictionary of the Khazars)
It is demonstrably plain that, were the whole matter of victualling the world on a non-national footing taken right out of the hands of the strutting male and handed over to a dozen sensible women who do not want to have their children killed, politics, which are nothing but a glorified form of housekeeping, would long since have been deflated to the problem of running a canteen. (William Gerhardie, from God’s Fifth Column)
“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 so I stood perfectly still with folded arms, allowing my eyes to receive the tracery of apian flight, so like curling silver strings in the air. White butterflies, faint as powder on a mirror, yet imbued with the mysterious force of life, hovered and flitted, half-powered by their own efforts and half-carried by the breeze. That all these creatures, and all these plants and dirt and blossoms, from the earthworms to the dung beetles, to the rhododendrons, catnip, delphinium, clematis, lupine, campanula, and bearded iris should all come together here in this spot to create this wondrous place seemed a fact beyond all possibility of mere formality, betokening some kind of marvelous presence having the sense of an artist and the mechanical persistence of an inventor. (Steve Szilagyi, from Photographing Fairies)
“There were little white puffs of clouds all across it, like a cat stepped in milk and then walked across the blue. I thought it was so beautiful I told Dmetro about it. He just stared at me. ‘I ain’t looked at the sky in ten years,’ he said.” (W. P. Kinsella, from The Iowa Baseball Confederacy)
Despair and idleness are, I think, the chief motives for religious devotion. When we have nothing on earth to do or hope for we gaze at the sky. We kiss the holy ikons because we have nothing better to kiss. (Lawrence Durrell, from Pope Joan)
He had built empires of scientific capability to manipulate the phenomena of nature into enormous manifestations of his own dreams of power and wealth – but for this he had exchanged an empire of understanding of equal magnitude: an understanding of what it is to be a part of the world, and not an enemy of it. (Robert M. Pirsig, from Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance)
“… All idealization makes life poorer. To beautify it is to take away its character of complexity — it is to destroy it.” (Joseph Conrad, from The Secret Agent)