Every man always has handy a dozen glib reasons why he is right not to sacrifice himself. (Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from The Gulag Archipelago)
My granddaughter Andrea wrote a composition for school in which she said that she liked her “grandmother’s imagination.” I asked her what she was referring to, and without hesitation she replied, “You remember things that never happened.” Don’t we all do that? (Isabel Allende, from My Invented Country)
He lay with a pack of panting dogs on a hill overlooking plains where antelope grazed. He marched with ants, and labored in the rigors of the nest, filing eggs. He danced the mating dance of the bower bird, and slept on a warm rock with his lizard kin. He was a cloud. He was the shadow of a cloud. He was the moon that cast the shadow of a cloud. He was a blind fish; he was a shoal; he was a whale; he was the sea. He was the lord of all he surveyed. He was a worm in the dung of a kite. He did not grieve, knowing his life was a day long, or an hour. He did not wonder who made him. He did not wish to be other. He did not pray. He did not hope. He only was, and was, and was, and that was the joy of it. (Clive Barker, from Sacrament)
“Everything bleeds, Pie. Even God. Maybe especially God. Or else why did He hide Himself away?” (Clive Barker, from Imajica)
dearest abbie who told me that in a sick society a symbol will always become a commodity (Tommy Trantino, from Lock the Lock)
“Sometimes I ask myself,” Emmerich said. “What is the function of a murderer? Is he the person you go to in order to confess?” (Don DeLillo, from The Names)
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)
Continue Reading »
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??????
Continue Reading »
For it is the greatest truth of our age: information is not knowledge. (Caleb Carr, from Killing Time)
For Vida, that moment was the beginning of happiness, and in that happiness, like some kind of disease, the beginning of her titanic jealousy, which stayed with her forever and finally drove her to her grave. Because one dies of happiness sooner than of misery. (Milorad Pavić, from Landscape Painted With Tea)
“… 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)
“Do you know what it is to throw a child in the air and catch it on a knife in front of its mother? To be tied to a burning log? To have your ass split with an axe so that you beg the Serbs, beg them, to shoot you in the head and they don’t?
“And they go to their church after. They go to their goddamn church. I have no words …”
Ismail shuddered. “There are things that are beyond evil, that you just can’t speak about.” (Robert Kaplan, from Balkan Ghosts)
“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)