He runs to the car, taking his chance and knowing that he will at last be taken, and seeing already as he drives away from the Pavilion, the sad little office where the police clank in and out and the typewriter ticks out his unnerving statement….He sees already the gleaming buttons of the policemen’s uniforms, hears the cold and the confiding, the hot and the barking voices, sees already the holsters and epaulets and all those trappings devised to protect them from the indecent exposure of fear and pity, pity and fear.
last lines of The Driver’s Seat, Muriel Spark
from “Villette,” Charlotte Brontë
"Happiness is the cure—a cheerful mind the preventive: cultivate both."
No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise.
"Cultivate happiness!" I said briefly to the doctor: "do you cultivate happiness? How do you manage?”
I am an intellectual but at the same time I am not very clever.
Essentially all this is crude and meaningless, and romantic love appears as meaningless as an avalanche which involuntarily rolls down a mountain and overwhelms people. But when one listens to music, all this is: that some people lie in their graves and sleep, and that one woman is alive—gray-haired, she is sitting in a box in the theatre, quiet and majestic, and the avalanche seems no longer meaningless, since in nature everything has a meaning. And everything is forgiven, and it would be strange not to forgive.
- Anton Chekhov, Notebooks
You liked a Greek folk poem, which you said originated in the deep tradition of native Greek surrealism, and in which kisses turn lips red, and when the lips are wiped on a handkerchief the handkerchief turns red, and the handkerchief when washed in a river turns the river red, and the river running into the sea turns the sea red, and an eagle drinking red water becomes red, and the sun and the moon become red.
David Plante, The Pure Lover: A Memoir of Grief
About all I could think of were those two nuns that went around collecting dough in those beat-up old straw baskets
"You don’t like anything that’s happening."
It made me even more depressed when she said that.
"Yes I do. Yes I do. Sure I do. Don’t say that. Why the hell do you say that?"
"Because you don’t. You don’t like any schools. You don’t like a million things. You don’t.”
"I do! That’s where you’re wrong—that’s exactly where you’re wrong! Why the hell do you have to say that?" I said. Boy, was she depressing me.
"Because you don’t," she said. "Name one thing."
"One thing? One thing I like?" I said. "Okay."
The trouble was, I couldn’t concentrate too hot. Sometimes it’s hard to concentrate.
"One thing I like a lot you mean?" I asked her.
….”You can’t even think of one thing.”
"Yes, I can. Yes, I can."
"Well, do it, then."
"I like Allie," I said. "And I like doing what I’m doing right now. Sitting here with you, and talking, and thinking about stuff, and—"
"Allie’s dead—You always say that! If somebody’s dead and everything, and in Heaven, then it isn’t really—"
"I know he’s dead! Don’t you think I know that? I can still like him, though, can’t I? Just because somebody’s dead, you don’t just stop liking them, for God’s sake—especially if they were about a thousand times nicer than the people you know that’re alive and all."
Old Phoebe didn’t say anything. When she can’t think of anything to say, she doesn’t say a goddam word.
"Anyway, I like it now," I said. "I mean right now. Sitting here with you and just chewing the fat and horsing—"
"That isn’t anything really!"
"It is so something really! Certainly it is! Why the hell isn’t it? People never think anything is anything really. I’m getting goddam sick of it,"
With every day, and from both sides of my intelligence, the moral and the intellectual, I thus drew steadily nearer to that truth by whose partial discovery I have been doomed to such a dreadful shipwreck: that man is not truly one, but truly two. I say two, because the state of my own knowledge does not pass beyond that point. Others will follow, others will outstrip me on the same lines; and I hazard the guess that man will be ultimately known for a mere polity of multifarious, incongruous and independent denizens.
Robert Louis Stevenson, Dr Jekyll & Mr. Hyde
The Germans believed his name was related to Lohe, Loge, Logi, flame and fire. He was also known as Loptr, the god of the air. Later Christian writers amalgamated him with Lucifer, Lukifer, the light-bearer, the fallen Son of the Morning, the adversary. He was beautiful, that was always affirmed, but his beauty was hard to fix or to see, for he was always glimmering, flickering, melting, mixing, he was the shape of a shapeless flame, he was the eddying thread of needle-shapes in the shapeless mass of the waterfall. He was the invisible wind that hurried the clouds in billows and ribbons. You could see a bare tree on the skyline bent by the wind, holding up twisted branches and bent twigs, and suddenly its formless form would resolve itself into that of the trickster.
reblogged from cryingneedforthat
-AS Byatt, Ragnarok: The End of the Gods, “Homo Homini Lupus Est” (via princessmeanypants)
OMG J If you haven’t read that (I forget if you did!) you need to do so IMMEDIATELY, it was fucking awesome. Loki and Jörmungandr in particular.