“Everything ends, and Everything matters.
Everything matters not in spite of the end of you and all that you love, but because of it. Everything is all you’ve got…and after Everything is nothing. So you were wise to welcome Everything, the good and the bad alike, and cling to it all. Gather it in. Seek the meaning in sorrow and don’t ever turn away, not once, from here until the end. Because it is all the same, it is all unfathomable, and it is all infinitely preferable to the one dreadful alternative.”
“And knowing that the only alternative to your grief is the nothingness that’s fast approaching, you try to embrace your own sorrow, to be open and empty and let it all pass through you. This is the key, you have learned – to relinquish control, to relinquish the desire for control. Even in this late drama, to try to control is to go mad. And so you do your best to let it all go.”
“You wish they understood, as you do, that there is no escape and never was, that from the moment two cells combined to become one they were doomed. You wish they understood that there is joy in this fact, greater joy and love in just this one last moment than they experienced in the entirety of their lives. Because even in this last moment there is still Everything, whole galaxies and eons, the sum total of every experience across time, shrunk to the head of a pin, theirs for the asking, right here, right now. And so anything, anything, anything is possible.”
“Your relationship with your brother will be, in many ways, the most complex and bewildering of all the interpersonal connections you will form. An older brother is both authority and peer, friend and bitter enemy, partner and rival, and will play these contradictory roles to varying degrees throughout your life. At this point the rivalry is most prominent, owing to the difference in age and the resentment your brother feels toward you monopolizing your mother's attention. Try to remember, in the face of the poor treatment you receive at his hands, that more than a pure desire to cause you harm or pain, this is an effort on his part to win back some of that attention, even if it's only through being scolded and punished.”
“Love, in its purest form, is biology.”
“Your life has more blue in it than a James Cameron movie.”
“...no one likes change unless it is from sommething bad to something good...”
“All of which raises the question – your task, burden, privilege, call it what you like – a question which men and women, great and not-so of every color, creed and sexual persuasion have asked since they first had the language to do so, and probably before: Does Anything I Do Matter?”
“Our hearts may have broken in Nebraska but in Colorado they split open along the fractures, crumble to pieces, blow away. The peaks and green valleys, the lakes set at the foot of mountains like offerings. Beautiful and doomed and thus terrible.”
“The urge to move is natural and understandable. As will be the case throughout your life, no matter how long or brief, the choice is, in the end, yours. Simply bear in mind that most every choice will have consequences, and in this instance those consequences would likely be quite grave.”
“Partying means drinking. It also means playing records by Lou Reed and Chicago, which I thought was a city but is also a band it turns out.”
“You could not be more correct. It does matter. All of it.”
“It sounds stupid, but being angry all the time is making me angry.”
“At the bakery it's just me. It's a small place. Just me and the raspberry horns and the tourtiere pies and my cigarette going in the ashtray near the black sink. Every once in a while a car passes through the dark street outside the storefont windows, but that's pretty much all I see of people while I'm there, until the end of my shift at eight when Monica shows up to open the store for the day. A solid twelve hours by myself, nothing but the radio to keep me company, and I like it just fine, being alone. It's even better in the winter, during a storm, when the snow piles up outside and no cars come by at all. Inside the bakery it's warm and there's plenty to keep my hands busy. Times like that, for all I can tell I'm the only person left on earth. I could go on making pies and watching the snow pile up until the end of time, so long as there was enough coffee on hand. I don't need company like some people seem to.”
“In no time we roll into Sedona proper and find a Cirlce K. The place is full of men with silver ponytails and ratty sandals, old hippie women in loose flowing pants grinning vacantly as they molest the produce, and I am reminded of my old neighborhood in San Francisco. We buy enough fruit and bread and jerked meat for three days, as well as a couple spare handlers of SoCo and a big bottle of cheap Chianti for me. As I'm paying I wonder at how we cling so relentlessly to the little conventions like commerce, as though they can save us.”
“Over the years Amy’s family has become a cascade of domestic abuse: her father beat on her brother, who grew big and furious and beat on her mother, who had no one but Amy to vent her anger on. Based on this pattern, you’d think that if there were someone in the family after Amy, that someone would do well to take karate classes, or hit the weights.”
“instead of venting my anger, which is really just hurt dressed up for a night on the town, I ask if anyone needs a drink.”
“no matter how long you live, no matter how mature or philosophical you may grow to be, almost all sudden enlightenment will feel precisely this way, like a boot in the stomach, like acid on your tongue, and the sooner you accept this the better off you’ll be.”
“...I'm not compromised by the ravages of adult recreation...”
“Everything matters not in spite of the end of you and all that you love, but because of it. Everything is all you’ve got—your wife’s lips, your daughter’s eyes, your brother’s heart, your father’s bones and your own grief—and after Everything is nothing. So you were wise to welcome Everything, the good and the bad alike, and cling to it all. Gather it in. Seek the meaning in sorrow and don’t ever ever turn away, not once, from here until the end. Because it is all the same, it is all unfathomable, and it is all infinitely preferable to the one dreadful alternative.”
“Nine lies on his back, groaning. His chest is shredded from where Eight slashed him, he’s got a fresh black eye, and I think I notice a trickle of blood from where I struck him with his staff. Suddenly, his groans turn to laughter.
“That was awesome!” Nine hollers.”
“The personal, as every one’s so fucking fond of saying, is political. So if some idiot politician, some power player, tries to execute policies that harm you or those you care about, TAKE IT PERSONALLY. Get angry. The Machinery of Justice will not serve you here—it is slow and cold, and it is theirs, hardware and soft. Only the little people suffer at the hands of Justice; the creatures of power slide out from under with a wink and a grin. If you want justice, you will have to claw it from them. Make it PERSONAL. Do as much damage as you can. GET YOUR MESSAGE ACROSS. That way you stand a far better chance of being taken seriously next time. Of being considered dangerous. And make no mistake about this: being taken seriously, being considered dangerous marks the difference, the ONLY difference in their eyes, between players and little people. Players they will make deals with. Little people they liquidate. And time and again they cream your liquidation, your displacement, your torture and brutal execution with the ultimate insult that it’s just business, it’s politics, it’s the way of the world, it’s a tough life and that IT’S NOTHING PERSONAL. Well, fuck them. Make it personal.
Things I Should Have Learnt by Now
“Samuel Beckett once said, "Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness."
...On the other hand, he SAID it.”
“I was not staring at you,” he told his plate.
I leaned over. “Did you hear that, Dingane’s lunch? He was not staring at you.”
He looked up at me crossly. “I was not staring at you.”
“I never said you were.”
“I was merely explaining that Henry was exaggerating. I did not stare at you.”
“Okay,” I stated, implying in my tone that he had done just that.
“I didn’t. I-I wasn’t.”
“I believe you,” I told him
“I may have looked at you a few times to make sure you were doing your job.”
“Oh, I see then.”
“But I certainly wasn’t staring.”
“We’ve established that you were not staring.”
He breathed deeply a few times, his eyes burning into mine. “Good.”
He’d definitely been staring.”
“And his eyes are worst of all. Her eyes, Elara's eyes. Once I thought them cold, made of living ice. Now I know better. The hottest fires burn blue, and his eyes are no exception.”
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