“These are the days after. Everything now is measured by after.”
“You have to break through the structure of your own stonework habit just to make yourself listen.”
“Some people are lucky. They become who they are supposed to be. This did not happen to me until I met (your mother). One day we started to talk and it never stopped, this conversation.”
“There was religion, then there was God. Lianne wanted to disbelieve. Disbelief was the line of travel that led to clarity of thought and purpose. Or was this simply another form of superstition? She wanted to trust in the forces and processes of the natural world, this only, perceptible reality and scientific endeavor, men and women alone on earth. She knew there was no conflict between science and God. Take one with the other. But she didn't want to. There were the scholars and philosophers she'd studied in school, books she'd read at thrilling dispatches, personal, making her shake at times, and there was the sacred art she'd always loved. Doubters created this work, and ardent believers, and those who'd doubted and then believed, and she was free to think about doubt and believe simultaneously. But she didn't want to. God would crowd her, make her weaker. God would be a presence that remained unimaginable. She wanted this only, to snuff out the pulse of the shaky faith she'd held for much of her life.”
“But that's why you built the towers, isn't it? Weren't the towers built as fantasies of wealth and power that would one day become fantasies of destruction? You build a thing like that so you can see it come down. The provocation is clear. What other reason would there be to go so high and then to double it, do it twice? It's a fantasy, so why not do it twice? You are saying, Here it is, bring it down.”
“this was the man who would not submit to her need for probing intimacy, overintimacy, the urge to ask, examine, delve, draw things out, trade secrets, tell everything. it was a need that had the body in it, hands, feet, genitals, scummy odors, clotted dirt, even if it was all talk or sleepy murmur. she wanted to absorb everything, childlike, the dust of stray sensation, whatever she could breathe in from other people's pores. she used to think she was other people. other people have truer lives.”
“She wanted this only, to snuff out the pulse of the shaky faith she'd held for much of her life.”
“She was taking a round of medications, a mystical wheel, the ritualistic design of the hours and days in tablets and capsules, in colors, shapes and numbers.”
“We are not witnessing the flow of information so much as pure spectacle, or information made sacred, ritually unreadable. The small monitors of the office, home and car become a kind of idolatry here, where crowds might gather in astonishment.
“Hysteria at high speeds, day to day, minute to minute. People in free societies don’t have to fear the pathology of the state. We create our own frenzy, our own mass convulsions, driven by thinking machines that we have no final authority over. The frenzy is barely noticeable most of the time. It’s simply how we live.” She finished with a laugh…
THE TRUTH WAS MAPPED IN SLOW AND CERTAIN DECLINE.
He was seeing something elaborately different from what he encountered step by step in the ordinary run of hours. He had to learn how to see it correctly, find a crack in the world where it might fit.”
“He knew time and day of week and wondered when such scraps of data would begin to feel disposable.”
“Every time she saw a videotape of the planes she moved a finger toward the power button on the remote. Then she kept on watching. The second plane coming out of that ice blue sky, this was the footage that entered the body, that seemed to run beneath her skin, the fleeting sprint that carried lives and histories, theirs and hers, everyone's, into some distance, out beyond the towers.”
“I'm not saying we shouldn't grieve. Just, why don't we put it in God's hands? she said. Why haven't we learned this, after all the evidence of all the dead? We're supposed to believe in God but then why don't we obey the laws of God's universe, which teach us how small we are and where we're all going to end up?”
“She was plain except when she laughed. She was someone on the subway. She wore loose skirts and plain shoes and was full-figured and maybe a little clumsy but when she laughed there was a flare in nature, an unfolding of something half hidden and dazzling.”
“What you see is not what wee se. What you see is distracted by memory, by being who you are, all this time, for all these years.”
“He liked to talk about the anatomy of racecars, motorcycles, hunting rifles, how things work, and she liked to listen. It was a mark of the distance between them that she listened so eagerly, the perennial miles, the weeks and months”
“What do children know? They know who they are, she said, in ways we can’t know and they can’t tell us.”
“The windblast sent people to the ground. A thunderhead of smoke and ash came moving toward them. The light drained dead away, bright day gone. They ran and fell and tried to get up, men with toweled heads, a woman blinded by debris, a woman calling someone’s name. The only light was vestigial now, the light of what comes after, carried in the residue of smashed matter, in the ash ruins of what was various and human, hovering in the air above.
He took one step and then the next, smoke blowing over him. He felt rubble underfoot and there was motion everywhere, people running, things flying past. He walked by the Easy Park sign, the Breakfast Special and Three Suits Cheap, and they went running past, losing shoes and money. He saw a woman with her hand in the air, like running to catch a bus.
He went past a line of fire trucks and they stood empty now, headlights flashing. He could not find himself in the things he saw and heard. Two men ran by with a stretcher, someone facedown, smoke seeping out of his hair and clothes. He watched them move into the stunned distance. That’s where everything was, all around him, falling away, street signs, people, things he could not name.
Then he saw a shirt come down out of the sky. He walked and saw it fall, arms waving like nothing in this life.”
“There’s a certain man, an archetype, he’s a model of dependability for his male friends, all the things a friend should be, an ally and confidant, lends money, gives advice, loyal and so on, but sheer hell on women. Living breathing hell. The closer a woman gets, the clearer it becomes to him that she is not one of his male friends. And the more awful it becomes for her. This is Keith. This is the man you’re going to marry.”
“If your child thinks you’re guilty of something, right or wrong, then you’re guilty.”
“I’ll tell you what surprises me.”
“Is it my eyes? Is it my lips?”
“It’s your cat,” he said.
“I don’t have a cat.”
“That’s what surprises me.”
“You think I’m a cat person.”
“I see you with a cat, definitely. There ought to be a cat slipping along the walls.”
“The second plane coming out of that ice blue sky, this was the footage that entered the body, that seemed to run beneath her skin, the fleeting sprint that carried lives and histories, theirs and hers, everyone's, into some other distance, out beyond the towers.”
“The skies she retained in memory were dramas of cloud and sea storm, or the electric sheen before summer thunder in the city, always belonging to the energies of sheer weather, of what was out there, air masses, water vapor, westerlies.”
“Her umbrella was useless in the wind. It was the kind of wind-whipped rain that empties the streets of people and makes day and place feel anonymous.”
“She missed the autumn weekends at somebody's country house, leaf-fall and touch football, kids tumbling down grassy slopes, leaders and followers, all watched by a pair of tall slender dogs poised on their haunches like figures in myth.”
“Sleep was out there somewhere over the curve of the earth.”
“- E depois? Você não fica se perguntando? Não apenas o mês que vem. Os anos.
- Depois não tem nada. Não tem depois. O depois era isso. Oito anos atrás eles puseram uma bomba numa das torres. Ninguém perguntou: e depois? Depois foi isso. A hora de ter medo é quando não tem motivo pra ter medo. Agora é tarde demais.”
“This human understands enough to know when he’s being messed with.”
“face. She glided her fingers over the rough skin where his beard grew, feeling how real he was. Real, and with her in that past.”
“I ain’t drunk,” Wayne said, sniffling. “I’m investigatin’ alternative states of sobriety.”
“mom says where did anxiety come from?
anxiety is the cousin visiting from out of town
depression felt obliged to bring to the party.
mom, i am the party.
only, i am a party i don't want to be at.”
“Success comes as a result of preparing oneself for inspiration, and then being willing to pay attention to it and do what it says. I've learned that before I make big decisions, I must first have a clear picture in mind and on paper of the outcome I am seeking.”
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