Kate DiCamillo · 233 pages
Rating: (31.2K votes)
all of it-
sprinkles, quarks, giant
donuts, eggs sunny-side up-
are the ever-expanding
“I promise to always turn back toward you.”
“Don't we all live in our heads? Where else could we possibly exist? Our brains are the universe.”
“You are the ever-expanding universe to me”
“All words at all times, true or false, whispered or shouted, are clues to the workings of the human heart.”
“So many miracles have not yet happened.”
“Bah, cynics," said Dr. Meescham. "Cynics are people who are afraid to believe.”
“That was the thing about tragedy. It was just sitting there, keeping you company, waiting. And you had absolutely no idea.”
“Pascal," said Dr. Meescham, "had it that since it could not be proven whether God existed, one might as well believe that he did, because there was everything to gain by believing and nothing to lose. This is how it is for me. What do I lose if I choose to believe? Nothing!"
"Take this squirrel, for instance. Ulysses. Do I believe he can type poetry? Sure, I do believe it. There is much more beauty in the world if I believe such a thing is possible.”
“A squirrel flies in," said Dr. Meescham. "This I did not expect at all. It is what I love about life, that things happen which I do not expect. When I was a girl in Blundermeecen, we left the window open for this very reason, even in the winter. We did it because we believed something wonderful might make its way to us through the open window. Did wonderful things find us? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. But tonight it has happened! Something wonderful!" Dr. Meescham clapped her hands. "A window has been left open. A squirrel flies in the window. The heart of an old woman rejoices!”
“Who can say what astonishments are hidden inside the most mundane being?”
“But she couldn't help it. She did hope. She was hoping. She had been hoping all along.”
“I love your round head,
the brilliant green,
the watching blue,
this world, you.
I am very, very hungry.”
“That squid is a villain," said Flora out loud. "He needs to be vanquished. He's eating a boat. And he's going to eat all of the people on the boat."
"Yes, well, loneliness makes us do terrible things," said Dr. Meescham. "And that is why the picture is there, to remind me of this. Also, because the other Dr. Meescham painted it when he was young and joyful."
Good grief, thought Flora. What did he paint when he was old and depressed?”
“The words were good words, Ulysses felt, maybe even great words, but the list was very incomplete. He was just getting started. The words needed to be arranged, fussed with, put in the order of his heart.”
“When the other Dr. Meescham was alive and I could not sleep, do you know what he would do for me? This man would put on his slippers and he would go out into the kitchen and he would fix for me sardines and crackers. You know sardines? Little fishes in a can. He would put these little fishes onto crackers for me, and then I would hear him coming back down the hallway, carrying the sardines and humming, returning to me. Such tenderness. To have someone get out of bed and bring you little fishes and sit with you as you eat them in the dark of the night. To hum to you. This is love.”
“When I was a girl in Blundermeecen we wondered always if we would see each other again. Each day was uncertain. So, to say good-bye to someone was uncertain, too. Would you see them again? Who could say? Blundermeecen was a place of dark secrets, unmarked graves, terrible curses. Trolls were everywhere! So we said good-bye to each other the best way we could. We said: I promise to always turn back toward you.”
“She said the words, and then she had a strange moment of seeing them, hanging there over her head.
"You're going to vacuum up that squirrel!"
There is just no predicting what kind of sentences you might say, thought Flora. For instance, who would ever think you would shout, "You're going to vacuum up that squirrel!"?”
“Flora’s heart, the lonely, many-armed squid of it, flipped and flailed inside her.”
“All things are possible. When I was a girl in Blundermeecen, the miraculous happened every day. Or every other day. Or every third day. Actually, sometimes it did not happen at all, even on the third day. But still, we expected it. You see what I'm saying? Even when it didn't happen, we were expecting it. We knew the miraculous would come.”
“William Spiver said that the universe was expanding…that means there will be more of everything! More cheese puffs, more jelly sandwiches, more words, more poems, more love. And more giant donuts…maybe even gianter donuts. Is gianter a word? It should be.”
“It's not even that I bump into things. It's more that things leap out of nowhere and bump into me”
“He would write and write. He would make wonderful things happen. Some of it would be true. All of it would be true. Most of it would be true.”
“Not much goes on in the mind of a squirrel.
Huge portions of what is loosely termed "the squirrel brain" are given over to one thought: food.
The average squirrel cogitation goes something like this: I wonder what there is to eat.”
“Flora reached out and grabbed hold of William Spiver's hand, and he held on to her. It was as if he were drowning and she were standing on solid ground. According to TERRIBLE THINGS! drowning people were desperate, out of their minds with fear. In their panic they could pull you, the rescuer, under, if you weren't careful. So Flora held on tightly to William Spiver. And he held on tightly back.”
“The Criminal Element spoke often, and passionately, about the nefarious activities that every human being is capable of. Not only did it insist that the human heart was dark beyond all reckoning; it also likened the heart to a river. And further, it said, "If we are not careful, that river can carry us along in its hidden currents of want and anger and need, and transform each of us into the very criminal we fear.”
“What was the apostrophe doing there? Did the doctor own the Meescham? And what was it with exclamation marks? Did people not know what they were for? Surprise, anger, joy—that's what exclamation marks were for. They had nothing to do with who resided where.”
“I am alone in the world, Dolores, and I am homesick for my own kind.”
“And I have some poetry that I would like to recite to you in honor of the recent, um, transformations in your life.” Tootie put a hand on her chest. “This is Rilke,” she said. “‘You, sent out beyond your recall, / go to the limits of your longing. / Embody me. / Flare up like flame / and make big shadows I can move in.”
“The landing stage stood on its high crooked stilts with only one person watching the boat disappear round the bend of the river—a girl of twelve called Ada, the wet-nurse’s eldest child. As”
“Isn’t this exciting? I’m so excited I can hardly STAND IT. That’s why I’m this color, by the way. I have been trying all morning to turn myself something more dignified and I can’t do it; my scales are all like, YAY WE’RE REALLY HERE! and will not listen to me.”
“You think that holding someone hard will bring them closer. You think that you can hold them so hard that you'll still feel them, embossed on you, when you pull away.
Every time Eleanor pulled away from Park, she felt the gasping loss of him.”
“Just once I’d like to save the world at high noon like a cowboy.”
“So if you cannot concentrate one of the following is the cause: 1. "Deficiency of the motor centers." 2. "An impulsive and emotional mind." 3. "An untrained mind." The last fault can soon be removed by systematic practice. It is easiest to correct. The impulsive and emotional state of mind can best be corrected by restraining anger, passion and excitement, hatred, strong impulses, intense emotions, fretfulness, etc. It is impossible to concentrate when you are in any of these excited states. These can be naturally decreased by avoiding such food and drinks as have nerve weakening or stimulating influences, or a tendency to stir up the passions, the impulses and the emotions; it is a very good practice to watch and associate with those persons that are steady, calm, controlled and conservative.”
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