“The plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don't need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity. You just have to love someone.”
“You don't ask people with knives in their stomachs what would make them happy; happiness is no longer the point. It's all about survival; it's all about whether you pull the knife out and bleed to death or keep it in...”
“It seems to me now that the plain state of being human is dramatic enough for anyone; you don't need to be a heroin addict or a performance poet to experience extremity. You just have to love someone.”
“Love, it turns out, is as undemocratic as money, so it accumulates around people who have plenty of it already: the sane, the healthy, the lovable.”
“I don't believe in Heaven or anything. But I want to be the kind of person that qualifies for entry anyway.”
“That is another chamber of my heart that shows no electrical activity - the chamber that used to flicker into life when I saw a film that moved me, or read a book that inspired me, or listened to music that made me want to cry. I closed that chamber myself, for all the usual reasons. And now I seem to have made a pact with some philistine devil: if I don't attempt to re-open it, I will be allowed just enough energy and optimism to get through a working day without wanting to hang myself.”
“I'm human. That's how humans spend their time, doing shitty things.”
“It is the act of reading itself that I miss, the opportunity to retreat further and further from the world until I have found some space, some air that isn't stale, that hasn't been breathed by my family a thousand times already.”
“So now what? What happens when words fail us?”
“Do you ever do that thing where you lie in bed and you can't sleep so you end up writing out recent conversation you've had? So they look like a play?'
Well you should. It's fun. I keep them. Look through them, sometimes.”
“Phone calls like ours only happen when you've spent several years hurting and being hurt, until every work you utter or hear becomes coded and loaded, as complicated and full of subtext as a bleak and brilliant play.”
“It's love this and love that but of couse it's so easy to love someone you don't know, whether it's George Clooney or Monkey. Staying civil to someone with whom you've ever shared Christmas turkey- now there's a miracle.”
“It takes a child to say the unsayable.”
“He has the personality of a child prodigy, but no discernable talent.”
“I burst into tears and I cry and cry until it feels as though it is not salt and water being squeezed from my eyes, but blood.”
“I've developed contours for his elbows and knees and bum, and nobody else quite fits into me in quite the same way”
“What you don't catch a glimpse of on your wedding day- because how could you?- is that some days you will hate your spouse, that you will look at him and regret ever exhchanging a word with him, let alone a ring and bodily fluids.”
“I'd thought I'd live with my wife, but I couldn't find one.”
“You'd think that even a bad doctor on a bad day would feel better than a good drug dealer on a good day, but I suspect that this might not be true. I suspect that drug dealers have days when everything clicks, and it's all buzz buzz buzz, and they chalk off their jobs one by one, and they return home with a sense of accomplishment.”
“Cynicism is our shared common language, the Esperanto that actually caught on, and though I'm not fluent in it - I like too many things, and I'm not envious of enough people - I know enough to get by.”
“The point is not that my life is one long golden summer which I am simply too self-absorbed to appreciate (although it might be, of course, and I am simply too self-absorbed to appreciate it), but that happy moments are possible, and while happy moments are possible I have no right to demand anything more for myself, given the havoc that would be wrought.”
“It was as if I were powerless to resist the temptation; my senses were overcome. I could hear the emptiness, and taste the silence, and smell the solitude, and I wanted it more than I have ever wanted anything before.”
“I work it out. It is the act of reading itself I miss, the opportunity to retreat further and further from the wold until I have found some space, some air that isn't stale, that hasn't been breathed by my family a thousand times already.”
“You see, what I really want, and what I'm getting with Stephen, is the opportunity to rebuild myself from scratch. David's picture of me is complete now, and I'm pretty sure neither of us likes it much; I want to rip the page out and start again on a fresh sheet, just like I used to do when I was a kid and had messed a drawing up. It doesn't even matter who the fresh sheet is, really, so its beside the point whether I like Stephen, or whether he knows what to do with me in bed, or anything like that. I just want his rapt attention when I tell him that my favorite book is Middlemarch, and i just want that feeling, the feeling I get with him, of having not gone wrong yet”
“I can live this life. I can. I can. It's a spark I want to cherish, a splutter of life in the flat battery; but just at the wrong moment I catch a glimpse at the night sky..., and I can see that there's nothing out there at all.”
“I'm still not a very good white wine, but I'm drinkable - you could put me in a punch, anyway.”
“When I look at my sins (and if I think they’re sins, then they are sins), I can see the appeal of born-again Christianity. I suspect that it’s not the Christianity that is so alluring; it’s the rebirth. Because who wouldn’t wish to start all over again?”
“An ideal world in my own home... I'm not yet sure why the prospect appalls me quite so much, but I do know somewhere in me that (he) is wrong, that a life without hatred is no life at all, that my children should be allowed to despise whom they like. Now there's a right worth fighting for...”
“The difference between sex with David and sex with Stephen is like the difference between science and art. With Stephen it's all empathy and imagination and exploration and the shock of the new, and the outcome is... uncertain, if you know what I mean. I'm engaged by it, but I', mot necessarily sure what its all about. David, on the other hand, presses this button, then that one, and bingo! It's like operating a lift - just as romantic, but actually just as useful.”
“I am a rationalist, and I don't believe in genies, or sudden personality changes. I wanted David's anger to vanish only after years and years in therapy.”
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
And Eternity in an hour.
A Robin Redbreast in a Cage
Puts all Heaven in a Rage.
A dove house fill’d with doves and pigeons
Shudders Hell thro’ all its regions.
A Dog starv’d at his Master’s Gate
Predicts the ruin of the State.
A Horse misus’d upon the Road
Calls to Heaven for Human blood.
Each outcry of the hunted Hare
A fiber from the Brain does tear.
He who shall train the Horse to War
Shall never pass the Polar Bar.
The Beggar’s Dog and Widow’s Cat,
Feed them and thou wilt grow fat.
The Gnat that sings his Summer song
Poison gets from Slander’s tongue.
The poison of the Snake and Newt
Is the sweat of Envy’s Foot.
A truth that’s told with bad intent
Beats all the Lies you can invent.
It is right it should be so;
Man was made for Joy and Woe;
And when this we rightly know
Thro’ the World we safely go.
Every Night and every Morn
Some to Misery are Born.
Every Morn and every Night
Some are Born to sweet delight.
Some are Born to sweet delight,
Some are Born to Endless Night.
- "Before Bishop's SandPiper...”
“We'd need a miracle," he says. "A real one. Do you think those happen anymore?”
“His face was pale, and he dropped to the floor so that he was half kneeling, half sitting before her. "Please. I can...help you."
"No." She wiped her mouth with the back of her hand. Her mind felt clearer now. Everything made more sense when she wasn't so hungry. "I don't think I want the help you have."
He cradled his bloody arm and tried to stand. "This isn't right. You aren't right. You aren't suppose to be here."
"But I am.”
“It's never too late for stalking”
“His arms wrapped around my waist from behind and he kissed my neck again, closer to the wound this time. My pulse accelerated. I wanted him to bite me; I wanted to be his.”
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