“It’s the same with people who say, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Even people who say this must realize that the exact opposite is true. What doesn’t kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak, makes you whiny and full of yourself at the same time. The more pain, the more pompous you get. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you incredibly annoying.”
“The times you lived through, the people you shared those times with — nothing brings it all to life like an old mix tape. It does a better job of storing up memories than actual brain tissue can do. Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they can add up to the story of a life.”
“Our lives were just beginning, our favorite moment was right now, our favorite songs were unwritten.”
“It's always that one song that gets to you. You can hide, but the song comes to find you.”
“There are all kinds of mix tapes. there is always a reason to make one.”
“I'd shut the whole world down just to tell you”
“Tonight, I feel like my whole body is made out of memories. I'm a mix-tape, a cassette that's been rewound so many times you can hear the fingerprints smudged on the tape.”
“I had no voice to talk with because she was my whole language.”
“I was helpless in trying to return people's kindness, but also helpless to resist it. Kindness is a scarier force than cruelty, that's for sure. Cruelty isn't that hard to understand. I had no trouble comprehending why the phone company wanted to screw me over; they just wanted to steal some money, it was nothing personal. That's the way of the world. It made me mad, but it didn't make me feel stupid. If anything, it flattered my intelligence. Accepting all that kindness, though, made me feel stupid.
Human benevolence is totally unfair. We don't live in a kind or generous world, yet we are kind and generous. We know the universe is out to burn us, and it gets us all the way it got Renee, but we don't burn each other, not always. We are kind people in an unkind world, to paraphrase Wallace Stevens. How do you pretend you don't know about it, after you see it? How do you go back to acting like you don't need it? How do you even the score and walk off a free man? You can't. I found myself forced to let go of all sorts of independence I thought I had, independence I had spent years trying to cultivate. That world was all gone, and now I was a supplicant, dependent on the mercy of other people's psychic hearts.”
“I realize that I will never fully understand the millions of bizarre ways that music brings people together.”
“I get sentimental over the music of the ’90s. Deplorable, really. But I love it all. As far as I’m concerned the ’90s was the best era for music ever, even the stuff that I loathed at the time, even the stuff that gave me stomach cramps.”
“But the answer is simple. Love is a mix tape.”
“The dilemma of the eighth-grade dance is that boys and girls use music in different ways. Girls enjoy music they can dance to, music with strong vocals and catchy melodies. Boys, on the other hand, enjoy music they can improve by making up filthy new lyrics.”
“Nothing connects to the moment like music. I count the music to bring me back, or more precisely, to bring her forward.”
“Love dies in many different ways, and it's natural for the grass to seem greener on the other side. But it's not a competition; there's plenty of pain to go around.”
“For two weeks, I lay awake at night and said Hail Marys over and over to stop my heart from beating too fast. I suddenly realized how much being a husband was about fear: fear of not being able to keep somebody safe, of not being able to protect somebody from all the bad stuff you want to protect them from. Knowing they have more tears in them than you will be able to keep them from crying. I realized that Renee had seen me fail, and that she was the person I was going to be failing in front for the rest of my life. It was just a little failure, but it promised bigger failures to come. Additional ones, anyway. But that's who your wife is, the person you fail in front of. Love it so confusing; there's no peace of mind.”
“I had no voice to talk with because she was my whole language. Without her to talk to, there was nothing to say.”
“One of Renee's friends asked her, "Does your boyfriend wear glasses?" She said, "No, he wears a Walkman.”
“Sometimes great tunes happen to bad times, and when the bad time is over, not all the tunes get to move on with you.”
“I didn't know what I was. I didn't have a noun.”
“Girls take up a lot of room. I had a lot of room for this one.”
“The way I pictured it, all this grief would be like a winter night when you're standing outside. You'll warm up once you get used to the cold. Except after you've been out there for awhile, you feel the warmth draining out of you and you realize the opposite is happening; you're getting colder and colder, as the body heat you brought outside with you seeps out of your skin. Instead of getting used to it, you get weaker the longer you endure it.”
“But for me, if we're talking about romance, cassettes wipe the floor with MP3s. This has nothing to do with superstition, or nostalgia. MP3s buzz straight to your brain. That's part of what I love about them. But the rhythm of the mix tape is the rhythm of romance, the analog hum of a physical connection between two sloppy human bodies. The cassette is full of tape hiss and room tone; it's full of wasted space, unnecessary noise. Compared to the go-go-go rhythm of an MP3, mix tapes are hopelessly inefficient. You go back to a cassette the way a detective sits and pours drinks for the elderly motel clerk who tells stories about the old days--you know you might be somewhat bored, but there might be a clue in there somewhere. And if there isn't, what the hell? It's not a bad time. You know you will waste time. You plan on it.”
“The hungry feeling and the lonely feeling merged until it was hard to tell them apart.”
“It was bewildering and humbling to keep discovering how many brave things people can fail to talk themselves out of doing.”
“...some people aren't worth the trouble of being kind to, because they have neither the brains nor the power to make something for themselves out of your kindness.”
“on the 11th of every month my friend elizabeth would say, "well we made it through another month. so do we get her back now?" we always giggled, but we really did expect to get her back. its not human to let go of love, even when it's dead.
we expected one of these monthly anniversaries to be the Final Goodbye. we figured that we'd said all our goodbyes, and given up all the tears we had to give. we'd passed the test and would get back what we'd lost. but instead, every anniversary hurt more, and every anniversary felt like she was further away from coming back. the idea that there wouldn't be a final goodbye- that was a hard goodbye in itself and, at that point, still an impossible goodbye. no private eye has to tell you it's a long goodbye.
...the loss just doesn't go away- it gets bigger the longer you look at it.”
“Every mix tape tells a story. Put them together, and they add up to the story of life.”
“You know the Prince song where the girl's phone rings but she tells him, "whoever's calling couldn't be as cute as you?" I long to live out this moment in real life.”
“Liberalism is to freedom as anarchism is to anarchy.”
“A mist crept into the valley—how could this be, by the light of the climbing sun? It drifted over the form in the grass, nearly obscuring it, seeming to draw all sound into itself. I thought I might burst from the strain of that silence... until a single sound shattered it:
The gasp of an indrawn breath.”
“Ellie fought the urge to stamp her foot. "I meant it this time. Do you accept my apology?"
"It appears," he said, raising his eyebrows, "that you might do me bodily harm if I do not."
"Ungracious prig," she muttered. "I am trying to apologize."
"And I," he said, "am trying to accept.”
“Depression, in Karla's experience, was a dull, inert thing - a toad that squatted wetly on your head until it finally gathered the energy to slither off. The unhappiness she had been living with for the last ten days was a quite different creature. It was frantic and aggressive. It had fists and fangs and hobnailed boots. It didn't sit, it assailed. It hurt her. In the mornings, it slapped her so hard in the face that she reeled as she walked to the bathroom.”
“I love eating chicken with my bare hands. It makes me want to snarl at people, even more than usual.”
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