N.D. Wilson · 224 pages
Rating: (2.7K votes)
“The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not try to pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.”
“Do not resent your place in the story. Do not imagine yourself elsewhere. Do not close your eyes and picture a world without thorns, without shadows, without hawks. Change this world. Use your body like a tool meant to be used up, discarded, and replaced. Better every life you touch. We will reach the final chapter. When we have eyes that can stare into the sun, eyes that only squint for the Shenikah, then we will see laughing children pulling cobras by their tails, and hawks and rabbits playing tag.”
“In this story, the sun moves. In this story, every night meets a dawn and burns away in the bright morning. In this story, Winter can never hold back the Spring... He is the best of all possible audiences, the only Audience to see every scene, the Author who became a Character and heaped every shadow on Himself. The Greeks were right. Live in fear of a grinding end and a dank hereafter. Unless you know a bigger God, or better yet, are related to Him by blood.”
“Imagine a poem written with such enormous three-dimensional words that we had to invent a smaller word to reference each of the big ones; that we had to rewrite the whole thing in shorthand, smashing it into two dimensions, just to talk about it. Or don’t imagine it. Look outside. Human language is our attempt at navigating God’s language; it is us running between the lines of His epic, climbing on the vowels and building houses out of the consonants.”
“Do not fear the shadowy places. You will never be the first one there. Another went ahead and down until He came out the other side.”
“Give me priests. Give me men with feathers in their hair, or tall domed hats, female oracles in caves, servants of the python, smoking weed and reading palms. A gypsy fortuneteller with a foot-peddle ouija board and a gold fish bowl for a crystal ball knows more about the world than many of the great thinkers of the West. Mumbling priests swinging stink cans on their chains and even witch doctors conjuring up curses with a well-buried elephant tooth have a better sense of their places in the world. They know this universe is brimming with magic, with life and riddles and ironies. They know that the world might eat them, and no encyclopedia could stop it”
“In The Silver Chair, the Marsh-wiggle Puddleglum is all wisdom in rebutting the witch as she denies the existence of the world in which he believes. But as children's fiction isn't quite academically respectable, I'll pretend that I learned this from Blaise Pascal. [...] If the world really is accidental and devoid of meaning, and you and I have no more value in the cosmos than you average bread mold, and Beauty and Goodness are artificial constructs imagined within an explosion, constructs that are controlled by chemical reactions within the accident and have no necessary correspondence to reality, then my made-up children's world licks your real world silly. Depart from me. Go drown in your seething accident. Puddleglum and I are staying here.”
“What is this world? What is it for? It is art. It is the best of all possible art, a finite picture of the Infinite.”
“Gilbert Keith Chesterton (that fabulously large Catholic writer) overheard someone making fun of Milton (it didn't matter that the insults were all true).”
“I am here to paint you a picture of the world I see”
“If someone else was delivering your lines, would you like them? If someone else was wearing your attitude, would you be impressed?”
“This is poetry, but it is not delicate and fragile, a placid ocean beneath a Bible vese on an inspirational poster. This poetry had testicles. It's rougher than a rodeo. Which is why the cliffs are crowded with spectators”
“I knew I was different from the rest of you plebes. Look how silly and gothic you all look with your skinny, knobbed arms. I'm unique. Neoclassical.”
“Plato, the first true pope of philosophy (sorry, Socrates), argued for a World of Forms above the reality-a transcendent plane of perfect essences, pure and lovely, where nothing ever gets muddy (including the essence of mud.)”
“Spring is worth the wait. Life is worth the death.”
“We're all carnies, though some people are in denial. They want to be above it all, above the mayhem of laughter and people and lights and animals and the dark sadness that lurks in the coners and beneath the rides and in the trailers after hours. So they ride teh Ferris wheel, and at the top, they think they've left it all behind They've ascended to a place where they can take things seriously. Where they can be taken seriously.”
“Is this what mortality means? Is this how I know my body is of the sort that can stop, that can feed crabs, that will someday be placed in a box and dropped in a hole? I have a need to stand near the edge, to feel this small risk, to feel my heart beat. If I were not the dying sort, I would be standing closer, beneath the full blow of each breaker.”
“If there are meta-beings, a god or gods who did not create the world, then they can tell us what to do the same way bullies can, though they have no jurisdiction. They can run our countries like Italian neighborhoods and along the same principles. Do it or get whacked. Bend your knees, slaughter bulls, lick dirt, give us your milk money. But might, even above the human level, does not make right.
But a creative God, a God without whom none of this would be, a God who spoke reality into being and shapes it even now, He has authority. The world is His. You are His the way my words are mine. We are dust spoken from nothing, shaped with the moisture of His breath, named and now-living.”
“Summer has come with the loveliness of a mother Heat, not warmth, now pours onto my face, aging me, taking me closer to death.
Let it. I am here to live my story, to love my story. I will not fail to savor any gift out of a desire for self-preservation. Self-preservation is not a great virtue in this story.”
“Mumbling priests swinging stick cans on their chains and even witch doctors conjuring up curses with a well-buried elephant tooth have a better sense of their places in the world. They know this universe is brimming with magic, with life and riddles and ironies. They know that the world might eat them, and no encyclopedia could stop it.”
“I've seen a baby born. And, ahem, I know what made it. But I'm not telling, you'd never believe me.”
“But God never seems capable of moderation”
“Evil is an adjective. It is an adjective used to describe those actions of man (and their effects) that are contrary to the nature of God.”
“Is the journey the destination? Please, no. Let me out of your Volkswagen bus at the next corner.”
“Tragedy isn’t an easy thing to kill. It takes more than a turtle. Tragedy must be destroyed by someone willing to be swallowed by it, willing to be broken, torn out of the flesh, but able to return to it. Someone must be able to shatter the tragic from within and exit into comedy, able to rip a hole so wide that a train of souls, a parade, could follow after, banging drums and throwing candy as they strolled into the sun.”
“Welcome to His poem. His play. His novel. Skip the bowls of fruit and statues. Let the page flick your thumbs. This is His spoken word.”
“He exists on two planes. He sees the story as He tells it, while He weaves it, shapes it, and sings it. And He stepped inside it. The shadows exist in the painting, the dark corners of grief and trial and wickedness all exist so that He might step inside them, so we could see how low He can stoop. In this story, the Author became flesh and wandered the stage with Hamlet, offering His own life. In this story, the Author heaped all that He loathed, all that displeased Him, all the wrongness of the world, onto Himself.”
“Descartes, the Frenchman, had little trouble knowing that he existed.”
“I love it as it is, because it is a story, and it isn't stuck in one place.”
“Do not cry to me. I can only cry with you. I will not die for you. I am still too young in the meaning of love. Talk to the Fool, to the one who left a throne to enter an anthill. He will enter your shadow. It cannot taint Him. He has done it before. His holiness is not fragile. It burns like a father to the sun. Touch His skin, put your hand in His side. He has kept His scars when He did not have to. Give Him your pain and watch it overwhelmed, burned away by the joy He takes in loving. In stooping.”
“Dude! said a party pony as he unloaded his gear. Did you see that bear guy? He was all like: 'Whoa, I have an arrow in my mouth!”
“You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place...”
“I've kissed a prince, Mom. I hope it doesn't turn into a frog.”
“. . . Jess believed, that she thought he was the best. It was not the kind of best that counted either at school or at home, but it was a genuine kind of best. He kept the knowledge of it buried inside himself like a pirate treasure. He was rich, very rich, but no one could know about it for now except his fellow outlaw, Julia Edmunds.”
“And to the devil with it if she is!" said the Consul. "One girl, who is not Nephilim, is not, cannot, be our priority."
"She is my priority!" Will shouted.”
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