Koren Zailckas · 342 pages
Rating: (21.6K votes)
“I once heard someone say that the concept of moderation seems a little extreme, and tonight...I agree.”
“But in college, we can wear our alcohol abuse as proudly as our university sweatshirts; the two concepts are virtually synonymous.”
“I’ve been thinking I’d like to be Daisy; I’d like to have someone like Gatsby stare at my house for whole years and never stop dreaming of me”
“I'm sick of the ignorance that lack of funding has generated, of the fathers who apporach me at dinner parties with their four-year-old girls clasped to their pant legs and say, "Yeah, but studies say kids can buy drugs more easily than they can buy alcohol." To which I always respond, "I guess that means you keep heroin in your liquor cabinet?”
“But lately, when I’m drunk, I feel a hostility that I’ve never known before. It is a tension deep in my gut that makes me want to yell until my face is red, knock over glasses with the back of my hand, and kick people I don’t know in the shins.”
“I am aware that somewhere along the line, I've subconsciously turned down the pitch of my speech, like a silencer of a gun that softens the sound of its firing. Now, even when I yell, I don't feel like I am using my full voice.”
“By the same token, I think it's time that we allow ourselves to experience real anger as women. And I don't mean that passive aggressive dance that we've employed for too many years. It's not real anger if it is implied or a few degrees removed, if it takes the form of whispering, or cold shoulders, or silent treatment. Real anger is what popular culture would have us be afraid of, based on the fact that it is not courteous, elegant, or feminine.”
“For the next four years, they will again and again tout themselves as “real” and I will be too naïve to know that anyone who uses that designation is disguising a representation of immense falsity”
“One night, Tess finds me sobbing during the health segment of the evening news. Scientists have discovered scarred cells from cardiac arrest fall away over time, and she can't understand how sadly hopeful that is. To me, it means that the human heart has the capacity to heal itself.”
“It's meant I will act like less of an asshole, but feel much more like one.”
“That's the thing about social drinking: In the end, it's the drinking that creates the scene, not the other way around. You grow to relish the buzz, regardless of the situation. Once you're there, really there inside that moment, with its neighbourly warmth and conversation, it's hard to tell what's responsible for producing emotion. What's responsible for the light-headed feeling? Is it the Molson, or the boy who's running his fingers through the ends of your hair? Are you chatty because you're drunk, or because you're connecting with someone on a level that you have never before experienced?”
“i feel like the squirrels that so often run in front of our car
& then stand paralyzed in the forward crunch of the tires
i’m torn between the compulsion to run
& the urge to stand still & hope the danger will pass”
“For the first month of school, writing is its own upper. Pounding on my computer keys feels like playing the piano, like arranging words into harmony that sings back to me.”
“Even years from now, once I've stopped drinking, I will never stop trusting extremes. I will always believe that anything worth having is worth having in excess. The good things are worth hoarding until you have a cookie-fat ass, sex-aching loins, joy that fires through you like popping popcorn, or love, the weakness at the sight of some boy who makes your chest ache like indigestion. If it's good for you, it ought to be good for you in any amount, and you should track down every available bit of it. And if it's toxic, if it turns your liver into a hard little rock of scar tissue, or curls your memory at the edges like something burned in a fire, or makes your stomach flop, or your mind ache, or your personality contorted, you shouldn't buy into the bullshit about temperance.”
“Whenever he was asked what somebody had died of he'd reply (with immense gravity), "Lack of breath.”
“What I saw next stopped me dead in my tracks. Books. Not just one or two dozen, but hundreds of them. In crates. In piles on the floor. In bookcases that stretched from floor to ceiling and lined the entire room. I turned around and around in a slow circle, feeling as if I'd just stumbled into Ali Baba's cave. I was breathless, close to tears, and positively dizzy with greed.”
“So what is the answer? How can you stand your ground when you are weak and sensitive to pain, when people you love are still alive, when you are unprepared?
What do you need to make you stronger than the Interrogator and the whole trap?
From the moment you go to prison you must put your cozy past firmly behind you. At the very threshold, you must say to yourself: "My life is over, a little early to be sure, but there's nothing to be done about it. I shall never return to freedom. I am condemned to die—now or a little later. But later on, in truth, it will be even harder, and so the sooner the better. I no longer have any property whatsoever. For me those I love have died, and for them I have died. From today on, my body is useless and alien to me. Only my spirit and my conscience remain precious and important to me."
Confronted by such a prisoner, the Interrogation will tremble.
Only the man who has renounced everything can win that victory.”
“Here." Sam came over, stripped down to his boxers. "Hunch forward and put your head down."
Robin looked at him. "My safe word is monkey.”
“Nature has endowed each of us with a capacity for kindly feelings: let us not squander them on others.”
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