Quotes from The Etched City

K.J. Bishop ·  382 pages

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“Somewhere there are gardens where peacocks sing like nightingales, somewhere there are caravans of separated lovers traveling to meet each other; there are ruby fires on distant mountains, and blue comets that come in spring like sapphires in the black sky. If this is not so, meet me in the shameful yard, and we will plant a gallows tree, and swing like sad pendulums, never once touching.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Art is the conscious making of numinous phenomena. Many objects are just objects - inert, merely utilitarian. Many events are inconsequential, too banal to add anything to our experience of life. This is unfortunate, as one cannot grow except by having one’s spirit greatly stirred; and the spirit cannot be greatly stirred by spiritless things. Much of our very life is dead. For primitive man, this was not so. He made his own possessions, and shaped and decorated them with the aim of making them not merely useful, but powerful. He tried to infuse his weapons with the nature of the tiger, his cooking pots with the life of growing things; and he succeeded. Appearance, material, history, context, rarity - perhaps rarity most of all - combine to create, magically, the quality of soul. But we modern demiurges are prolific copyists; we give few things souls of their own. Locomotives, with their close resemblance to beasts, may be the great exception; but in nearly all else with which today’s poor humans are filling the world, I see a quelling of the numinous, an ashening of the fire of life. We are making an inert world; we are building a cemetery. And on the tombs, to remind us of life, we lay wreaths of poetry and bouquets of painting. You expressed this very condition, when you said that art beautifies life. No longer integral, the numinous has become optional, a luxury - one of which you, my dear friend, are fond, however unconsciously. You adorn yourself with the same instincts as the primitive who puts a frightening mask of clay and feathers on his head, and you comport yourself in an uncommonly calculated way - as do I. We thus make numinous phenomena of ourselves. No mean trick - to make oneself a rarity, in this overpopulated age.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“At that moment, he realised that he did not exist to her in the same way that he existed in his own perception. She held a copied version, an interpretation of him, filtered through the matrix of her priorities and desires.

Therefore, surely, he only held a copy of her.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“In the end, having no compass for his desires, he yielded to his nature.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“When I came to this city, I would have agreed with anyone who said there was little mystery left in the world. But in you, madam, first in your image, then in your living self, I saw the allure of something far away and as secret as the stars. As I reached towards this unknown, I began to feel like a man who has ridden through a vast desert, never knowing anything but the sand around him and the dry road under him, then comes upon the mirage of a garden and a city, and finds that the mirage is real, and that it is bigger than the desert; that the desert was, after all his walking, only a small part of the mirage”

“Then you felt love, which is the state of feeling desire and the fulfillment of desire at the same time,” she said.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“There were no milestones in the Copper Country. Often a traveler could only measure the progress of a journey by the time it took to get from each spoiled or broken thing to the next: a half-day’s walk from a dry well to the muzzle of a cannon poking out of a sand-slope, two hours to reach the skeletons of a man and a mule. The land was losing its battle with time. Ancient and exhausted, it visited decrepitude on everything within its bounds, as though out of spleen.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“How long before we devise a means of telling horoscopes with gas lamps?”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“The goodness of the world grew like moss in cracks, she thought. It grew, somehow, with hidden roots, nourished by something unseen.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“You're doing it again. Using reason to argue faith. Can't be done. Like playing croquet with a crochet hook. Sounds something like the right tool for the job, but isn't.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Evil flourishes because the good aren't good enough," see murmured. "And sometimes the good just have bad days.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“I have come to believe that we steer our individual spheres of being through the spectra of possible worlds via the choices we make, the acts we perform. Most people stick to known routes, and therefore cannot travel far. They live too modestly, and perhaps too privately. Only by being strange can we move, for strange acts cause us to be rejected by whatever normality we have offended, and to be propelled towards a normality that can better accommodate us.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Could your god and this infernal be called enemies, then?"
"It is more complicated than that. God knew what was going to happen, of course. The divine has a plan for the infernal. Because all is of God and nothing of God can truly be destroyed, the infernal must instead be transmuted. It must realise its error, comprehend the illogicality of its existence, and choose to become part of the divine. When all is converted, the erroneous potential will no longer exist. Perfection will be achieved. We are all subjects, substances, in this greatest alchemy, the Great Work of God.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“It occurred to Raule that all children were monsters in the world and were instinctively aware of it. They were reminded of their anomalous nature by adults, whom they failed to resemble, and with whose habitations and tools their bodies were at odds. This was surely why the little girl played with the sequins so solemnly and with such intense concentration. She was doing nothing less than conjuring, out of pattern and colour, a world that conformed to her desires and obeyed her will. The boy, on the other hand, showed with the whole attitude of his being that he knew there was only the one world and he would kill it if he could.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Time steals from us the capacity to be smitten, does it not? It slowly but surely washes away all your enthusiasm and deposits uncertainty in its place.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

I am always a different man; a reinterpretation of the man I was yesterday, and the day before, and all the days I have lived. The past is gone, was always gone; it does not exist, except in memory, and what is memory but thought, a copy of perception, no less but no more replete with truth than any passing whim, fancy, or other agitation of the mind. And if it is actions, words, thoughts that define an individual, those definitions alter like the weather - if continuity and pattern are often discernible, so are chaos and sudden change.
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“The wisdom which is now conventional claims that light creates shadows. But the facts are otherwise. Darkness came first and is infinitely older and more enduring than light. Light borrows a little space; then it dies or moves on, and the dark exists again as if it had never been disturbed.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“He had acquired a reputation for possessing a noble character, and even for being something of a hero - or, at least, in the assessment of one contemporary commentator, one of those parties who are able to fulfil the public need in the event of genuine heroes being absent or, for any reason, unpalatable.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Think of a potter taking a misshapen bowl from his wheel and pounding it back into the tub of clay. A soul suffers while it is being pounded in this way, and suffers until it ceases to be. You are pounded down, and that which was you gets into something else. God tries again, and tries until the Work is complete. Meanwhile you, my son, are long gone”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“My soul longs for God, but a man is not just his soul, is he? Terrible to say, my clay lusts after the clay of nubile girl. To soothe my guilt, and please forgive my indelicacy, I have convinced myself that I seek to find God again in their arms and their unmentionable places.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“You see yourself as something of a champion of the poor, don't you?" "No, just their doctor.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“It occurs to me that my thinking has been faulty: we do not feel God's absence. We feel the absence of all that is lost to God, that which has set itself apart and refuses to return, believing itself to be in exile.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Your people are not unwise, after all: love of the perfect Deity may prevent us from loving imperfect man! But God's will is to restore the lost; and that can't be done without loving them.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“Albo niczego nie można wybaczyć, albo nie ma nic do wybaczania.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

“She replied that the manual labour exercised her body while allowing her mind and spirit to rest, adding that she believed there was value in the discipline of ordinariness, provided that it was only a discipline and not an unvarying state of being.”
― K.J. Bishop, quote from The Etched City

About the author

K.J. Bishop
Born place: Australia
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Popular quotes

“Give no one in all the world the power to deflect you from your goal, your aim in life, which is to express your hidden talents to the world, to serve humanity, and to reveal more and more of God’s wisdom, truth, and beauty to all people in the world. Remain true to your ideal. Know definitely and absolutely that whatever contributes to your peace, happiness, and fulfillment must of necessity bless all men who walk the earth. The harmony of the part is the harmony of the whole, for the whole is in the part, and the part is in the whole. All you owe the other, as Paul says, is love, and love is the fulfilling of the law of health, happiness, and peace of mind.”
― Joseph Murphy, quote from The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

“In any field, it’s a plus if you view criticism as potentially helpful advice rather than as a personal attack.”
― Chris Hadfield, quote from An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth

“Bet visada atsiranda vienas ar du, kurie išsineša paslaptį ir kamuojasi dėl jos taip niekada ir nepriartėdami prie jos išsiaiškinimo.”
― Christopher Priest, quote from The Prestige

“Lockheed! You found me! You are the best X-Dragon ever.”
― Joss Whedon, quote from Astonishing X-Men, Volume 1: Gifted

“However, what America does possess in abundance is a legacy of colorful names. A mere sampling: Chocolate Bayou, Dime Box, Ding Dong, and Lick Skillet, Texas; Sweet Gum Head, Louisiana; Whynot, Mississippi; Zzyzx Springs, California; Coldass Creek, Stiffknee Knob, and Rabbit Shuffle, North Carolina; Scratch Ankle, Alabama; Fertile, Minnesota; Climax, Michigan; Intercourse, Pennsylvania; Breakabeen, New York; What Cheer, Iowa; Bear Wallow, Mud Lick, Minnie Mousie, Eighty-Eight, and Bug, Kentucky; Dull, Only, Peeled Chestnut, Defeated, and Nameless, Tennessee; Cozy Corners, Wisconsin; Humptulips, Washington; Hog Heaven, Idaho; Ninety-Six, South Carolina; Potato Neck, Maryland; Why, Arizona; Dead Bastard Peak, Crazy Woman Creek, and the unsurpassable Maggie’s Nipples, Wyoming.”
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