“Beer's intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.”
“October Country . . . that country where it is always turning late in the year. That country where the hills are fog and the rivers are mist; where noons go quickly, dusks and twilights linger, and mid-nights stay. That country composed in the main of cellars, sub-cellars, coal-bins, closets, attics, and pantries faced away from the sun. That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”
“It's poor judgment', said Grandpa 'to call anything by a name. We don't know what a hobgoblin or a vampire or a troll is. Could be lots of things. You can't heave them into categories with labels and say they'll act one way or another. That'd be silly. They're people. People who do things. Yes, that's the way to put it. People who *do* things.”
“Ah, art! Ah, life! The pendulum swinging back and forth, from complex to simple, again to complex. From romantic to realistic, back to romantic. ”
“And what, you ask, does writing teach us?
First and foremost, it reminds us that we are alive and that it is gift and a privilege, not a right. We must earn life once it has been awarded us. Life asks for rewards back because it has favored us with animation.
So while our art cannot, as we wish it could, save us from wars, privation, envy, greed, old age, or death, it can revitalize us amidst it all.”
“He raged for hours. And the skeleton, ever the frail and solelmn philosopher, hung quietly inside, saying not a word, suspended like a delicate insect within a chrysalis, waiting and waiting.”
“If she fell, if she broke, you'd find a million fragments in the morning. Bright crystal and clear wine on the parquet flooring, that's all you'd see at dawn.”
“In order for a thing to be horrible it has to suffer a change you can recognize.”
“I was only twelve. But I knew how much I loved her. It was that love that comes before all significance of body and morals. It was that love that was no more bad than wind and sea and sand lying side by side forever. It was made of all the warm long days together at the beach, and the humming quiet days of droning education at the school. All the long Autumn days of the years past when I carried her books home from school.”
“..love cushions all your irritations, unnatural instincts, hatreds and immaturities.”
“That country whose people are autumn people, thinking only autumn thoughts. Whose people passing at night on the empty walks sound like rain. . . .”
“Believe in one thing too much and you have no room for new ideas.”
“A train has a poor memory; it soon puts all behind it.”
“I suppose it's an unconscious little stream of wit that flows quietly under everything I do or say.”
“They came to study the dreadful vulgarity of this imaginary Mass Man they pretend to hate. But they're fascinated with the snake-pit. ”
“It was one of those things they keep in a jar in the tent of a sideshow on the outskirts of a little, drowsy town. One of those pale things drifting in alcohol plasma, forever dreaming and circling, with its peeled, dead eyes staring out at you and never seeing you. It went with the noiselessness of late night, and only the crickets chirping, the frogs sobbing off in the moist swampland. One of those things in a big jar that makes your stomach jump as it does when you see a preserved arm in a laboratory vat.”
“Well, I've kept you waiting long enough," he said, peering at me from that distance which drinking adds between people and which, at odd turns in the evening, seems closeness itself.”
“And with the trick, much admired by magicians, of sitting in a green velour chair and-vanishing! Turn your head and you forgot his face. Vanilla pudding.”
“A red ganglion, no bigger than a scarlet thread, snapped and quivered; a nerve, no greater than a red linen fiber twisted. Deep in her one little mech was gone and the entire machine, imbalanced, was about to steadily shake itself to bits.”
“He had seen her painted sign by the road: Skin Illustration! Illustration instead of tattoo! Artistic!”
“Once in a lifetime anyway, it's nice to make a mistake if you think it'll do somebody some good," she”
“All of the hot-dog stands were boarded up with strips of golden planking, sealing in all the mustard, onion, meat odors of the long, joyful summer. It was like nailing summer into a series of coffins.”
“His heart cringed from the fanning motion of ribs like pale spiders crouched and fiddling with their prey.”
“Ah, no, ah, no. There, senor, you would be wrong. Knowing that after the first year the rent is liable not to be paid, we bury the poorest two feet down. It is less work, you understand? of course, we must judge by the family who owns a body.”
“His teeth began to chatter. God All-Mighty! he thought, why haven't I realized it all these years? All these years I've gone around with a--SKELETON--inside me! How is it we take ourselves for granted? How is it we never question our bodies and our being? A skeleton. One of those jointed, snowy, hard things, one of those foul, dry, brittle, gouge-eyed, skull-faced, shake-fingered, rattling things that sway from neck-chains in abandoned webbed closets, one of those things found on the desert all long and scattered like dice!”
“Her eyes reversed into herself, to watch the secret heart of herself pounding itself into pieces against the side of her chest.”
“Hope not ever to see Heaven. I have come to lead you to the
other shore; into eternal darkness; into fire and into ice.”
“I can write, because writing—unlike choreography, architecture, or conquering kingdoms—is a thing you can do when you’re lonely and poor, and have no infrastructure, i.e., a ballet troupe or some cannons.”
“He was tired of everyone believing they knew everything there was to know about him, as if a person never grew, a person never changed, a person was born a weird and dreamy little kid with too-red lips and stayed that way forever just to keep things simple for everyone else.”
“A few years ago, long after it had been closed, Eli said he saw a girl swimming in it, coming out of the water in a bikini, laughing at her frigthtened boyfriend, seaweed snaking around her. He said she looked like a mermaid.
Deenie always pictured it like in one of those books of mythology she used to love, a girl rising from the foam gritted with pearls, mussels, the glitter of the sea.
"It looks beautiful", her mother had said once when they were driving by at night, its waters opaline. “It is beautiful. But it makes people sick.”
To Deenie, it was one of many interesting things that adults said would kill you: Easter lilles, jellyfish, copperhead snakes with their diamond heads, tails bright as sulfur. Don't touch, don't taste, don't get too close.
And then, last week.”
“I’d prefer a debriefing by the professional,” Matthias said. “Rather than one of the idiot’s exhausting, million-words-in-one-breath babbling explanations.” “Hey,” I said. “That is a rare talent.” “Maybe your only talent.”
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