“Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there's not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago.”
“I looked at her and a voice inside me said, we only see starlight because all the stars are bleeding.”
“It's a stark thought that when we die most of us will leave behind uneaten biscuits, unused coffee, half toilet rolls, half cartons of milk in the fridge to go sour; that everyday functional things will outlive us and prove that we weren't ready to go; that we weren't smart or knowing or heroic; that we were just animals whose animal bodies stopped working without any sort of schedule or any consent from us.”
“It's like they say about soldiers coming back from war. People all around you are dying. Really dying, Eric. You go in for a week's chemotherapy and you're in a ward with people who are really, actually dying, there and then and doing their best to come to terms with it. When the week's up, you go home and you see your family and your friends and everything's normal and familiar. It's too much. You think - one world can't possibly hold both these lives and you feel like you're going to go crazy when you realise the world is that big and it can fill with the most terrible things whenever it wants to.”
“Its hurtful and wonderful how our jokes survive us.
Since I left home on this journey, I've thought a lot about this-how a big part of any life is about the hows and whys of setting up machinery. it's building systems, devices, motors. Winding up the clockwork of direct debits, configuring newspaper deliveries and anniversaries and photographs and credit card repayments and anecdotes. Starting their engines, setting them in motion and sending them chugging off into the future to do their thing at a regular or irregular intervals. When a person leaves or dies or ends, they leave an afterimage; their outline in the devices they've set up around them. The image fades to the winding down of springs, the slow running out of fuel as the machines of a life lived in certain ways in certain places and from certain angles are shut down or seize up or blink off one by one. It takes time. Sometimes, you come across the dusty lights or electrical hum of someone else's machine, maybe a long time after you ever expected to, still running, lonely in the dark. Still doing its thing for the person who started it up long, long after they've gone.
A man lives so many different lengths of time.”
“A cat is a responsibility after all. And feeding and keeping and caring about a stupid fat cat isn't much, isn't much in the entirety of what counts for being a person and the huge range of what people do,but it is something. It is something and it's something that's warm and that I still have.”
“Already the dream was coming apart, its bright silk strands unwinding into nebulous emotions, little coloured clouds of feeling being dispersed by the movement of my waking-up mind. This is how it's always been with Light Bulb Fragment dreams; by the time I'm fully awake, they're gone.”
“A man lives so many different lengths of time. And each one has its own end.”
“We had to keep explaining things, backtracking and filling gaps. We realised our own conversations had evolved into a kind of shorthand, a tidy, neat little minimalism. Covering the whole canvas in broad obvious brushstrokes for outsiders felt like a waste of sounds, time and effort. Speaking with footnotes.”
“There are two types of people in the world. There are the people who understand instinctively that the story of The Flood and the story of The Tower of Babel are the same thing, and those who don't.”
“They say life is tenacious. They say given half a chance, or less, life will grow and exist and evolve anywhere, even in the most inhospitable and unlikely of places.
Life will always find a way, they say.”
“Everything that had happened was all part of the same great big something, it had to happen, I just knew”
“A movement unlocked my attention. I re-focused my eyes, looking past the vodka glass and into the static buzz of the TV. I stayed very still for a few seconds before lowering the glass to the floor, careful not to take my eyes off the screen. There was something distant and alive in the depths of the white noise - a living glide of thoughts swimming forward, a moving body of concepts and half felt images.”
“There's nothing about the times when she wasn't funny or sexy, or when she talked too much or about her pissing or shitting. There's no way to really preserve a person when they're gone and that's because whatever you write down it's not the truth, it's just a story.”
“We’re all going forwards and we’re never coming back.”
“Almost sixteen weeks after I'd woken up on the bedroom floor, the lightbulb box arrived.”
“Geniuses don’t go mad,” he said. “That’s what people don’t understand. They get out so far out that the water is like glass and they can see for miles and see so much, and in ways people have never seen before.”
“In the dark places of yourself, thinking machines you never get near enough to see are constantly building things and running their own secretive programmes all of their own. Maybe you get a snippet of what's going on back there, like this fragment of a song drifting its way into the light, or a phrase, or an image, or maybe just a mood, a wash of content of a bleak draining of colour that floods your chest and your stomach more than it ever finds its way into the bight halogen chrome of your mind.”
“It's tiring not knowing people isn't it?" Clio said later.
It isn't word efficient," I agreed.”
“How could I sit here and ask this stranger to help me pick up the facts of my life? The shopping bags had burst and all my things were rolling out over a packed pavement with me scurrying after them, stooping and bumping and tripping: Excuse me, I'm sorry. Could you just...Excuse me.”
“Imagine you're in a rowing boat on a lake.
It's summer, early morning. That time when the sun hasn't quite broken free of the landscape and long, projected shadows tigerstripe the light. The rays are warm on your skin as you drift through them, but in the shadows the air is still cold, greyness holding onto undersides and edges wherever it can.
A low clinging breeze comes and goes, racing ripples across the water and gently rocking you and your boat as you float in yin-yang slices of morning. Birds are singing. It's a sharp, clear sound, clean without the humming backing track of a day well underway. There's the occasional sound of wind in leaves and the occasional slap-splash of a larger wavelet breaking on the side of your boat, but nothing else.
You reach over the side and feel the shock of the water, the steady bob of the lake's movement playing up and down your knuckles in a rhythm of cold. You pull your arm back; you enjoy the after-ache in your fingers. Holding out your hand, you close your eyes and feel the tiny physics of gravity and resistance as the liquid finds routes across your skin, builds itself into droplets of the required weight, then falls, each drop ending with an audible tap.
Now, right on that tap - stop. Stop imagining. Here's the real game. Here's
what's obvious and wonderful and terrible all at the same time: the lake in my head, the lake I was imagining, has just become the lake in your head. It doesn't matter if you never know me, or never know anything about me. I could be dead, I could have been dead a hundred years before you were even born and still - think about this carefully, think past the obvious sense of it to the huge and amazing miracle hiding inside - the lake in my head has become the lake in your head.”
“I loved her, Eric. So much. And she died. I only get the general sense of things and they pass so quickly, like childhood smells touching you and then being gone on the breeze. But. But but but. It feels strange to be writing this down - I think I believed I could change what happened, undo it, prevent it, save her life somehow after she was already gone. Of course I couldn’t. Dead is dead is dead.”
“There is no stillness, only change. Yesterday’s here is not today’s here. Yesterday’s here is somewhere in Russia, in a wilderness in Canada, a deep blue nowhere out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s behind the sun, it’s in deep space, hundreds of thousands, millions of miles left behind. We can never wake up in the same place we went to sleep in. Our place in the universe, the universe itself, it all changes faster and faster by the second. Every one of us standing on this planet, we’re all moving forwards and we’re never ever coming back. The truth is, stillness is an idea, a dream. It’s the thought of the friendly, welcoming lights still shining in all the places we’ve been forced to abandon.”
“Ouch,' she mumbles. 'Somebody's superglued my joints.”
“I wanted it to happen. I wanted to let my knees buckle. Let my shoulders slump, just let it all go - fall forwards, down and finally, thankfully, out. This monster river could take me away and unknot me and spread me out however it wanted and however it liked because, honestly, finally, I just felt so fucking tired of endless hours of doing my shitty best to cling my component parts together as a human being. I wanted to pile up and silt-slide, wrap around the trunks of trees, a lost nothing of unthinking debris and high watermarks. Just to be all the way empty, just be all the way gone.”
“try to visualize all the streams of human interaction, of communication. All those linking streams flowing in and between people, through text, pictures, spoken words and TV commentaries, streams through shared memories, casual relations, witnessed events, touching pasts and futures, cause and effect. Try to see this immense latticework of lakes and flowing streams, see the size and awesome complexity of it. This huge rich environment. This waterway paradise of all information and identities and societies and selves.”
“Every single cell in the human body replaces itself over a period of seven years. That means there’s not even the smallest part of you now that was part of you seven years ago. Everything is changing. In the early days of my second life I noticed how the shadow of a telegraph pole would inch between the gardens of two houses across the street – from 152 to the garden of 150 – over the course of several hours, from lunchtime into evening. After watching this a few times I did the maths: the shadow movement from one garden to the next meant that both houses, the telegraph pole, the street, all of us, had travelled one thousand, one hundred and sixty miles around the earth with the turning of the planet. We’d also travelled about seventy-six thousand miles through space around the sun in the same period and much much further as part of the wider spiralling of the galaxy. And nobody noticed a thing. There is no stillness, only change. Yesterday’s here is not today’s here. Yesterday’s here is somewhere in Russia, in a wilderness in Canada, a deep blue nowhere out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. It’s behind the sun, it’s in deep space, hundreds of thousands, millions of miles left behind. We can never wake up in the same place we went to sleep in. Our place in the universe, the universe itself, it all changes faster and faster by the second. Every one of us standing on this planet, we’re all moving forwards and we’re never ever coming back. The truth is, stillness is an idea, a dream. It’s the thought of friendly, welcoming lights still shining in all the places we’ve been forced to abandon.”
“There are some people in life that you can vent to, or pour out sadness to, or voice frustration to, and they readily and willingly absorb it for the sole purpose of ridding you of it. They're the same people who can immediately replace that negativity with their light. Their presence gives you the power to purge the bad and embrace the good. It's rare. I've only known a few people in my life who are that way. Now”
“Любви все возрасты покорны;
Но юным, девственным сердцам
Ее порывы благотворны,
Как бури вешние полям”
“Protect what belongs to you at all costs; don't desire what belongs to another.”
“grief is long and messy and horrible—but it’s not an illness. And you cope how you cope. There’s no ‘well’ about it.”
“I’m good, but I’m not that good. Unless we steal a baby—” Colin”
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