“Truth be told, the inward gaze is something she's not too fond of. But there are secrets that lurk in the mind, and she doesn't want any of them sneaking up on her. Sometimes it pays to take a deep look inside even if you get queasy gazing into those dark corners.”
“God is a slick god. Temple Knows. She knows because of all the crackerjack miracles still to be seen on this ruined globe.”
“...a noisy parade of memories that frustrate her because of the way they play themselves out. These memories-it feels like she's back there in the moment, like she has the moment to do over and make different choices than she made. But she can't, because they're just memories and they're set down permanent as if they were chiseled in marble, and so she just has to watch herself do the same things over and over and it's a condemnation if it's anything.”
“You somehow make it outta here and track me down, you best come with a furious rage--because I got no use for your sympathy.”
“Beyond the pursuit of meaning and beyond good and evil too, she says. See, it’s a daily chore tryin to do the right thing. Not because the right thing is hard to do—it ain’t. It’s just cause the right thing—well, the right thing’s got a way of eluding you. You give me a compass that tells good from bad, and boy I’ll be a soldier of the righteous truth. But them two things are a slippery business, and tellin them apart might as well be a blind man’s guess.”
“...and she's thinking of rage, like an ember or a burning acid swallowing up her knotted viscera. Blindness like the kind that leads men to perpetrate horrors, animal drunkenness, the jungles of the mind.”
“Sometimes you gotta bust apart to get yourself put back together.”
“In her own experience she's learned that happiness and sadness find their own level no matter what's biting you, mosquitoes or meatskins.”
“...you can't put nothing past these southern boys. They just sit around waiting for somebody to kill their brother so they can get started on some vengeance. It's like a dang vocation with them”
“All of a sudden, there is no hurry. There will be time for everything. For the breezes that blow and for the rainwater drying in the gutters, for Maury to find a place of safety in the world, for Malcolm to come back from the dead and ask her about birds and jets. For the big things too, things like beauty and vengeance and honor and righteousness and the grace of God and the slow spilling of the earth from day to night and back to day again.
It is spread out before her, compressed into one single moment. She will be able to see it all.”
“It don't matter, she says. It just comes from thinkin too much. That's why you can't slow down for long. You gotta keep your brain tired out so it don't start searching for things to dwell on.”
“The world, it treats you kind enough so long as you're not fightin against it.”
“He was here once before but that was in a different lifetime, when wonders were rare and announced—like amusement parks or school trips.
Now they are everywhere, for the delectation of those among the survivors who might be hunters of miracles.
And the beauty he looks over is fathomable only by a girl who would have felt the measure of it as deep as to her dazzled soul.”
“There is no pain - just travel.
On her knees, she stays still as a supplicant ready for communion. It is very quiet. All of a sudden there is no hurry. There will be time for everything. For the breezes that blow and for the rainwater drying in the gutters, for Maury to find a place of safety in the world, for Malcolm to come back from the dead and ask her about birds and jets. For the big things too, things like beauty and vengeance and honor and righteousness and the grace of God and the slow spilling of the earth from day to night and back to day again.
It is spread out before her, compressed into one single moment. She will be able to see it all -- if she can keep her sleepy eyes open.
It's like a dream where she is. Like a dream where you find yourself underwater and you are panicked for a moment until you realize you no longer need to breathe, and you can stay under the surface forever.
She feels her body falling sideways to the ground. It happens slow - and she expects a crash that never comes because her mind is jumping and it doesn't know which way is up anymore, like the moon above her and the fish below her and her in between floating, like on the surface of the river, floating between sea and sky, the world all skin, all meniscus, and she a part of it too.
Moses Todd told her if you lean over the rail at Niagara Falls it takes your breath away, like turning yourself inside out -- and Lee the hunter told her that one time people used to stuff themselves in barrels and ride over the edge.
And she is there too, floating out over the edge of the falls, the roar of the water so deafening it's like hearing nothing at all, like pillows in your ears, and the water exactly the temperature of your skin, like you are falling and the water is falling, and the water is just more of you, like everything is just more of you, just different configurations of the things that make you up.
She is there, and she's sailing out and down over the falls, down and down, and it takes a long time because the falls are one of God's great mysteries and so high they are higher than any building, and so she is held there, spinning in the air, her eyes closed because she's spinning on the inside too, down and down.
She wonders if she will ever hit the bottom, wonders will the splash ever come.
Maybe not - because God is a slick god, and he knows things about infinities. Infinities are warm places that never end. And they aren't about good and evil, they're just peaceful-like and calm, and they're where all travelers go eventually, and they are round everywhere you look because you can't have any edges in infinities.
And also they make forever seem like an okay thing.”
“She tells of moments when she would forget, when her own simmering evil would seem to dissipate and let through the clear spectacle of life. One had to be careful of those moments, because they were fleeting and intended not for her but instead for the delectation of other children of God. Or, if they were meant for her, they could break her heart as easily as mend it...”
“Pushing through some viney branches, she comes into a clearing andfinds a sight that makes her hush--and not just her voice but every part of her, like feeling silence in her deep guts...
It's something she can feel in the back of her throat, her dislike of the scene--as though what she's looking upon is unholy, the conjunction of chaos and order in a forced fit where everything is stretched and bent in the wrong way like those baby legs.”
“She thinks of James Grierson. His Kisses tasted like whiskey, and they landed right and true.”
“Some people, he says, they hide themselves away from the eyes of the world. They hunker down and shiver. They find four walls high enough to put between them and everything else. Those people, to them the world is a frightful place. See, you and me, we're different. When we are called on to move, we move. It don't matter the cause or the distance. Revenge or ministration, reason or folly - it's all the same to us.”
“She leaves him sitting there, glancing back just once before she goes through the stairwell door and observing how the cloud of smoke from his cigar gets pulled in wisps out the dark gaping hole in the glass wall--as though it is his soul, too large for his massive frame and seeping out the pores of his skin and wandering circuitous back into the wilderness where it knows itself true among the violent and the dead.”
“He nods, his eyes on her like he's reading a book he's just getting to the end of and can't be interrupted.”
“Dying is Easy , its Living that's hard”
“It makes people feel good to build somethin big. Makes people feel like they're makin progress, I reckon.
Progress toward what?
It doesn't matter. Up higher or down deeper or out farther. As long as you're movin, it don't matter much where you're goin or what's chasin you. That's why they call it progress. It keeps goin of it's own accord.”
“It has become something to her, that memory — something she can take out in dismal times and stare into like a crystal ball disclosing not presages but reminders. She holds it in her palm like a captured ladybug and thinks, Well ain’t I been some places, ain’t I partook in some glorious happenings wanderin my way between heaven and earth. And if I ain’t seen everything there is to see, it wasn’t for lack of lookin.
Blind is the real dead.”
“There are some things she doesn't like to think about because thinking about them takes up every part of her mind and body.”
“You Griersons are a touchy bunch. One minute it's biscuits and model ships and the next minute it's outrage and horror.”
“Hey, girl. You awake over there?"
"Yeah, I'm awake."
Just this seems to satisfy him for a minute. Confirmation of awakeness, the fraternity of insomniacs.”
“She leaves him sitting there, glancing back just once before going through the stairwell door and observing how the cloud of smoke from his cigar gets pulled in wisps out the dark gaping hole in the glass wall - as though it is his soul, too large for his massive frame and seeping out the pores of his skin and wandering circuitous back into the wilderness where it knows itself true among the violent and the dead.”
“What I mean is I done some things I don’t care to talk about. Little sister, anyone alive’s got a collection of those things. Maybe so, but it’s one thing to feel like there’s a few rotten things knocking around inside you like some beans in a can. But it’s another thing to feel like those things are what your heart and stomach and brain are built out of.”
“I bet I got places to go that I don’t even know exist yet.”
“They belong, Temple thinks. They have the stink of belonging wherever they go. This world is their world, and they take possession of every yard they cover, and they run the sun to its grave every night.”
“Terrific! Have you done Step Three?" He waggled his brows as he opened up the top left drawer of my dresser.
"No. Hey! Do you mind, Nosy Newton?"
"Are these panties?" he asked, holding up two of my thongs. "Because they look like dental floss to me."
Oh my God. My almost father-in-law was digging around in my lingerie. Embarrassment bloomed in my face. "Ruadan, get out of my underwear!"
"Fine," he said, closing the left drawer and opening the right one. "Oh! Lookie here!"
"If you touch that box," I said menacingly, "I will cut off your head with your own swords. And I'm not talking about the one on your shoulders."
He laughed, shutting the drawer. "You won't need a vibrator anymore. You've got Patrick." His gaze slid toward the dresser. "Unless you have different toys in there. Nipple clamps?"
"I… what… oh God." I fell onto the bed, curled into the fetal position, and covered my face.”
“What's the point of doing anything if nobody's watching?”
“Sweetheart, please don’t worry about me— I want to always be a help—You know I am all yours and love you with all my heart.”
“There’s life in his face again. It occurs to me that this is the best thing I could have done, it’s actually a great way to leave, because it’s giving Gavin the message that we haven’t been defeated, we are up for it, we’re young, we’re in control of our lives again, we can charge into the future with confidence. When we round the corner of the driveway I take his hand and we run down to the gate together.”
“[Cleopatra's] power has been made to derive from her sexuality, for obvious reason; as one of Caesar's murderers had noted, 'How much more attention people pay to their fears than to their memories!' It has always been preferable to attribute a woman's success to her beauty rather than to her brains, to reduce her to the sum of her sex life.”
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