“Love is not sufficient. It never has been. Stories that claim otherwise are lies. There's always SOMETHING after happily ever after.”
“How much of life could he spend aching? Aching is not a stable condition; it must resolve into something”
“He fell in love with Manhattan's skyline, like a first-time brothel guest falling for a seasoned professional. He mused over her reflections in the black East River at dusk, dawn, or darkest night, and each haloed light-in a tower or strung along the jeweled and sprawling spider legs of the Brooklyn Bridge's spans-hinted at some meaning, which could be understood only when made audible by music and encoded in lyrics.”
“The truth is, anyone who puts so much of herself and her life into art as you do must naturally fear any failure in that art as a potential threat to your life. And so you protect your art more than you protect your health or the common forms of happiness the rest of us have. And you probably have this in common with every artist you admire.”
“She had burned through a fair sampling of manhood trying to find someone, not to make her "happy" - that wasn't the point - but to cauterize her relentlessly dripping wounds.”
“The strangest thing. I came to the end of other people so quickly. Each new person was like a glass of water, and at the beginning I was parched, but then each glass tasted a little worse, the water was grittier, and by the end even the first sip was enough to make me gag, you know?”
“All of this vain heartbreak that we cling to as important or tragic would one day be revealed - by TV scientists - for what it is: just behavior.”
“He considered her ruthless, in his moments of pain, but also in moments of happiness, experienced mere feet from her but bound right wrist to left ankle by her rules: nothing could evolve, nothing could be consummated, nothing repressed could surface, nothing previously accepted could be ignored. One must not speak of it, in case one could no longer sing of it. Instead, she only kept directing his attention to the wondrously charged air they could tame and make dance between them.”
“Offstage, she fixed him in place with compliments and ironic bossiness, and he tended not to look at her at all when they spoke. He was the only one in the band she called by name, implying a permanence to his position that was professionally reassuring but personally debilitating. When they wrote together or when one presented the other with something prepared in private, with no audience to absorb the excess, he felt the room crowding with their other selves, lives unled and correspondences unwritten, happiness opted against, and he could not believe she did not see it, too. He sweated to ornament her fears and tall tales and fake portraits, and with the remnants of his energy he hid the rest of himself from her. The best of him was a child's drawing of her on an off day.”
“He had no illusion that this was bittersweet or somehow necessary to make art. It just burned. Anyone who felt this would take their hand off the stove at once, but he was locked in position, inches from the source of his pain, for as far into the future as he could see, because if he was going to be a musician, if he was going to protect the one profound and real thing about himself, the one thing he loved besides her (but which only she made appear at its strongest), then he would be a fool to leave a singer who so obviously was going to go all the way.”
“But music is, at the very minimum, inflammatory, exclusionary, divisive, encouraging of snobbery and solipsism. ”
“But no, music lasted longer than anything it inspired. After LPs, cassettes, and CDs, when matrimony was about to decay into its component elements—alimony and acrimony—the songs startled him and regained all their previous, pre-Rachel meanings, as if they had not only conjured her but then dismissed her, as if she had been entirely their illusion. He listened to the old songs again, years later on that same dark promenade, when every CD he had ever owned sat nestled in that greatest of all human inventions, the iPod, dialed up and yielding to his fingertip’s tap. The songs now offered him, in exchange for all he had lost, the sensation that there was something still to long for, still, something still approaching, and all that had gone before was merely prologue to an unimaginably profound love yet to seize him. If there was any difference now, it was only that his hunger for music had become more urgent, less a daily pleasure than a daily craving.”
“Charm, amuse, inspire, tempt, overwhelm, dazzle. Will you earn reward? (195)”
“If music can ever restore a lost past, then this was the moment. Redemption! We do crave it. But music is different: we tolerate songs without redemption.”
“You’re going to have time to get bored, Maya. Take advantage of it to write down the monumental stupidities you’ve committed, see if you can come to grips with them,”
“It is not the man who has too little that is poor, but the one who hankers after more.”
“Misunderstanding of the dream. In the ages of crude primeval culture man believed that in dreams he got to know another real world; here is the origin of all metaphysics.”
“The rest of the morning would consist of checking on a pothole in the parking lot of the village clinic and writing up a schedule for the community centre that might finally settle the ongoing feud between the local quilting group and the bridge club.
It was good to be queen.”
“I tried to whisper sweet nothings into your ear but you're way the fuck over there and I'm way the fuck over here.”
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