“Christmas it seems to me is a necessary festival; we require a season when we can regret all the flaws in our human relationships: it is the feast of failure, sad but consoling.”
“One's life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read, and if I had never known love at all, perhaps it was because my father's library had not contained the right books.”
“They think my mother's ashes are marijuana.”
“I have never planned anything illegal in my life,' Aunt Augusta said. 'How could I plan anything of the kind when I have never read any of the laws and have no idea what they are?”
“People who like quotations love meaningless generalisations.”
“Politics in Turkey are taken more seriously than they are at home. It was only quite recently that they executed a Prime Minister. We dream of it, but they act.”
“Regret your own actions, if you like that kind of wallowing in self-pity, but never, never despise. Never presume yours is a better morality.”
“Human communication, it sometimes seems to me, involves an exaggerated amount of time. How briefly and to the point people always seem to speak on the stage or on the screen, while in real life we stumble from phrase to phrase with endless repetition.”
“The dead of an army become automatically heroes like the dead of the Church become Martyrs.”
“Switzerland is only bearable covered with snow," Aunt Augusta said, "like some people are only bearable under a sheet.”
“In the vision there is no morality”
“In the act of creation there is always, it seems, an awful selfishness.”
“In the act of creation there is always, it seems, an awful selfishness. So Dickens's wife and mistress had to suffer so that dickens could make his novels and his fortune. At least a bank manager's money is not so tainted by egotism. Mine was not a destructive profession. A bank manager doesn't leave a trail of the martyred behind him.”
“What did the truth matter? All characters once dead, if they continue to exist in memory at all, tend to become fictions.”
“I was afraid of burglars and Indian thugs and snakes and fires and Jack the Ripper, when I should have been afraid of thirty years in a bank and a take-over bid and a premature retirement and the Deuil du Roy Albert.”
“I think the reason lay partly in his idea of immortality, but I think too it belonged to his war against the Inland Revenue. He was a great believer in delaying tactics. “Never answer all their questions,” he would say. “Make them write again. And be ambiguous. You can always decide what you mean later according to circumstances. The bigger the file the bigger the work. Personnel frequently change. A newcomer has to start looking at the file from the beginning. Office space is limited. In the end it’s easier for them to give in.” Sometimes, if the inspector was pressing very hard, he told me that it was time to fling in a reference to a non-existing letter. He would write sharply, “You seem to have paid no attention to my letter of April 6, 1963.” A whole month might pass before the inspector admitted he could find no trace of it. Mr Pottifer would send in a carbon copy of the letter containing a reference which again the inspector would be unable to trace. If he was a newcomer to the district, of course he blamed his predecessor; otherwise, after a few years of Mr Pottifer, he was quite liable to have a nervous breakdown. I think when Mr Pottifer planned to carry on after death (of course there was no notice in the papers and the funeral was very quiet) he had these delaying tactics in mind. He didn’t think of the inconvenience to his clients, only of the inconvenience to the inspector.’ Aunt Augusta”
“I like to change my clothes as little as possible. I suppose some people would say the same of my ideas, the bank had taught me to be wary of whims.”
“La había escuchado con asombro y con cierta inquietud. Por primera vez advertía los peligros que me acechaban. Me sentí como arrastrado tras ella hacia una absurda empresa de caballeros andantes como Sancho Panza tras Don Quijote, sólo que en busca de lo que ella llamaba diversión, en vez de hidalguía.”
“A veces pienso que nuestra vida está hecha más por los libros que leemos que por la gente que conocemos: en los libros aprendemos, de segunda mano, qué es el amor y el dolor. Aun cuando tenemos la suerte de enamorarnos es porque nos hemos dejado influir por lo que hemos leído. Si yo no había llegado a conocer el amor, era porque en la biblioteca de mi padre faltaban los libros adecuados.”
“Quizá el sentido de la moral es la triste compensación que aprendemos a valorar como premio por la buena conducta.”
“Recordé el reloj con pulsera de oro de la señorita Keene, minúsculo como el de una muñeca, regalo de sir Keene por sus veintiún años. En su pequeña esfera contenía todas las cifras de las horas, como si todas ellas tuviesen la misma importancia y un deber especial que cumplir.”
“Ojalá pudiera reproducir con más claridad los tonos de su voz. A tía Augusta le gustaba hablar, le gustaba contar historias. Construía las frases con cuidado, como un escritor lento que prevé la fase siguiente y encamina hacia ella su pluma. Nunca dejaba suelta una frase, nunca interrumpía el hilo del relato. En su dicción había algo clásicamente preciso; o quizás sería más exacto decir anticuado. Las expresiones fuera de lo común (y a veces, debo admitirlo, chocantes) brillaban con tanto más resplandor sobre las viejas construcciones.”
“Freedom, I thought, comes only to the successful”
“New landscapes, new customs. The accumulation of memories. A long life is not a question of years. A man without memories might reach the age of a hundred and feel that his life had been a very brief one.”
“Poverty is apt to strike suddenly like influenza, it is well to have a few memories of extravagance in store for bad times.”
“You were dropped as a child, weren't you?" Varen asked her.
"Maybe once or twice," Gwen said, "but at least I wasn't raised by highly literate vampires who, every night just before bed, fed me a steady diet of dark sarcasm and gothic horror fiction."
"Every morning before bed," Varen corrected. Stepping forward, he moved toward the headstone. "We slept during the day.”
“Jonah has that strange look on his face. He must have another of Maryrose’s memories. Probably that she once sang a lullaby on a windy day. OR SOMETHING ELSE TOTALLY USELESS. “Is it about canoeing?” I ask, trying to be positive. He scratches his head. “It is! Maryrose was good at canoeing!” Oh! Yay! “Did she ever stop a boat?” “Yes!” he exclaims. Great! “How?” I ask. “With paddles!” he says. Argh. “Thanks for nothing, Maryrose’s memories!” I yell. “We have to stop this canoe!”
“There, there, baby!’ said Julian, patting his little sister on the back and laughing at her furious face.”
“We shall have to stay the night here,' he said, as if preparing to spend the night at an inn, and he proceeded to unfasten the collar-straps. The buckles came undone.
'But shan't we be frozen?' remarked Vasili Andreevich.
'Well, if we are we can't help it.' said Nikita.”
“New Song When the new king rules, it is new song time (Isa 42:10). It has always been new song time when the new king arrives and there is no more calling of the skilled mourners who know how to cry on call. The funeral is ended, for now it is festival time. It is time for the children and for all who can sing new songs and discern new situations. The old songs had to be sung in the presence of mockers (Ps 137:3). And they were an embarrassment because they spoke about all that had failed. But new song time is a way to sing a new social reality as the freedom songs stood behind every freedom act. The energy comes from the song that will sing Yahweh to his throne and Babylon to her grave. As Abraham Heschel has seen, only people in covenant can sing. New song time is when a new covenant inaugurates a new mode of reality.”
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