“Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs and human hearts and dreams, are fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks.”
- Neil Gaiman
“People will be who they are and there is not enough magic in any world to change that.”
- The Sweet Far Thing by: Libba Bray
“And then eventually we meet someone who says, “You have a secret special skill.”
And you’re like, “I know! So do you!”
And they’re like, “I know!”
And then you’re like, “We should eat pizza ice cream together.” And that’s what love is. It’s this giant mound of pizza-flavored ice cream and delusion.”
- Mike Birbiglia, Sleepwalk With Me
"We all have that one song that whenever it’s being played your mind automatically flicks through memories, and usually they’re unwanted memories because they’re from the past. It may not be a distant past, but it sure as hell feels that way. Throughout the duration of this one song, your mind is somewhere else, with someone else and your left thinking about love; how easy it comes and how easy it goes."
“You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage,
but He is building a palace.”
- CS Lewis
"Date a girl who doesn’t read. Find her in the weary squalor of a Midwestern bar. Find her in the smoke, drunken sweat, and varicolored light of an upscale nightclub. Wherever you find her, find her smiling. Make sure that it lingers when the people that are talking to her look away. Engage her with unsentimental trivialities. Use pick-up lines and laugh inwardly. Take her outside when the night overstays its welcome. Ignore the palpable weight of fatigue. Kiss her in the rain under the weak glow of a streetlamp because you’ve seen it in film. Remark at its lack of significance. Take her to your apartment. Dispatch with making love .Let the anxious contract you’ve unwittingly written evolve slowly and uncomfortably into a relationship.
Find shared interests and common ground like sushi, and folk music. Build an impenetrable bastion upon that ground. Make it sacred. Retreat into it every time the air gets stale, or the evenings get long. Talk about nothing of significance. Do little thinking. Let the months pass unnoticed. Ask her to move in. Let her decorate. Get into fights about inconsequential things like how the fucking shower curtain needs to be closed so that it doesn’t fucking collect mold. Let a year pass unnoticed. Begin to notice.Figure that you should probably get married because you will have wasted a lot of time otherwise.
Take her to dinner on the forty-fifth floor at a restaurant far beyond your means. Make sure there is a beautiful view of the city. Sheepishly ask a waiter to bring her a glass of champagne with a modest ring in it. When she notices, propose to her with all of the enthusiasm and sincerity you can muster. Do not be overly concerned if you feel your heart leap through a pane of sheet glass. For that matter, do not be overly concerned if you cannot feel it at all. If there is applause, let it stagnate. If she cries, smile as if you’ve never been happier. If she doesn’t, smile all the same.Let the years pass unnoticed.
Get a career, not a job. Buy a house. Have two striking children. Try to raise them well. Fail, frequently. Lapse into a bored indifference. Lapse into an indifferent sadness. Have a mid-life crisis. Grow old. Wonder at your lack of achievement. Feel sometimes contented, but mostly vacant and ethereal. Feel, during walks, as if you might never return, or as if you might blow away on the wind.
Contract a terminal illness. Die, but only after you observe that the girl who didn’t read never made your heart oscillate with any significant passion, that no one will write the story of your lives, and that she will die, too, with only a mild and tempered regret that nothing ever came of her capacity to love.
Do those things, god damnit, because nothing sucks worse than a girl who reads. Do it, I say, because a life in purgatory is better than a life in hell. Do it, because a girl who reads possesses a vocabulary that can describe that amorphous discontent as a life unfulfilled—a vocabulary that parses the innate beauty of the world and makes it an accessible necessity instead of an alien wonder. A girl who reads lays claim to a vocabulary that distinguishes between the specious and soulless rhetoric of someone who cannot love her, and the inarticulate desperation of someone who loves her too much. A vocabulary, god damnit, that makes my vacuous sophistry a cheap trick.
Do it, because a girl who reads understands syntax. Literature has taught her that moments of tenderness come in sporadic but knowable intervals. A girl who reads knows that life is not planar; she knows, and rightly demands, that the ebb comes along with the flow of disappointment. A girl who has read up on her syntax senses the irregular pauses—the hesitation of breath—endemic to a lie. A girl who reads perceives the difference between a parenthetical moment of anger and the entrenched habits of someone whose bitter cynicism will run on, run on well past any point of reason, or purpose, run on far after she has packed a suitcase and said a reluctant goodbye and she has decided that I am an ellipsis and not a period and run on and run on. Syntax that knows the rhythm and cadence of a life well lived.Date a girl who doesn’t read because the girl who reads knows the importance of plot. She can trace out the demarcations of a prologue and the sharp ridges of a climax. She feels them in her skin. The girl who reads will be patient with an intermission and expedite a denouement.
But of all things, the girl who reads knows most the ineluctable significance of an end. She is comfortable with them. She has bid farewell to a thousand heroes with only a twinge of sadness.Don’t date a girl who reads because girls who read are the storytellers. You with the Joyce, you with the Nabokov, you with the Woolf. You there in the library, on the platform of the metro, you in the corner of the café, you in the window of your room. You, who make my life so god damned difficult. The girl who reads has spun out the account of her life and it is bursting with meaning. She insists that her narratives are rich, her supporting cast colorful, and her typeface bold.
You, the girl who reads, make me want to be everything that I am not. But I am weak and I will fail you, because you have dreamed, properly, of someone who is better than I am. You will not accept the life that I told of at the beginning of this piece. You will accept nothing less than passion, and perfection, and a life worthy of being storied. So out with you, girl who reads. Take the next southbound train and take your Hemingway with you. I hate you. I really, really, really hate you."
“You are so young, so before all beginning, and I want to beg you, as much as I can, dear sir, to be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the question now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
- Rainer Maria-Rilke, letter to Franz Xaver Kappus, 16 July 1903
“She was straight and strong, but now and then would fall bent together, shudder, and sit for a moment with her head turned over her shoulder, as if the wolf had got out of her mind onto her back." - The Day Boy and The Night Girl, George Macdonald
"Imagine those people packing up their suitcases right now ten years ago, sleeping, reading their children bedtime stories. Imagine how people do that every day of their lives in present day. Living life and then all of a sudden tragedy happens. This happens every day.
Last breaths are inevitable, life is uncertain."
“You must not ever stop being whimsical.
And you must not, ever, give anyone else the responsibility for your life.”
- Mary Olive
"And for just a moment I had reached the point of ecstasy that I always wanted to reach, which was the complete step across chronological time into timeless shadows, and wonderment in the bleakness of the mortal realm, and the sensation of death kicking at my heels to move on, with a phantom dogging its own heels, and myself hurrying to a plank where all the angels dove off and flew into the holy void of uncreated emptiness, the potent and inconceivable radiancies shining in bright Mind Essence, innumerable lotus lands falling open in the magic moth swarm of heaven. I could hear an indescribable seething roar which wasn’t in my ear but everywhere and had nothing to do with sounds. I realized that I had died and been reborn numberless times but just didn’t remember especially because the transitions from life to death and back to life are so ghostly easy, a magical action for naught, like falling asleep and waking up again a million times, the utter casualness and deep ignorance of it. I realized it was only because of the stability of the intrinsic Mind that these ripples of birth and death took place, like the action of the wind on a sheet of pure, serene, mirror-like water. I felt sweet, swinging bliss, like a big shot of heroin in the mainline vein; like a gulp of wine late in the afternoon and it makes you shudder; my feet tingled. I thought I was going to die the very next moment. But I didn’t die…" - On the Road by Jack Kerouac
"They were his friends, and his mother was wrong: they weren’t bad friends. Maybe, he thought, there aren’t any such things as good friends or bad friends— maybe there are just friends, people who stand by you when you’re hurt, and who help you feel not so lonely. Maybe they’re always worth being scared for, and hoping for, and living for. Maybe worth dying for, too, if that’s what has to be. No good friends. No bad friends. Only people you want, need to be with; people who build their houses in your heart." - Stephen King
"The belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness." - Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
“This pain, this dying, this is just normal. This is how life is. In fact, I realize, there never was an earthquake. Life is just this way, broken,
and I am crazy for dreaming of something else.”
- Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You
“I have dreamed in my life, dreams that have stayed with me ever after, and changed my ideas; they have gone through and through me, like wine through water, and altered the color of my mind.”
- Emily Bronte
. “When you are attracted to people, it’s because of the details. Their kindness. Their eyes. The fact that they can get you to laugh when you need it the most.”
- Jodi Picoult, Sing You Home
“‘I’d rather be happy and odd than miserable and ordinary,’ she said,
sticking her chin in the air.” - Good Night, Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
“Was I bitter? Absolutely. Hurt? You bet your sweet ass I was hurt. Who doesn’t feel a part of their heart break at rejection. You ask yourself every question you can think of, what, why, how come, and then your sadness turns to anger. That’s my favorite part.
It drives me, feeds me, and makes one hell of a story.”
- Jennifer Salaiz
“I have no advice for anybody; except to, you know, be awake enough to see where you are at any given time, and how that is beautiful, and has poetry inside. Even places you hate.”
- Jeff Buckley
“If you’re twenty-two, physically fit, hungry to learn and be better, I urge you to travel— as far and as widely as possible. Sleep on floors if you have to. Find out how other people live and eat and cook. Learn from them— wherever you go.”
- Anthony Bourdain