April 2012

On Love #31

"I remember the pain. What you really forget is love." -Nora Ephron, "The D Word" from I Remember Nothing

Everyone Has Them

"'We do things, say things, that later we regret with all our souls…'" -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

"I have made it a rule of my life never to regret and never to look back. Regret is an appalling waste of energy, and no one who intends to be a writer can afford to indulge in it. You can't get it into shape; you can't build on it; it's only good for wallowing in. Looking back, of course, is equally fatal to Art. It's keeping yourself poor. Art can't and won't stand poverty." -Katherine Mansfield, "Je ne parle pas français"

"'I love that sound,' he mumbled into her hair. 'Blackbirds at dawn.'
'I hate it. Makes me think I've done something I'll regret.'" -David Nicholls, One Day

"To lie and regret the emergence from the womb as the umbilical cord is snipped, neatly, and the knot tied." -Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Laura: What does it mean to regret when you have no choice? It's what you can bear.
-The Hours

Resentment and Distaste

"…she felt so strong a distaste for her lonely, purposeless life that she was in no haste to go forth to meet another day of it." -L.M. Montgomery, "The Bride Roses"

"He also discovered that he was bitter and full of resentment, that he oozed resentment, and that he might easily kill someone, anyone, if it would provide a respite from the loneliness and rain and cold of Madrid, but this was a discovery that he preferred to conceal." -Roberto Bolaño, 2666 (Translated by Natasha Wimmer)

"There is no living being on earth at this moment except myself. I could walk down the halls, and empty rooms would yawn mockingly at me from every side. God, but life is loneliness, despite all the opiates, despite the shrill tinsel gaiety of 'parties' with no purpose, despite the false grinning faces we all wear. And when at last you find someone to whom you feel you can pour out your soul, you stop in shock at the words you utter — they are so rusty, so ugly, so meaningless and feeble from being kept in the small cramped dark inside you so long. Yes, there is joy, fulfillment and companionship — but the loneliness of the soul in it's appalling self-consciousness, is horrible and overpowering." -Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

For Faeries #1

"'But I heard all kinds of fairy sounds and each gave me an exquisite vanishing joy as I went up the hill. There is always something satisfying in climbing to the top of a hill. And that is a hill-top I love. When I reached it I stood still and let the loveliness of the evening flow through me like music. How the Wind Woman was singing in the bits of birchland around me — how she whistled in the serrated tops of the trees against the sky! One of the thirteen new silver moons of the year was hanging over the harbour. I stood there and thought of many, many beautiful things — of wild, free brooks running through starlit April fields — of rippled grey-satin seas — of the grace of an elm against the moonlight — of roots stirring and thrilling in the earth — owls laughing in darkness — a curl of foam on a long sandy shore — a young moon setting over a dark hill — the grey of gulf storms.
I had only seventy-five cents in the world but Paradise isn't bought with money.
Then I sat down on an old boulder and tried to put those moments of delicate happiness into a poem. I caught the shape of them fairly well, I think — but not their soul. It escaped me.
It was quite dark when I came back and the whole character of my Land of Uprightness seemed changed. It was eerie — almost sinister. I would have run if I could have dared. The trees, my old well-known friends, were strange and aloof. The sounds I heard were not the cheery, companionable sounds of daytime — nor the friendly, fairy sounds of the sunset — they were creeping and weird, as if the life of the woods had suddenly developed something almost hostile to me — something at least that was furtive and alien and unacquainted. I could fancy that I heard stealthy footsteps all around me — that strange eyes were watching me through the boughs. When I reached the open space and hopped over the fence into Aunt Ruth's back yard I felt as if I were escaping from some fascinating but not altogether hallowed locality — a place given over to Paganism and the revels of satyrs. I don't believe the woods are ever wholly Christian in the darkness. There is always a lurking life in them that dares not show itself to the sun but regains its own with the night.
"You should not be out in the damp with that cough of yours," said Aunt Ruth.
But it wasn't the damp that hurt me — for I was hurt. It was that little fascinating whisper of something unholy. I was afraid of it — and yet I loved it. The beauty I had loved on the hill-top seemed suddenly quite tasteless beside it. I sat down in my room and wrote another poem. When I had written it I felt that I had exorcised something out of my soul and Emily-in-the-Glass seemed no longer a stranger to me.'"
-L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

On Words #18

"'…but it seems to me there is something beyond words — any words — all words — something that always escapes you when you try to grasp it — and yet leaves something in your hand which you wouldn't have had if you hadn't reached for it.'"
-L.M. Montgomery, Emily Climbs

On Friendship #24

Claudio: Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love… -William Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing

Dreams and Dreaming #17

"'Being young, no doubt, you dream a-plenty.'" -L.M. Montgomery, "Abel and His Great Adventure"

Anne Shirley-ism #5

"'Of course we have a Tomorrow on the map…located east of Today and west of Yesterday…and we have no end of 'times' in fairyland. Spring-time, long time, short time, new-moon time, good-night time, next time…but no last time, because that is too sad a time for fairyland; old time, young time…because if there is an old time there ought to be a young time, too; mountain time…because that has such a fascinating sound; night-time and day-time…but no bed-time or school-time; Christmas-time; no only time, because that also is too sad…but lost time, because it is so nice to find it; some time, good time, fast time, slow time, half-past kissing-time, going-home time, and time immemorial…which is one of the most beautiful phrases in the world.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Windy Poplars

All That Glitters

"And the strongest feeling within me, if truth be told, is that which makes a sufferer curse those who do not suffer and seek to drag them down.  I confess that I so despise and envy your untroubled ignorance that I want finally to force upon you the truth of my words…." -Douglas Hill, "True Believer" from Hidden Turnings

"…when anybody says 'How future ages will envy me,' it is safe to say that they are extremely uneasy at the present moment." -Virginia Woolf, Orlando

"And I know what it feels like to want something, believe me.  I well know what desire feels like." -Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

"…The angels, not half so happy in heaven,
Went envying her and me-
Yes!— that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of the cloud by night,
Chilling and killing my Annabel Lee.…" -Edgar Allan Poe, "Annabel Lee"

Apemantus: Like madness is the glory of this life.
As this pomp shows to a little oil and root.
We make ourselves fools, to disport ourselves;
And spend our flatteries, to drink those men
Upon whose age we void it up again,
With poisonous spite and envy.
Who lives that's not depraved or depraves?
Who dies, that bears not one spurn to their graves
Of their friends' gift?
I should fear those that dance before me now
Would one day stamp upon me: 't has been done;
Men shut their doors against a setting sun. -William Shakespeare, Timon of Athens

On Beauty #2

"'Something pleasant happens to me most every day and that girl is today's pleasant thing.  I just feel real happy and thankful that there are such beautiful creatures in the world and that we can look at them.'" -L.M. Montgomery, "The Prodigal Brother"

At the Start

"…nothing seemed impossible in the beginning…" -Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

"'Now, too, the time is coming when we shall leave school and wear long skirts.  I shall wear necklaces and a white dress without sleeves at night.  There will be parties in brilliant rooms; and one man will single me out and will tell me what he has told no other person.  He will like me better than Susan or Rhoda.  He will find in me some quality, some peculiar thing.  But I shall not let myself be attached to one person only.  I do not want to be fixed, to be pinioned.  I tremble, I quiver, like the leaf in the hedge, as I sit dangling my feet, on the edge of the bed, with a new day to break open.  I have fifty years, I have sixty years to spend.  I have not yet broken into my hoard.  This is the beginning.'" -Virginia Woolf, The Waves

Richard: No matter what you start with it ends up being so much less.
-The Hours

Growing Up

"'That's the worst of growing up, and I'm beginning to realize it. The things you wanted so much when you were a child don't seem half so wonderful to you when you get them.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

"'You must pay the penalty of growing-up, Paul. You must leave fairyland behind you.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Anne of the Island

"She was beginning to learn how full of silent little tragedies life is." -L.M. Montgomery, Pat of Silver Bush

"For there is no bond more lasting than that formed by the mutual confidences of that magic time when youth is slipping from the sheath of childhood and beginning to wonder what lies for it beyond those misty hills that bound the golden road." -L.M. Montgomery, The Golden Road

"Altogether I had no regrets, I told myself sadly that growing up was not the painless process one would have thought it to be. -Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

"Isn't it true that you start your life a sweet child believing in everything under your father's roof? Then comes the day of the Laodiceans, when you know you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, and with visage of a gruesome grieving ghost you go shuddering through nightmare life." -Jack Kerouac, On the Road

"'I am growing up,' she thought, taking her taper at last. 'I am losing some illusions,' she said, shutting Queen Mary's book, 'perhaps to acquire others,' and she descended among the tombs where the bones of her ancestors lay." -Virginia Woolf, Orlando

On Happiness #35

"Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness." -Mark Zusak, The Book Thief

On Sadness #10

"…Now, years later, I wonder why no one could see my deep sadness, my desire to disappear.

Either I lied so well or they never looked at me, never saw, never wanted to see…."
-Kazim Ali, "New York City"

On Beauty #1

"To look almost pretty, is as acquisition of higher delight to a girl who has been looking plain the first fifteen years of her life, than a beauty from her cradle can ever receive." -Jane Austen, Northanger Abbey

Past and Future

"'All the ghostly joys of the past are haunting me — all the ghostly fears of the future.'" -L.M. Montgomery, Emily's Quest

"Rebellion flamed up in her soul as the dark hours passed by — not because she had no future but because she had no past." -L.M. Montgomery, The Blue Castle

"Was it impossible that the past should be able to injure the future irreparably?"
-Elizabeth Bowen, "The Inherited Clock"

"'The mind of man is capable of anything — because everything is in it, all the past as well as all the future. What was there after all? Joy, fear, sorrow, devotion, valour, rage — who can tell? — but truth — truth stripped of its cloak of time.'" -Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Past and Present

"To-night everything seemed to drift through her consciousness in a dreamy, jumbled procession of delight, big and little things, past and present, all tangled up together." -L.M. Montgomery, Magic for Marigold

"'I believe the present matters — not the past! The past must go. If we keep the past alive, we end, I think, by distorting it. We see it in exaggerated terms — a false perspective.'" -Agatha Christie, Hercule Poirot's Christmas

"…dreaming of the past which is, Mrs. Vallance thought, somehow so much more real than the present. But why!" -Virginia Woolf, "Ancestors"

"The past is slipping away and the present is a constant affront."
-Nora Ephron, "I Remember Nothing" from I Remember Nothing

"But no, the quest of time past is more difficult than you think, and time present is eaten up by such plaintive searchings. The film of your days and nights is wound up tight in you, never to be re-run — and the occasional flashbacks are faint, blurred, unreal, as if seen through falling snow. Now, you begin to get scared. You don't believe in God, or a life-after-death, so you can't hope for sugar plums when your non-existent soul rises." -Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

"…The past and present wilt — I have fill'd them, emptied them,
And proceed to fill my next fold of the future…." -Walt Whitman, "Song of Myself"                                                                                            (Section 51)

On Love #30

Rosalind: Love is merely a madness, and, I tell you, deserves
as well a dark house and a whip as madmen do: and
the reason why they are not so punished and cured
is, that the lunacy is so ordinary that the whippers
are in love too. Yet I profess curing it by counsel.
-William Shakespeare, As You Like It

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