Posts Tagged ‘good quotes’

Quotes I’ve Loved, 2014

“…I attempted briefly to consecrate myself in the public library, believing every crack in my life could be chunked with a book.”
– Barbara Kingsolver, The Poisonwood Bible

“…to this day there is something illusionistic and illusory about the relationship of time and space as we experience it in traveling, which is why whenever we come home from somewhere we never feel quite sure if we have really been abroad.”
– W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

“Darkness does not lift but becomes heavier as I think how little we can hold in mind, how everything is constantly lapsing into oblivion with every extinguished life, how the world is, as it were, draining itself, in that the history of countless places and objects which themselves have no power of memory is never heard, never described or passed on.”
– W.G. Sebald, Austerlitz

“Although 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

“The twenties are as frenetic a decade as the teens. You have a voice inside your head repeating I want, I want, I want,  but you don’t know what you want or how to get it. You hardly know who you are. You go on instinct. And your instinct mostly pushes you toward adventures you won’t grasp until you look back on them. Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward, some sage once said.”
– Erica Jongafterword, Fear of Flying

“What you imagine is what you remember, and what you remember is what you’re left with. So why not decide to imagine it a little differently?”
– Jennifer Dubois, A Partial History of Lost Causes

“‘Louis XVI was executed because they considered him to be a criminal, and a year later his judges were killed too for something. What is wrong? What is right? What must one love, what must one hate? What is life for, and what am I? What is life? What is death? What force controls it all?’ he asked himself. And there was no answer to one of these questions, except one illogical reply that was in no way an answer to any of them. That reply was: ‘One dies and it’s all over. One dies and finds it all out or ceases asking.’ But dying too was terrible.”
– Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

“History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
– James Joyce, Ulysses

“By eight Greg and I were in Truckee. By eleven we were still standing on the hot side of the road trying to hitch a ride to Sierra City.
‘HEY!’ I yelled maniacally at a VW bus as it whizzed past. We’d been snubbed by at least six of them over the past couple of hours. Not being picked up by those who drove VW buses made me particularly indignant. ‘Fucking hippies,’ I said to Greg.
‘I thought you were a hippy,’ he said.
‘I am. Kind of. But only a little bit.'”
– Cheryl Strayed, Wild

“What if I forgave myself? I thought. What if I forgave myself even though I’d done something I shouldn’t have? What if I was a liar and a cheat and there was no excuse for what I’d done other than because it was what I wanted and needed to do? What if I was sorry, but if I could go back in time I wouldn’t do anything differently than I had done? What if I’d actually wanted to fuck every one of those men? What if heroin taught me something? What if yes was the right answer instead of no? What if what made me do all those things everyone thought I shouldn’t have done was what also had got me here? What if I was never redeemed? What if I already was?”
– Cheryl Strayed, Wild

“I began then to think of time as having a shape, something you could see, like a series of liquid transparencies, one laid on top of another. You don’t look back along time but down through it, like water. Sometimes this comes to the surface, sometimes that, sometimes nothing. Nothing goes away.”
– Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

“Knowing too much about other people puts you in their power, they have a chain on you, you are forced to understand their reasons for doing things and then you are weakened.”
– Margaret Atwood, Cat’s Eye

“Let us think the unthinkable, let us do the undoable. Let us prepare to grapple with the ineffable, and see if we may not eff it after all.”
– Douglas Adams, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency

“I’ve had the sort of day that would make Saint Francis of Assisi kick babies.”
– Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul

“Works that have a certain imperfection to them have an appeal for that very reason — or at least they appeal to certain types of people. [. . .] You discover something about that work that tugs at your heart — or maybe we should say the work discovers you.”
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

“You’re afraid of imagination. And even more afraid of dreams. Afraid of the responsibility that begins in dreams. But you have to sleep, and dreams are a part of sleep. When you’re awake you can suppress imagination. But you can’t suppress dreams.”
– Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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Quotes I’ve Loved, Last Half of 2013

“Within me are the dark immemorial forces of the Evil One, human and pre-human; within me too are the luminous forces, human and pre-human, of God–and my soul is the arena where these two armies have clashed and met.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“Man is a frontier, the place where earth stops and heaven begins. But this frontier never ceases to transport itself and advance toward heaven.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“When you find yourselves in front of a beloved tomb, do not begin to weep. Keep ever in your minds this great consolation: Death is the door to immortality; there is no other door. Your beloved did not die–he became immortal.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“When the soul is willing, the body doesn’t mean a thing. All becomes soul, even the club in your hand, the coat on your back, the stones you walk over–all, all!”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“I don’t want to die. I don’t want to become immortal. Let me continue to live on the earth, and afterward, turn me into ashes.”
– Nikos Kazantzakis, The Last Temptation of Christ

“He could control her destiny now that she was dead, offer her the experiences she would have wanted, and provide drama for a life which had been so cruelly shortened. He wondered if this had happened to other writers who came before him, if Hawthorne or George Eliot had written to make the dead come back to life, had worked all day and all night, like a magician or an alchemist, defying fate and time and all the implacable elements to re-create a sacred life.”
– Colm Toibin, The Master

“He allowed himself to love these streets, as though they were a poem he had once memorized, and the years when he had first seen these colors and stones and studied these faces seemed a rich and valuable part of what he was now.”
– Colm Toibin, The Master

“‘The human race is unimportant. It is the self that must not be betrayed.’
‘I suppose one could say that Hitler didn’t betray his self.’
He turned. ‘You are right. He did not. But millions of Germans did betray their selves. That was the tragedy. Not that one man had the courage to be evil. But that millions had not the courage to be good.'”
– John Fowles, The Magus

“Nothing is stranger or more ticklish than a relationship between people who know each other only by sight.”
– Thomas Mann, Death in Venice

“Things somehow seem more real and vivid when one can apply somebody else’s ready-made phrase about them.”
Aldous Huxley, Crome Yellow

“Only love one person utterly and all the others will seem lovable too.”
– J.W. von Goethe, Elective Affinities

“When we see the many gravestones sinking down or being worn away by the feet of churchgoers and even churches themselves fallen in on their memorial stones, still life after death may seem a second life into which we enter as a picture with its caption and dwell there longer than in our real and living lives. But then that picture too, that second existence, fades sooner or later. As over people, so over monuments, Time maintains its rights.”
– J.W. von Goethe, Elective Affinities

“Few people are capable of concerning themselves with the most recent past. Either the present holds us violently captive, or we lose ourselves in the distant past and strive with might and main to recall and restore what is irrevocably lost.”
– J.W. von Goethe, Elective Affinities

Les Miserables Quote Dump

I’m making this because Les Miserables had just too many awesome quotes about things for me not to do this. Also, I’ve been in a HUGE quote-happy mood lately.

If you needed any more proof that Victor Hugo is a brilliant writer (and, really, still very relevant and quotable), here it is:

Social Awareness and Politics:
“One may feel a certain indifference to the death penalty, one may refrain from pronouncing upon it, from saying yes or no, so long as one has not seen a guillotine with one’s own eyes: but if one encounters one of them, the shock is violent; one is forced to decide, and to take part for or against.”

“Civil war–what does that mean? Is there a foreign war? Is not all war between men, war between brothers? War is qualified only by its object. There is no such thing as foreign or civil war; there is only just and unjust war.”

Traveling:
“What is more melancholy and more profound than to see a thousand objects for the first and the last time? To travel is to be born and to die at every instant.”

“So long as you go and come in your native land, you imagine that those streets are a matter of indifference to you; that those windows, those roofs, and those doors are nothing to you; that those walls are strangers to you; that those trees are merely the first encountered haphazard; that those houses, which you do not enter, are useless to you; that the pavements which you tread are merely stones. Later on, when you are no longer there, you perceive that the streets are dear to you; that you miss those roofs, those doors; and that those walls are necessary to you, those trees are well beloved by you; that you entered those houses which you never entered, every day, and that you have left a part of your heart, of your blood, of your soul, in those pavements.”

Religion:
“At the same time that there is an infinite without us, is there not an infinite within us? Are not these two infinites (what an alarming plural!) superposed, the one upon the other? Is not this second infinite, so to speak, subjacent to the first? Is it not the latter’s mirror, reflection, echo, an abyss which is concentric with another abyss? Is this second infinity intelligent also? Does it think? Does it love? Does it will? If these two infinites are intelligent, each of them has a will principle, and there is an I in the upper infinity as well as there is an I in the lower infinity. The I below is the soul; the I on high is God.”

“There is, as we know, a philosophy which denies the infinite. There is also a philosophy, pathologically classified, which denies the sun; this philosophy is called blindness.”

“There is no such thing as nothingness. Zero does not exist. Everything is something. Nothing is nothing.”

Love:
“Not seeing people permits one to attribute to them all possible perfections.”

Human Existence and Identity:
“That light called history is pitiless; it possesses this peculiar and divine quality, that, pure light as it is, and precisely because it is, and precisely because it is wholly light, it often casts a shadow in places where people had hitherto beheld rays; from the same man it constructs two different phantoms, and the one attacks the other and executes justice on it, and the shadows of the despot contend with the brilliancy of the leader.”

“. . . perhaps, in the vaguest region of his mind, he did make comparisons between the shifting horizon and our human existence: all things of life are perpetually fleeing before us; the dark and bright intervals are intermingled; after a dazzling moment, an eclipse; we look, we hasten, we stretch out our hands to grasp what is passing; each event is a turn in the road, and, all at once, we are old; we feel a shock; all is black; we distinguish and obscure door; the gloomy horse of life, which has been drawing us halts, and we see a veiled and unknown person unharnessing amid the shadows.”

“Who are we ourselves? Who am I who know address you? Who are you who are listening to me? And are you very sure that we have done nothing before we were born? The earth is not devoid of resemblance to a jail. Who knows whether man is not a recaptured offender against divine justice? Look closely at life. It is so made, that everywhere we feel the sense of punishment.”

“Our chimeras are the things which the most resemble us. Each one of us dreams of the unknown and the impossible in accordance with his nature.”

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