Posts Tagged ‘Ray Bradbury’

Quotes I’ve Loved, First Half of 2013 Edition

Sorry I’ve been less than awesome at updating lately. I’ve just been on a string of trips, because my teaching schedule is drastically reduced in the summer and I have time to travel. At the beginning of the month I was in Italy (Rome and Venice, if you were curious), then my brother visited me in Prague and we went to Munich with my roommate. I’m currently coming at you from a hostel in Budapest, where I’m typing on the stickiest keyboard I’ve ever experienced.

This is my last trip for awhile, I think (though on Monday if you’d asked me what my weekend plans were, they wouldn’t have included being in Budapest…), so there should be more posts soon. I’m currently about 3-4 books ahead of the blog. I just have to write them. But here are some of my favorite quotes I’ve read this year to tide you over till my next post. These are the quotes that have REALLY knocked me over, made me feel something, think about something, or at least stop and underline them. They’re the ones I’ve taken with me in this project.

 

“The most important thing I learned on Tralfamadore was that when a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past, so it is very silly for people to cry at his funeral. All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist.”
– Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

“As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the centre of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived.”
– Mario Puzo, The Godfather

“[. . .] memory is time folding back on itself. To remember is to disengage from the present.”
– Madeliene Albright, Prague Winter: A Personal Story of Remembrance and War, 1937-1948

“Like many others who have lived long in a great capital, she had strong feelings about the various railway termini. They are our gates to the glorious and the unknown. Through them we pass out into adventure and sunshine, to them, alas! we return.”
– E.M. Forster, Howards End

“[. . .] the music started with a goblin walking quietly over the universe, from end to end. Others followed him. They were not aggressive creatures; it was that that made them so terrible to Helen. They merely observed in passing that there was no such thing as splendour or heroism in the world.”
– E.M. Forster, Howards End

“A funeral is not death, any more than baptism is birth or marriage union. All three are the clumsy devices, coming now too late, now too early, by which Society would register the quick motions of man.”
– Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“This rehearsal will end, the performance will end, the singers will die, eventually the last score of the music will be destroyed in one way or another; finally the name ‘Mozart’ will vanish, the dust will have won.”
– Philip K. Dick, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

“Emotions, in my experience, aren’t covered by single words. I don’t believe in ‘sadness,’ ‘joy,’ or ‘regret.’ Maybe the best proof that the language is patriarchal is that it oversimplifies feeling. I’d like to have at my disposal complicated hybrid emotions, Germanic train-car constructions like, say, ‘the happiness that attends disaster.’ Or: ‘the disappointment of sleeping with one’s fantasy.’ I’d like to show how ‘intimations of mortality brought on by aging family members’ connects with ‘the hatred of mirrors that begins in middle age.’ I’d like to have a world for ‘the sadness inspired by failing restaurants’ as well as for ‘the excitement of getting a room with a minibar.’ I’ve never had the right words to describe my life, and now that I’ve entered my story, I need them more than ever.”
– Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex

“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.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“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.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“That light called history is pitiless; it possesses this peculiar and divine quality, that, pure light as 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 brilliance of the leader.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“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.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“Not seeing people permits one to attribute to them all possible perfections.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“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.”
– Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

“God, how we get our fingers in each other’s clay. That’s friendship, each playing the potter to see what shapes we can make of the other.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Way late at night Will had heart – how often? – train whistles jetting steam along the rim of sleep, forlorn, alone and far, no matter how near they came. Sometimes he woke to find tears on his cheek, asked why, lay back, listened and thought, Yes! they make me cry, going east, going west, the trains of far gone in country deeps they drown in tides of sleep that escape the towns. Those trains and their grieving sounds were lost forever between stations, not remembering where they had been, not guessing where they might go, exhaling their last pale breaths over the horizon, gone. So it was with all trains, ever.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Add up all the rivers never swum in, cakes never eaten, and by the time you get to my age, Will, it’s a lot missed out on. But then you console yourself, thinking, the more times in, the more times possibly drowned, or choked on lemon frosting. But then, through plain dumb cowardice, I guess, maybe you hold off from too much, wait, play it safe.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“So, in sum, what are we? We are the creatures that know and know too much. That leaves us with such a burden again we have a choice, to laugh or cry. No other animal does either. We do both, depending on the season and the need.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Death doesn’t exist. It never did, it never will. But we’ve drawn so many pictures of it, so many years, trying to pin it down, comprehend it, we’ve got to thinking of it as an entity, strangely alive and greedy. All it is, however, is a stopped watch, a loss, an end, a darkness. Nothing.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Is Death important? No. Everything that happens before Death is what counts.”
– Ray Bradbury, Something Wicked This Way Comes

“Coincidences happen, but I’ve come to believe they are actually quite rare. Something is at work, okay? Somewhere in the universe (or behind it), a great machine is ticking and turning its fabulous gears.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“Home is watching the moon rise over the open, sleeping land and having someone you can call to the window, so you can look together. Home is where you dance with others, and dancing is life.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why. Not until the future eats the present, anyway. We know when it’s too late.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“For a moment everything was clear, and when that happens you see that the world is barely there at all. Don’t we all secretly know this? It’s a perfectly balanced mechanism of shouts and echoes pretending to be wheels and cogs, a dreamclock chiming beneath a mystery-glass we call life. Behind it? Below it and around it? Chaos, storms. Men with hammers, men with knives, men with guns. Women who twist what they cannot dominate and belittle what they cannot understand. A universe of horror and loss surrounding a single lighted stage where mortals dance in defiance of the dark.”
– Stephen King, 11/22/63

“I believe the entire natural world is but the ultimate expression of that spiritual world from which, and in which alone, it has its life.”
– Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu, In a Glass Darkly

“I am firmly persuaded that a great deal of consciousness, every sort of consciousness, in fact, is a disease.”
– Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Notes From Underground

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Something Wicked This Way Comes

We need to talk about how much I love Ray Bradbury.

He’s just…I don’t know. He’s special, somehow. There’s something about him and his writing that just makes me feel things. I don’t even know how to put those feelings into words, really. I might try, but that runs the risk of this just turning into less of a “review” and more of a “Ray Bradbury is AMAZING” post. But I suppose there’s nothing wrong with that.

Basically, when I read most Ray Bradbury books, I feel like he’s my grandpa. I imagine him sitting in an old rocking chair, wearing a green terrycloth robe and brown slippers. I’m sitting at his feet, threading his shag carpet (because grandparents’ houses all have shag carpet, right?) and listening to him tell stories. All day. Because he’s telling me stories that help me understand life and make me confront tough ideas, but in a way that makes me feel safe.

Whenever I’m especially aware of my own mortality and feeling really freaked out about that, or whenever I suddenly realize “OH MY GOD, I’M NOT A KID ANYMORE, WHAT IS THIS?!?!?!”, I read Bradbury. It helps, somehow. It also (if I’m reading any of the Greentown stuff) makes me feel like I’m a 12-year-old boy. This is oddly comforting.

Anyway, Something Wicked This Way Comes was another make-me-feel-better-about-getting-older-and-my-eventual-and-inevitable-death book. It’s about two 13-year-old boys, Jim Nightshade and Will Halloway, who wind up pitted against the evil carnival that comes to town, complete with a carousel that can either add or subtract years from your life.

The idea of aging–and dying–is present throughout the whole book. Jim, more melancholy than his best friend, wonders what it’s like to be older. He wants to skip the awkward teenage years, it seems. Meanwhile, Will’s father (to me anyway) watches his son and his friend get to be boys and misses his own youth.

I related the most to the father, actually. Sometimes I have these moments where I’m suddenly aware that I’m, basically, an adult. It’s almost like some past version of me, some past consciousness, suddenly wakes up and is like, “Ummm…what’s with all the responsibility? What is this?!” These moments are always very brief, but for a few seconds it’s almost like I’m living a nightmare. Like suddenly I’m trapped in this adult body and I can’t do the things I used to do. I feel like that’s what Mr. Halloway is going through during the whole book. He watches his son and realizes that he isn’t a boy anymore. And it’s almost like it feels like a nightmare.

This horror, I suppose, is also connected with the carousel. Imagine being 12 or 13 and suddenly, you’re in an adult’s body. Horrifying, I think. Also, that’s sort of what growing up feels like at times.

So what I liked most about the book was watching Mr. Halloway come to terms with himself and, eventually, accept his age. He fights tooth and nail to save Jim and Will from aging on the carousel and, in the process, discovers a way to stop himself from aging, at least inwardly.

What I love about Bradbury is how simple his metaphors are. It’s incredibly easy and fun to get at the greater, more important meaning behind the story. Threaded through the scary story that kept me reading all day was something I needed to learn. But Bradbury didn’t just tell me what he wanted to teach me. He told me the story and let me figure it out for myself. Which somehow made the lesson that much truer.

What’s the lesson, you ask?

I could tell you. But I think instead you’ll have to read Something Wicked This Way Comes and decide for yourself. I wouldn’t want to spoil the fun for anyone else.

Rating: *****
But really, I’ll probably give five stars to everything Bradbury writes. It should really just be implied.

Oh, also, for several years, this song has been stuck in my head every time I read a book by Ray Bradbury. It really captures the, um, love, some of us fangirls have for him.
*Disclaimer: Contains swearing and is DEFINITELY NSFW

It comforts me to know that other people love him as much (well, more, I suppose) than I do. Except, you know, I think of him as my grandpa so, the whole, you know, sleeping with him thing is totally off the table.

 

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