QUOTEoftheDay

Saturday
Jul202019

Elif Batuman

I found myself remembering the day in kindergarten when the teachers showed us Dumbo, and I realized for the first time that all the kids in the class, even the bullies, rooted for Dumbo, against Dumbo's tormentors. Invariably they laughed and cheered, both when Dumbo succeeded and when bad things happened to his enemies. But they're you, I thought to myself. How did they not know? They didn't know. It was astounding, an astounding truth. Everyone thought they were Dumbo

An amazing sight, someone you’re infatuated with trying to fish something out of a jeans pocket.

Even though I had a deep conviction that I was good at writing, and that in some way I already was a writer, this conviction was completely independent of my having ever written anything, or being able to imagine ever writing anything, that I thought anyone would like to read.

I didn't care about truth; I cared about beauty. It took me many years--it took the experience of lived time--to realize that they really are the same thing.

Your atom, I think it will never go back to peace, to cereal or rocks or anything like that. Once it has been seduced there is no way back, the way is always ahead, and it is so much harder after the passage from innocence. But it does not work to pretend to be innocent anymore. That seduced atom has energies that seduce people, and those rarely get lost.


Thursday
Jul182019

Andrew Sean Greer 

He kisses—how do I explain it? Like someone in love. Like he has nothing to lose. Like someone who has just learned a foreign language and can use only the present tense and only the second person. Only now, only you. There are some men who have never been kissed like that. There are some men who discover, after Arthur Less, that they never will be again.

Just for the record: happiness is not bullshit.

We are each the love of someone's life.

New York is a city of eight million people, approximately seven million of whom will be furious when they hear you were in town and didn’t meet them for an expensive dinner, five million furious you didn’t visit their new baby, three million furious you didn’t see their new show, one million furious you didn’t call for sex, but only five actually available to meet you. It is completely reasonable to call none of them.

So tell me gentleman, tell me the time and place where it was easy to be a woman.

How can so many things become a bore by middle age — philosophy, radicalism, and other fast foods — but heartbreak keeps its sting?


Wednesday
Jul172019

Tommy Orange

If you were fortunate enough to be born into a family whose ancestors directly benefited from genocide and/or slavery, maybe you think the more you don’t know, the more innocent you can stay, which is a good incentive to not find out, to not look too deep, to walk carefully around the sleeping tiger. Look no further than your last name. Follow it back and you might find your line paved with gold, or beset with traps.

The spider's web is a home and a trap.

We are the memories we don't remember, which live in us, which we feel, which make us sing and dance and pray the way we do, feelings from memories that flare and bloom unexpectedly in our lives like blood through a blanket from a wound made by a bullet fired by a man shooting us in the back for our hair, for our heads, for a bounty, or just to get rid of us.

She told me the world was made of stories, nothing else, just stories, and stories about stories.

Some of us got this feeling stuck inside, all the time, like we’ve done something wrong. Like we ourselves are something wrong.


Sunday
Jul142019

Eliza Griswold

We know Jesus taught that if someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to the left. We know that Mohammed was sacked from his village and stoned at Ta'if, but he quietly left for Medina.
If both of these men, beaten, and bloodied—the incarnations of their respective faiths—asked God to forgive their aggressors, then who were today's religious leaders to advocate holy war?

That such people could accomodate conflicting worldly labels... was a talent of postcolonial life, evidence of adaptation by people who have had many different categories foisted on them by outsiders.

Religious strife where Christians and Muslims meet is real, and grim, but the long history of everyday encounter, of believers of different kinds shouldering all things together, even as they follow different faiths, is no less real.

This year will take from me
the hardened person
who I longed to be.
I am healing by mistake.
Rome is also built on ruins.


Saturday
Jul132019

Rebecca Makkai

I believed that books might save him because I knew they had so far, and because I knew the people books had saved.

I might be the villain of this story.

Like a good American, I wanted to sue somebody. But like a good librarian, I just sat at my desk and waited.

And second, everyone is so weird, but they're all completely accepted. It's like, okay, you have a pumpkin head, and that guy's made of tin, and you're a talking chicken, but what the hell, let's do a road trip

And was friendship that different in the end from love? You took the possibility of sex out of it, and it was all about the moment anyway. Being here, right now, in someone’s life. Making room for someone in yours.

It's always a matter, isn't it, of waiting for the world to come unraveled? 

By then there had been other men. She'd flung herself at other closed windows. The windows never broke, but her heart, at the end, was in splinters.

I believed that books might save him because I knew they had so far, and because I knew the people books had saved. They were college professors and actors and scientists and poets. They got to college and sat on dorm floors drinking coffee, amazed they'd finally found their soul mates. They always dressed a little out of season. Their names were enshrined on the pink cards in the pockets of all the forgotten hardbacks in every library basement in America. If the librarians were lazy enough or nostalgic enough or smart enough, those names would stay there forever.

Friday
Jul122019

Richard Powers

Librarian is a service occupation. Gas station attendant of the mind.

The best arguments in the world won't change a person's mind. The only thing that can do that is a good story.

Evil is the refusal to see one's self in others

You can’t come back to something that is gone.

People aren’t the apex species they think they are. Other creatures-bigger, smaller, slower, faster, older, younger, more powerful-call the shots, make the air, and eat sunlight. Without them, nothing

What you make from a tree should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down.

When you're sure of what you're looking at, look harder.

We’ve learned a little about a few of them, in isolation. But nothing is less isolated or more social than a tree.

But people have no idea what time is. They think it’s a line, spinning out from three seconds behind them, then vanishing just as fast into the three seconds of fog just ahead. They can’t see that time is one spreading ring wrapped around another, outward and outward until the thinnest skin of Now depends for its being on the enormous mass of everything that has already died.



Wednesday
Jul102019

Shaun Tan

You discover how confounding the world is when you try to draw it. You look at a car, and you try to see its car-ness, and you’re like an immigrant to your own world. You don’t have to travel to encounter weirdness. You wake up to it.

Today is the tomorrow you were promised yesterday.

So you want to hear a story? Well, I used to know a whole lot of pretty interesting ones. Some of them so funny you'd laugh yourself unconscious, others so terrible you'd never want to repeat them. But I can't remember any of those. So I'll just tell you about the time I found that lost thing....

Sometimes the day begins with nothing to look forward to...

The Federal Department of Odds and Ends: sweepus underum carpetae.

It's funny how these days, when every household has its own inter-continental ballistic missile, you hardly even think about them. . . . A lot of us, though, have started painting the missiles different colors, even decorating them with our own designs, like butterflies or stenciled flowers. They take up so much space in the backyard, they might as well look nice, and the government leaflets don't say that you have to use the paint they supply.


Tuesday
Jul092019

Ken MacLeod

Change the problem by changing your mind.

I knew from the beginning it was hopeless, but it's possible to love without hope.

If you're interested, you'll be there.

There’s a part of the human brain, the temporal lobe, that is associated with religious experiences as well as with epilepsy.

The world has become one big grassy knoll, crawling with lone gunmen who think they're the Warren Commission.

White-hot needles stabbed through his eyes into his head, into his brain: a new environment for the information viruses, where they replicated, forming snarls of complex logic that entangled him, clanking mechanisms that pursued him from one thought to another, down corridors of memory and forgotten rooms of days.

Green humanism? What's that? Humanism for little green men.


Monday
Jul082019

Michael Swanwick

Writing is a matter of finding the appropriate balance of dinosaurs and sodomy.

Perfection is death,' Anastasia said. 'The world is imperfect, but if it weren't, who would love it?

The bureaucrat fell from the sky.

Art should be beautiful, not ugly. It should be uplifting and redemptive. Art reassures us that life is good and that, however bad things may look at the moment, everything works out for the best in the end.

So that, logically, in the brief time allotted to us, we should be as kind to one another as is humanly possible and face the harsh facts of reality without fear or flinching.

The mechanism thus created periodically acts out post-modern notions of cosmology and then deconstructs itself. It has met with great admiration and no little puzzlement.

My colleague and I are journalists. ... Not of the muckraking variety, I hasten to assure you! Corruption is a necessary and time-honored concomitant of any functioning government, which we support wholeheartedly.


Sunday
Jul072019

Greg Egan

Mathematics catalogues everything that is not self-contradictory; within that vast inventory, physics is an island of structures rich enough to contain their own beholders.

Death never gave meaning to life: it was always the other way round.

Is a stranger in a crowd less than human, just because you can’t witness her inner life?

All we can ever know about are the portraits of each other inside our own skulls.

I said, ‘The truth is whatever you can get away with.’ ‘No, that’s journalism. The truth is whatever you can’t escape.

Order my life. I’m nothing without you: fragments of time, fragments of words, fragments of feelings. Make sense of me. Make me whole.

Fleshers used to spin fantasies about aliens arriving to ‘conquer’ Earth, to steal their ‘precious’ physical resources, to wipe them out for fear of ‘competition’…as if a species capable of making the journey wouldn’t have had the power, or the wit, or the imagination, to rid itself of obsolete biological imperatives. Conquering the Galaxy is what bacteria with spaceships would do – knowing no better, having no choice.