I read these and wished I could write.
‘To know clearly what you surrender, what you gain, and to have no regrets; to revisit without envy the scenes of a surrendered joy, and to taste it ephemerally once more, with a delight undimmed by the knowledge that it is momentary, that is happiness, that surely is freedom.’
– Iris Murdoch, The Bell –
‘And it might be absurd to us that one Iqbal can believe the breadcrumbs laid down by another Iqbal, genarations before him, have not yet blown away in the breeze. But it really doesn’t matter what we believe. It seems it won’t stop the man who thinks this life is guided by the life he thinks he had before, or the gypsy who swears by the queens in her tarot pack. And it’s hard to change the mind of the high-strung woman who lays responsibility for all her actions at the feet of her mother, or the lonely guy who sits in a fold-up chair on a hill in the dead of night waiting for the little green men. Amidst the strange landscapes that have replaced our belief in the efficacy of the stars, Millat’s is not such old terrain. He believes the decisions that are made, come back. He believes we live in circles. His is a simple, neat fatalism. What goes around comes around.’
– Zadie Smith, White Teeth –
‘And then I felt sad because I realised that once people are broken in certain ways, they can’t be fixed, and this is something nobody ever tells you when you are young and it never fails to surprise you as you grow older as you see the people in your life break one by one. You wonder when your turn is going to be, or if it’s already happened.
– Douglas Coupland, Life After God –
‘Everything was gone. But not everything. This sort of evil does not subside, this sort of evil grows as it feeds. They would turn to other villagers with their machetes swinging in dull whirrs of dark iron and if they could not slice the lips, ears, noses cleanly off or of they did not chop the hands, buttocks, legs cleanly off, if the flesh lung to the body by a string of bleeding desperate faith, their hands would grab in, nails digging in for a stronger grip, and pull, to tear it off. And then they would laugh and let the man, thus mutilated, live because they thought it was funny.’
– Ernest Bazanye –
‘What was it about this unlovable century that convinced us we were, despite everything, eminently lovable as a people, as a species? What made us think that anyone who fails to love us is damaged, lacking, malfunctioning in some way? And particularly if they replace us with a god, or a weeping madonna, or the face of Christ in a ciabatta roll – then we call them crazy. Deluded. Regressive. We are so convinced of the goodness of urselves, and the goodness of our love, we cannot bear to believe that there might be something more worthy of love than us, more worthy of worship. Greeting cards routinely tell us that everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time.
– Zadie Smith, White Teeth –
‘She didn’t read books so she didn’t know that she was the world and the heavens boiled down to a drop. Man attempting to climb to painless heights from his dung hill.
– Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God –