--Jose Saramago, Seeing
One can show no greater respect than to weep for a stranger.
--Jose Saramago, Seeing
Now she hates me. I have taught her that, at least.
--William Faulkner, Light In August
But there was a time when each of us stood naked before the world, confronting life as a serious problem with which we were intimately and passionately concerned... There was a time when Free Love versus Catholic Morality was a question of as much importance to our hot bodies as if a pistol had been clapped to our heads.
Further back, there were times when we wondered with all our souls, what the world was, what love was, what we were ourselves.
--T.H. White, The Once And Future King
There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outcarol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… Or so says the legend.
--Colleen McCullough, The Thornbirds
Well, and you may have lived in the courts of the Old Lord, and you were accounted beautiful, but I have been a man's wife and I have borne him sons, and you are still a slave.
--Pearl Buck, The Good Earth
It's not true that your life flashes before your eyes when you die. At least, not all of it. Some of your life might flash. Other portions of your life it might take you years and years to recall. That, I think, is the function of Hell: It's a place of remembering. Beyond that, the purpose of Hell is not so much to forget the details of our lives as it is to forgive them.
--Chuck Palahniuk, Damned
Pale as a candle flame in the dusk, tallow-pale, he stalked along, holding her hand, and Louie looked up and beyond him at the enfeebled stars. Thus, for many years, she had seen her father's head, a ghostly earth flame against the heavens, from her little height.
--Christina Stead, The Man Who Loved Children
When a child first catches adults out -- when it first walks into his grave little head that adults do not always have divine intelligence, that their judgments are not always wise, their thinking true, their sentences just -- his world falls into panic desolation. The gods are fallen and all safety gone. And there is one sure thing about the fall of gods: they do not fall a little; they crash and shatter or sink deeply into green muck. It is a tedious job to build them up again; they never quite shine. And the child's world is never quite whole again. It is an aching kind of growing.
--John Steinbeck, East Of Eden
When one has nothing left make ceremonies out of the air and breathe upon them.
--Cormac McCarthy, The Road
It all means more than I can tell you. So you must not judge what I know by what I find words for.
--Marilynne Robinson, Gilead
Nothing commonplace about The Common Place.