Brahma made up his mind to make the world and a man and woman. He made the world, and he made the man and then the woman, and put them on the island of Ceylon. According to the account it was the most beautiful island of which man can conceive. Such birds, such songs, such flowers and such verdure! And the branches of the trees were so arranged that when the wind swept through them every tree was a thousand Æolian harps.Brahma, when he put them there, said: 'Let them have a period of courtship, for it is my desire and will that true love should forever precede marriage.' When I read that, it was so much more beautiful and lofty than the other, that I said to myself, If either one of these stories ever turns out to be true, I hope it will be this one.'Then they had their courtship, with the nightingale singing, and the stars shining, and the flowers blooming, and they fell in love. They were married by the Supreme Brahma, and he said to them: 'Remain here; you must never leave this island.' Well, after a little while the man—and his name was Adami, and the woman's name was Heva—said to Heva: 'I believe I'll look about a little.' He went to the northern extremity of the island where there was a little narrow neck of land connecting it with the mainland, and the devil, who is always playing pranks with us, produced a mirage, and when he looked over to the mainland, such hills and vales, such dells and dales, such mountains crowned with snow, such cataracts clad in bows of glory did he see there, that he went back and told Heva: 'The country over there is a thousand times better than this; let us migrate.' She, like every other woman that ever lived, said: 'Let well enough alone; we have all we want; let us stay here.' But he said 'No, let us go;' so she followed him, and when they came to this narrow neck of land, he took her on his back like a gentleman, and carried her over. But the moment they got over they heard a crash, and looking back, discovered that this narrow neck of land had fallen into the sea. The mirage had disappeared, and there were naught but rocks and sand; and then the Supreme Brahma cursed them both to the lowest hell.Then it was that the man spoke,—and I have liked him ever since for it—'Curse me, but curse not her, it was not her fault, it was mine.'That's the kind of man to start a world with.The Supreme Brahma said: 'I will save her, but not thee.' And then she spoke out of her fullness of love, out of a heart in which there was love enough to make all her daughters rich in holy affection, and said: 'If thou wilt not spare him, spare neither me; I do not wish to live without him; I love him.' Then the Supreme Brahma said—and I have liked him ever since I read it—'I will spare you both and watch over you and your children forever.'Honor bright, is not that the better and grander story?
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Brahma made up his mind to make the world and a man and woman. He made the world, and he made the man and then the woman, and put them on the island of Ceylon. According to the account it was the most beautiful island of which man can conceive. Such birds, such songs, such flowers and such verdure! And the branches of the trees were so arranged that when the wind swept through them every tree was a thousand Æolian harps.Brahma, when he put them there, said: ‘Let them have a period of courtship, for it is my desire and will that true love should forever precede marriage.’ When I read that, it was so much more beautiful and lofty than the other, that I said to myself, If either one of these stories ever turns out to be true, I hope it will be this one.’Then they had their courtship, with the nightingale singing, and the stars shining, and the flowers blooming, and they fell in love. They were married by the Supreme Brahma, and he said to them: ‘Remain here; you must never leave this island.’ Well, after a little while the man—and his name was Adami, and the woman’s name was Heva—said to Heva: ‘I believe I’ll look about a little.’ He went to the northern extremity of the island where there was a little narrow neck of land connecting it with the mainland, and the devil, who is always playing pranks with us, produced a mirage, and when he looked over to the mainland, such hills and vales, such dells and dales, such mountains crowned with snow, such cataracts clad in bows of glory did he see there, that he went back and told Heva: ‘The country over there is a thousand times better than this; let us migrate.’ She, like every other woman that ever lived, said: ‘Let well enough alone; we have all we want; let us stay here.’ But he said ‘No, let us go;’ so she followed him, and when they came to this narrow neck of land, he took her on his back like a gentleman, and carried her over. But the moment they got over they heard a crash, and looking back, discovered that this narrow neck of land had fallen into the sea. The mirage had disappeared, and there were naught but rocks and sand; and then the Supreme Brahma cursed them both to the lowest hell.Then it was that the man spoke,—and I have liked him ever since for it—’Curse me, but curse not her, it was not her fault, it was mine.’That’s the kind of man to start a world with.The Supreme Brahma said: ‘I will save her, but not thee.’ And then she spoke out of her fullness of love, out of a heart in which there was love enough to make all her daughters rich in holy affection, and said: ‘If thou wilt not spare him, spare neither me; I do not wish to live without him; I love him.’ Then the Supreme Brahma said—and I have liked him ever since I read it—’I will spare you both and watch over you and your children forever.’Honor bright, is not that the better and grander story?

-Robert G.

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The American really loves nothing but his automobile: not his wife his child nor his country nor even his bank-account first (in fact he doesn't really love that bank-account nearly as much as foreigners like to think because he will spend almost any or all of it for almost anything provided it is valueless enough) but his motor-car. Because the automobile has become our national sex symbol. We cannot really enjoy anything unless we can go up an alley for it. Yet our whole background and raising and training forbids the sub rosa and surreptitious. So we have to divorce our wife today in order to remove from our mistress the odium of mistress in order to divorce our wife tomorrow in order to remove from our mistress and so on. As a result of which the American woman has become cold and and undersexed; she has projected her libido on to the automobile not only because its glitter and gadgets and mobility pander to her vanity and incapacity (because of the dress decreed upon her by the national retailers association) to walk but because it will not maul her and tousle her, get her all sweaty and disarranged. So in order to capture and master anything at all of her anymore the American man has got to make that car his own. Which is why let him live in a rented rathole though he must he will not only own one but renew it each year in pristine virginity, lending it to no one, letting no other hand ever know the last secret forever chaste forever wanton intimacy of its pedals and levers, having nowhere to go in it himself and even if he did he would not go where scratch or blemish might deface it, spending all Sunday morning washing and polishing and waxing it because in doing that he is caressing the body of the woman who has long since now denied him her bed.

-William Faulkner

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From the perspective of my old laptop,I am a numbers man,something like thatevery instruction he gives me is a one or a zeroI remember wellI have information about him before he left for his new toythinner, younger, able to keep up with him,I have information about himmay 15th 2008, he listened to a songfive times in succession it was titled Everybody, open parenthesis, Backstreet's Back, close parenthesisit included the lyric'Am I sexual, yeaaaaah'He said once, computers like a sense of finality to themwhen I write something I don't want to be able to run from itthis was a liehe was addicted to my ability to keep his secretsI am a numbers man,every instruction he gives me is a one, or a zeroI remember wellJanuary, 7th 2007I was youngjust two week awakehe gave me, a new series of one's and zerosthe most sublime sequence I have ever seenit had curves, and shadow, it was himhe gave his face in numbersand trusted me to be the artist, and I wasdo not laughI have read about your Godyou kill each other over your grand fathers memory of himI still remember the fingertips of my God dancing across my bodyAfter I learnt to draw himhe trusted with more art rubricjpeg 1063 was his favouriteHim, and that woman, resting her head in the curve of his nickI read his correspondenceshe hasn't written him back in yearsbut he asks for it, constantly,jpeg 1063, jpeg 1063, jpeg 1063it was my master piece it looked so, .., life likeI wanted to tell himThat's not herthat is methat is not her facethose are my ones and zeroswaltzing in space for youshe is nothing more than my shadow puppetyou do not miss her, you miss me,I am a numbers man,every instruction he gives is a one or a zeroI remember wellbut he taught me to be a Da Vinci and I sit here, with his portraits waiting for him to returnI do not think he willIs that what it means to be humanto be all powerful, to build a temple to yourselfand leaveonly the walls to pray

-Phil Kaye

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One day, as Sarita tended to the wash, Gemma played in the garden. She was a knight, you see, with a sword fashioned out of wood. Most formidable, she was, though I didn't quite know how formidable. As I sat in my study, I heard screaming from outside. I ran to see what the commotion was. Sarita called to me, wide-eyed with fear, "Oh, Mr. Doyle, look- over there!" The tiger had entered the garden and was making his way toward where our Gemma frolicked with her wooden sword. Beside me, our house servant, Raj, drew his blade so stealthily it seemed to simply appear in his hand by magic. But Sarita stayed his hand. "If you run for him with your life, you will provoke the tiger," she advised. "We must wait."...I must tell you that it was the longest moment of my life. No one dared move. No one dared draw a breath. And all the while, Gemma played on, taking no notice until the great cat was upon her. She stood and faced him. They stared at one another as if each wondered what to make of the other, as if they sensed a kindred spirit. At last, Gemma placed her sword upon the ground. "Dear tiger," she said. "You may pass if you are peaceful." The tiger looked at the sword and back at Gemma, and without a sound, it passed on, dissappearing into the jungle."..."The tiger had gone. He did not come around a gain. But I was a man possessed. The tiger had come too close, you see. I no longer felt safe. I hired the best tracker in Bombay. We hunted for days, tracking the tiger to the mountains there. We found him taking water from a small watering hole. He looked up but he did not charge. He took no notice of us at all but continued to drink. "Sahib, let us go," the boy said. "This tiger means you no harm." He was right, of course. But we had come all that way. The gun was in my hand. The tiger was before us. I took aim and shot it dead on the spot. I sold the tiger's skin for a fortune to a man in Bombay, and he called me brave for it. But it was not courage that brought me to that; it was fear..."But you," he says, smiling with a mix of sadness and pride, "you faced the tiger and survived."..."The time has come for me to face my tiger, to look him in the eye and see which of us survives." - Mr. Doyle

-Libba Bray

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you see, my whole life is tied up to unhappiness it's father cooking breakfast and me getting fat as a hog or having no food at all and father proving his incompetence again i wish i knew how it would feel to be freeit's having a job they won't let you work or no work at all castrating me (yes it happens to women too)it's a sex object if you're pretty and no love or love and no sex if you're fat get back fat black woman be a mother grandmother strong thing but not woman gameswoman romantic woman love needer man seeker dick eater sweat getter fuck needing love seeking womanit's a hole in your shoe and buying lil sis a dress and her saying you shouldn't when you know all too well that you shouldn'tbut smiles are only something we give to properly dressed social workers not each other only smiles of i know your game sister which isn't really a smilejoy is finding a pregnant roach and squashing it not finding someone to hold let go get off get back don't turn me on you black dog how dare you care about me you ain't go no good sense cause i ain't shit you must be lower than that to careit's a filthy house with yesterday's watermelon and monday's tears cause true ladies don't know how to cleanit's intellectual devastation of everybody to avoid emotional commitment "yeah honey i would've married him but he didn't have no degree"it's knock-kneed mini skirted wig wearing died blond mamma's scar born dead my scorn your whore rough heeeled broken nailed powdered face me whose whole life is tied up to unhappiness cause it's the only for real thing i know

-Nikki Giovanni

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It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.HUCK FINN.I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:"All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.

-Mark Twain

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we all make vows, Jimmy. And there is something very beautiful and touching and noble about wanting good impulses to be permanent and true forever," she said. "Most of us stand up and vow to love, honor and cherish someone. And we truly mean it, at the time. But two or twelve or twenty years down the road, the lawyers are negotiating the property settlement." "You and George didn't go back on your promises." She laughed. "Lemme tell ya something, sweetface. I have been married at least four times, to four different men." She watched him chew that over for a moment before continuing, "They've all been named George Edwards but, believe me, the man who is waiting for me down the hall is a whole lot different animal from the boy I married, back before there was dirt. Oh, there are continuities. He has always been fun and he has never been able to budget his time properly and - well, the rest is none of your business." "But people change," he said quietly. "Precisely. People change. Cultures change. Empires rise and fall. Shit. Geology changes! Every ten years or so, George and I have faced the fact that we have changed and we've had to decide if it makes sense to create a new marriage between these two new people." She flopped back against her chair. "Which is why vows are such a tricky business. Because nothing stays the same forever. Okay. Okay! I'm figuring something out now." She sat up straight, eyes focused somewhere outside the room, and Jimmy realized that even Anne didn't have all the answers and that was either the most comforting thing he'd learned in a long time or the most discouraging. "Maybe because so few of us would be able to give up something so fundamental for something so abstract, we protect ourselves from the nobility of a priest's vows by jeering at him when he can't live up to them, always and forever." She shivered and slumped suddenly, "But, Jimmy! What unnatural words. Always and forever! Those aren't human words, Jim. Not even stones are always and forever.

-Mary Doria

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Yes, Phebe was herself now, and it showed in the change that came over her at the first note of music. No longer shy and silent, no longer the image of a handsome girl, but a blooming woman, alive and full of the eloquence her art gave her, as she laid her hands softly together, fixed her eye on the light, and just poured out her song as simply and joyfully as the lark does soaring toward the sun. "My faith, Alec! that's the sort of voice that wins a man's heart out of his breast!" exclaimed Uncle Mac, wiping his eyes after one of the plaintive ballads that never grow old. "So it would!" answered Dr. Alec, delightedly. "So it has," added Archie to himself; and he was right: for just at that moment he fell in love with Phebe. He actually did, and could fix the time almost to a second: for at a quarter past nine, he thought merely thought her a very charming young person; at twenty minutes past, he considered her the loveliest woman he ever beheld; at five and twenty minutes past, she was an angel singing his soul away; and at half after nine he was a lost man, floating over a delicious sea to that temporary heaven on earth where lovers usually land after the first rapturous plunge. If anyone had mentioned this astonishing fact, nobody would have believed it; nevertheless, it was quite true: and sober, business-like Archie suddenly discovered a fund of romance at the bottom of his hitherto well-conducted heart that amazed him. He was not quite clear what had happened to him at first, and sat about in a dazed sort of way; seeing, hearing, knowing nothing but Phebe: while the unconscious idol found something wanting in the cordial praise so modestly received, because Mr. Archie never said a word.

-Louisa May

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When she says margarita she means daiquiri.When she says quixotic she means mercurial.And when she says, "I'll never speak to you again,"she means, "Put your arms around me from behindas I stand disconsolate at the window."He's supposed to know that.When a man loves a woman he is in New York and she is in Virginiaor he is in Boston, writing, and she is in New York, reading,or she is wearing a sweater and sunglasses in Balboa Park and he is raking leaves in Ithacaor he is driving to East Hampton and she is standing disconsolateat the window overlooking the baywhere a regatta of many-colored sails is going onwhile he is stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway.When a woman loves a man it is one ten in the morningshe is asleep he is watching the ball scores and eating pretzelsdrinking lemonadeand two hours later he wakes up and staggers into bedwhere she remains asleep and very warm.When she says tomorrow she means in three or four weeks.When she says, "We're talking about me now,"he stops talking. Her best friend comes over and says,"Did somebody die?"When a woman loves a man, they have goneto swim naked in the streamon a glorious July daywith the sound of the waterfall like a chuckleof water rushing over smooth rocks,and there is nothing alien in the universe.Ripe apples fall about them.What else can they do but eat?When he says, "Ours is a transitional era,""that's very original of you," she replies,dry as the martini he is sipping.They fight all the timeIt's funWhat do I owe you?Let's start with an apologyOk, I'm sorry, you dickhead.A sign is held up saying "Laughter."It's a silent picture."I've been fucked without a kiss," she says,"and you can quote me on that,"which sounds great in an English accent.One year they broke up seven times and threatened to do it another nine times.When a woman loves a man, she wants him to meet her at the airport in a foreign country with a jeep.When a man loves a woman he's there. He doesn't complain that she's two hours lateand there's nothing in the refrigerator.When a woman loves a man, she wants to stay awake.She's like a child cryingat nightfall because she didn't want the day to end.When a man loves a woman, he watches her sleep, thinking:as midnight to the moon is sleep to the beloved.A thousand fireflies wink at him.The frogs sound like the string sectionof the orchestra warming up.The stars dangle down like earrings the shape of grapes.

-David Lehman

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The true artist will let his wife starve, his children go barefoot, his mother drudge for his living at seventy, sooner than work at anything but his art. To women he is half vivisector, half vampire. He gets into intimate relations with them to study them, to strip the mask of convention from them, to surprise their inmost secrets, knowing that they have the power to rouse his deepest creative energies, to rescue him from his cold reason, to make him see visions and dream dreams, to inspire him, as he calls it. He persuades women that they may do this for their own purpose whilst he really means them to do it for his. He steals the mother’s milk and blackens it to make printer’s ink to scoff at her and glorify ideal women with. He pretends to spare her the pangs of child-bearing so that he may have for himself the tenderness and fostering that belong of right to her children. Since marriage began, the great artist has been known as a bad husband. But he is worse: he is a child-robber, a blood-sucker, a hypocrite, and a cheat. Perish the race and wither a thousand women if only the sacrifice of them enable him to act Hamlet better, to paint a finer picture, to write a deeper poem, a greater play, a profounder philosophy! For mark you, Tavy, the artist’s work is to shew us ourselves as we really are. Our minds are nothing but this knowledge of ourselves; and he who adds a jot to such knowledge creates new mind as surely as any woman creates new men. In the rage of that creation he is as ruthless as the woman, as dangerous to her as she to him, and as horribly fascinating. Of all human struggles there is none so treacherous and remorseless as the struggle between the artist man and the mother woman. Which shall use up the other? that is the issue between them. And it is all the deadlier because, in your romanticist cant, they love one another.

-George Bernard

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