But sometimes...sometimes I wake with a mad thought in my head: What if that boy's life mattered as much as anyone else's, even Caesar's? What if I were offered a choice: to doom that boy to the misery of his fate, or to spare him, and by doing so, to wreck all Caesar's ambitions? I'm haunted by that thought - which is ridiculous! It's self-evident that Caesar matters infinitely more than that Gaulish boy; one stands poised to rule the world, and the other is a miserable slae, if he even still lives. Some men are great, others are insignificant, and it behooves those of us who are in-between to ally ourselves with the greatest and to despise the smallest. To even begin to imagine that the Gaulish boy maters as much as Caesar is to presume that some mystical quality resides in every man and makes his life equal to that of any other, and surely the lesson life teaches us is quite the opposite! In stength and intellect, men are anything but equal, and the gods lavish their attention on some more than on others.
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But sometimes…sometimes I wake with a mad thought in my head: What if that boy’s life mattered as much as anyone else’s, even Caesar’s? What if I were offered a choice: to doom that boy to the misery of his fate, or to spare him, and by doing so, to wreck all Caesar’s ambitions? I’m haunted by that thought – which is ridiculous! It’s self-evident that Caesar matters infinitely more than that Gaulish boy; one stands poised to rule the world, and the other is a miserable slae, if he even still lives. Some men are great, others are insignificant, and it behooves those of us who are in-between to ally ourselves with the greatest and to despise the smallest. To even begin to imagine that the Gaulish boy maters as much as Caesar is to presume that some mystical quality resides in every man and makes his life equal to that of any other, and surely the lesson life teaches us is quite the opposite! In stength and intellect, men are anything but equal, and the gods lavish their attention on some more than on others.

-Steven Saylor

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Closing The CycleOne always has to know when a stage comes to an end. If we insist on staying longer than the necessary time, we lose the happiness and the meaning of the other stages we have to go through. Closing cycles, shutting doors, ending chapters - whatever name we give it, what matters is to leave in the past the moments of life that have finished.Did you lose your job? Has a loving relationship come to an end? Did you leave your parents' house? Gone to live abroad? Has a long-lasting friendship ended all of a sudden?You can spend a long time wondering why this has happened. You can tell yourself you won't take another step until you find out why certain things that were so important and so solid in your life have turned into dust, just like that. But such an attitude will be awfully stressing for everyone involved: your parents, your husband or wife, your friends, your children, your sister, everyone will be finishing chapters, turning over new leaves, getting on with life, and they will all feel bad seeing you at a standstill.None of us can be in the present and the past at the same time, not even when we try to understand the things that happen to us. What has passed will not return: we cannot for ever be children, late adolescents, sons that feel guilt or rancor towards our parents, lovers who day and night relive an affair with someone who has gone away and has not the least intention of coming back.Things pass, and the best we can do is to let them really go away. That is why it is so important (however painful it may be!) to destroy souvenirs, move, give lots of things away to orphanages, sell or donate the books you have at home. Everything in this visible world is a manifestation of the invisible world, of what is going on in our hearts - and getting rid of certain memories also means making some room for other memories to take their place.Let things go. Release them. Detach yourself from them. Nobody plays this life with marked cards, so sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. Do not expect anything in return, do not expect your efforts to be appreciated, your genius to be discovered, your love to be understood. Stop turning on your emotional television to watch the same program over and over again, the one that shows how much you suffered from a certain loss: that is only poisoning you, nothing else.Nothing is more dangerous than not accepting love relationships that are broken off, work that is promised but there is no starting date, decisions that are always put off waiting for the "ideal moment." Before a new chapter is begun, the old one has to be finished: tell yourself that what has passed will never come back. Remember that there was a time when you could live without that thing or that person - nothing is irreplaceable, a habit is not a need. This may sound so obvious, it may even be difficult, but it is very important.Closing cycles. Not because of pride, incapacity or arrogance, but simply because that no longer fits your life. Shut the door, change the record, clean the house, shake off the dust. Stop being who you were, and change into who you are.

-Paulo Coelho

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A few years ago I spent Christmas and New Years alone. No family. No friends. No gifts. A little tree with some lights on it. A small Christmas dinner (in a can). Far from home but with a lot of good memories of it. I didn't feel too sad because I knew things would change for the better because I knew I would change them for the better. It was all up to me, not fate, or luck (although understand that those are big players in this game too). If I didn't like where I was at that moment I couldn't feel sorry myself and blame someone else, play the victim. I was the one who put myself there and I knew I was the one that had to change. So I did. See, misery is never very far away from us (it lurks around every dark corner) but neither is joy. You've got to roll with that black horse when it visits, ride that bitch out if you can but you've got to enjoy the hell out of the other too, when it chances to come your way. Above all, you've got to recognize joy when it shows up to dance with you and, sorry, that's not nearly as easy as it sounds. You've got to fight tooth and nail in this life to try and be as happy as you can with the circumstances you've been given. You've got to fight with every inch of your being for that and grit your teeth and stick out your chin while you're doing it too because although without a doubt it's the right fight to be in, it's going to be hard sometimes. So hard that maybe you'll be blind to everything else. Along the way however, always remember one thing: even though there are people out there in the world who will take the heart right out of you...there are those who will put it right back in again (let them). Learn to recognize who they are because that's something really worth knowing. But it's up to you in the end. It's up to you to embrace the wonders in this life and to deny the darkness (and there are plenty of both). Be strong, be brave, be kind, be noble and above all, slay your dragons and keep on moving. Don't stop. And finally, even if happiness forgets you for a little while, never completely forget about it. It's there waiting for the other to pass. Even in your darkest hour don't ever doubt that for a second.

-Noel James Riggs

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Did you ever think much about jobs? I mean, some of the jobs people land in? You see a guy giving haircuts to dogs, or maybe going along the curb with a shovel, scooping up horse manure. And you think, now why is the silly bastard doing that? He looks fairly bright, about as bright as anyone else. Why the hell does he do that for living?You kind grin and look down your nose at him. You think he’s nuts, know what I mean, or he doesn’t have any ambition. And then you take a good look at yourself, and you stop wondering about the other guy…You’ve got all your hands and feet. Your health is okay, and you make a nice appearance, and ambition-man! You’ve got it. You’re young, I guess: you’d call thirty young, and you’re strong. You don’t have much education, but you’ve got more than plenty of other people who go to the top. And yet with all that, with all you’ve had to do with this is as far you’ve got And something tellys you, you’re not going much farther if any.And there is nothing to be done about it now, of course, but you can’t stop hoping. You can’t stop wondering……Maybe you had too much ambition. Maybe that was the trouble. You couldn’t see yourself spending forty years moving from office boy to president. So you signed on with a circulation crew; you worked the magazines from one coast to another. And then you ran across a little brush deal-it sounded nice, anyway. And you worked that until you found something better, something that looked better. And you moved from that something to another something. Coffee-and-tea premiums, dinnerware, penny-a-day insurance, photo coupons, cemetery lots, hosiery, extract, and God knows what all. You begged for the charities, You bought the old gold. You went back to the magazines and the brushes and the coffee and tea. You made good money, a couple of hundred a week sometimes. But when you averaged it up, the good weeks with the bad, it wasn’t so good. Fifty or sixty a week, maybe seventy. More than you could make, probably, behind agas pump or a soda fountain. But you had to knock yourself out to do it, and you were standing stil. You were still there at the starting place. And you weren’t a kid any more.So you come to this town, and you see this ad. Man for outside sales and collections. Good deal for hard worker. And you think maybe this is it. This sounds like a right town. So you take the job, and you settle down in the town. And, of course, neither one of ‘em is right, they’re just like all the others. The job stinks. The town stinks. You stink. And there’s not a goddamned thing you can do about it. All you can do is go on like this other guys go on. The guy giving haircuts to dogs, and the guy sweeping up horse manute Hating it. Hating yourself.And hoping.

-Jim Thompson

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I'm just asking you to accept that there are some people who will go to extraordinary lengths to cover up the facts that they are abusing children.What words are there to describe what happened to me, what was done to me? Some call it ritual abuse, others call it organised abuse. There are those that call it satanic. I've heard all the phrases, not just in relation to me, but also with regard to those I work with and try to help. Do you know what I think? It doesn't matter how you dress it up, it doesn't matter what label you put on it. It is abuse, pure and simple. It is adults abusing children. It is adults deciding - actually making a conscious decision, a conscious choices that what they want, what they convince themselves they need, is more important than anything else; certainly more important than the safety or feelings or sanity of a child.However, there can be differences which are layered on top of that abuse. I'm not saying that some abuse is worse than others, or that someone 'wins' the competition to have the worst abuse inflicted on them, but ritual and organised abuse is at the extreme end of the spectrum. If we try to think of a continuum where there are lots of different things imposed on children (or, for that matter, anyone who is forced into these things — and that force can take many forms, it can be threats and promises, as well as kicks and punches), then ritual and organised abuse is intense and complicated.It often involves multiple abusers of both sexes. There can be extreme violence, mind control, systematic torture and even, in some cases, a complex belief system which is sometimes described as religion. I say 'described as' religion because, to me, I think that when this aspect is involved, it is window dressing. I'm not religious. I cried many times for God to save me. I was always ignored — how could I believe? However, I think that ritual abusers who do use religious imagery or 'beliefs' are doing so to justify it all to themselves, or to confuse the victim, or to hide their activities. Ritual abuse is highly organised and, obviously, secretive. It is often linked with other major crimes such as child pornography, child prostitution, the drugs industry, trafficking, and many other illegal and heinous activities. Ritual abuse is organised sexual, physical and psychological abuse, which can be systematic and sustained over a long period of time. It involves the use of rituals - things which the abusers 'need' to do, or 'need' to have in place - but it doesn't have to have a belief system. There doesn't have to be God or the Devil, or any other deity for it to be considered 'ritual'. It involves using patterns of learning and development to keep the abuse going and to make sure the child stays quiet.

-Laurie Matthew

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like other women i never look at me so closely.there was once a friend of mine who compliment me with simple way-' how you do this? so same slim way i am watching from our teens--and look at me,i do so much..but can not make it in shape..'my friend was sounding helpless.first time i got to know my figure is attractive in a girl's view.second one my mother.she was like watching me very first time -her fingers are too long and beautiful''-i looked back to her voice.she continued -'yes .i never noticed before ..'' i used to heard very ugly comment about my skin color or my may be i never meet the right person who looked at and say- you are beautiful'.is it necessary ?psychology of a person takes a shape on various conditions . one is the truth. you must know the truth.now when i look at me i get surprised - why i never got the truth? and on that basis i thought on society no one will have love for me .so whatever is coming on my way that is only i deserve.it is surprise for me- i had no idea about of myself.all my mistakes done by based on my misconception .and if something good came to me- i started to think no i dont deserve this.because i can not make any one happy.a child need truth about her quality and beauty .that is one tool to make her decision correct .if childhood injected by ugly racist false impression can have big impact . sometimes a child can be talented in various ways,and people don't appreciate because they don't say the truth.because of jealousy or ignorance .society has this racist attitude which destroy many life to grow in correct manner.as a normal human being i always looked at me as people make me to see,and i was not enough educated psychologically that i am taking myself the skin of a death opinion .life has given me a lesson ..is it late to know i am talented ?or i am beautiful?or i can be loved by equally much more talented people than me?perhaps no.i am late.but happy to know the truth.because of the sentence ''you dont ask for more,you are ugly,black''helped me to take wrong decisions .why i am writing this?because life ask me to so.that no one who is talented beautiful by heart do feel less than anything she dream for.today i looked at me - i am in pain,love,pampered by destiny,and i feel 'yes i deserve to be one part of this world. this is a story of a life what is happening this moment somewhere else.no one should think less about themselves.

-Lity Munshi

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Did you know I always thought you were braver than me? Did you ever guess that that was why I was so afraid? It wasn't that I only loved some of you. But I wondered if you could ever love more than some of me. I knew I'd miss you. But the surprising thing is, you never leave me. I never forget a thing. Every kind of love, it seems, is the only one. It doesn't happen twice. And I never expected that you could have a broken heart and love with it too, so much that it doesn't seem broken at all. I know young people look at me and think my youth seems so far away, but it's all around me, and you're all around me. Tiger Lily, do you think magic exists if it can be explained? I can explain why I loved you, I can explain the theory of evolution that tells me why mermaids live in Neverland and nowhere else. But it still feels magic. The lost boys all stood at our wedding. Does it seem odd to you that they could have stood at a wedding that wasn't yours and mine? It does to me. and I'm sorry for it, and for a lot, and I also wouldn't change it. It is so quiet here. Even with all the trains and the streets and the people. It's nothing like the jungle. The boys have grown. Everything has grown. Do you think you will ever grow? I hope not. I like to think that even if I change and fade away, some other people won't. I like to think that one day after I die, at least one small particle of me - of all the particles that will spread everywhere - will float all the way to Neverland, and be part of a flower or something like that, like that poet said, the one that your Tik Tok loved. I like to think that nothing's final, and that everyone gets to be together even when it looks like they don't, that it all works out even when all the evidence seems to say something else, that you and I are always young in the woods, and that I'll see you sometime again, even if it's not with any kind of eyes I know of or understand. I wouldn't be surprised if that is the way things go after all - that all things end happy. Even for you and Tik Tok. and for you and me.Always, Your PeterP.S. Please give my love to Tink. She was always such a funny little bug.

-Jodi Lynn

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Seven years ago tonight, every dream I ever had came true. That's not something too many men get to claim. I'm very lucky, blessed, whichever you believe. Probably a lot of both. Tonight marks the anniversay of my debut performance at Caesars Palace." On his cue, the crowd whipped into congratulatory rapture.Blindsided by his recollection, Isabel was motionless. That's what he recalls happening on this date? "Indulgent, lazy, self-centered ... jerk!" she said, grabbing her purse, thinking she'd climb over the seat. "I'm going home!" Before she could turn, hoisting herself over, a spotlight landed on her. In the darkened arena Aidan and Isabel were face-to-face. He stared. The same way he did years ago in his pickup truck, holding tight to her wrist, the same way he did on the dance floor at the gala. The same way he did the moment she left him."If you can believe it," he said, still staring, "something even more improtant happened that day. As dreams of fame and fortune go, this topped everything. I've always known that." Then, in a softer voice: "And I'm a fool because I should have never given up." Even from her vantage point, Isabel could see the gulp roll through his throat. "It's my great privilege this evening to introduce my wife, Isabel Royce." He gestured to the box. Isabel responded by sinking to her seat."What's he talking about?" she hissed to Mary Louise. "We're divorced!" From her right, Tanya nudged her. It was like being on a palace balcony, Isabel offering a deer-in-the-headlights wave to the subjects, a thoroughly baffled look at Aidan. In return, he smiled at her clear confusion."My wife ...""Why is he calling me that?"There was a mixed reaction, lots of gasps, some applause, and the disappointed groans of female fans. "She's done me the tremendous honor of making a rare appearance at one of my shows. Seven years ago, she agreed to marry me. At the time, my life was more trouble than promise. We were just two scared kids who had nothing but each other. Really, it was all I needed. We were married in true Vegas fashion." Hoots and hollers echoed, his glance dropping to the stage floor. Sharing this was making the performer uncomfortable. He pushed on. "While most women would have been satisfied with a ring ..." His long fingers fluttered over the snake. "This was Isabel's idea of a permanent bond." It drew a wave of subtle laughter, Isabel included "Do you remember how the story went?" he said, speaking only to Isabel in a crow of thousands. "As long as I had it, I'd never be without you. Turns out, it wasn't a story, it was the absolute truth. Lately though," he said, turning back to his public narrative, "circumstance, some serious, some calculated, has prevented me from getting my wife's attention. So tonight I resorted to an old performer's trick, a captive audience. I planned this moment, Isabel, knowing you'd be here. Regardless of anything you may believe, I meant what I said on our wedding night, in the moment I said it. I love you. I always have.

-Laura Spinella

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1. Myth: Without God, life has no meaning. There are 1.2 billion Chinese who have no predominant religion, and 1 billion people in India who are predominantly Hindu. And 65% of Japan's 127 million people claim to be non-believers. It is laughable to suggest that none of these billions of people are leading meaningful lives.2. Myth: Prayer works. Studies have now shown that inter-cessionary prayer has no effect whatsoever of the health or well-being of the subject.3. Myth: Atheists are immoral.There are hundreds of millions of non-believers on the planet living normal, decent, moral lives. They love their children, care about others, obey laws, and try to keep from doing harm to others just like everyone else. In fact, in predominantly non-believing countries such as in northern Europe, measures of societal health such as life expectancy at birth, adult literacy, per capita income, education, homicide, suicide, gender equality, and political coercion are better than they are in believing societies.4. Myth: Belief in God is compatible with science. In the past, every supernatural or paranormal explanation of phenomena that humans believed turned out to be mistaken; science has always found a physical explanation that revealed that the supernatural view was a myth. Modern organisms evolved from lower life forms, they weren't created 6,000 years ago in the finished state. Fever is not caused by demon possession. Bad weather is not the wrath of angry gods. Miracle claims have turned out to be mistakes, frauds, or deceptions. We have every reason to conclude that science will continue to undermine the superstitious worldview of religion.5. Myth: We have immortal souls that survive death.We have mountains of evidence that makes it clear that our consciousness, our beliefs, our desires, our thoughts all depend upon the proper functioning of our brains our nervous systems to exist. So when the brain dies, all of these things that we identify with the soul also cease to exist. Despite the fact that billions of people have lived and died on this planet, we do not have a single credible case of someone's soul, or consciousness, or personality continuing to exist despite the demise of their bodies.6. Myth: If there is no God, everything is permitted.Consider the billions of people in China, India, and Japan above. If this claim was true, none of them would be decent moral people. So Ghandi, the Buddha, and Confucius, to name only a few were not moral people on this view.7. Myth: Believing in God is not a cause of evil.The examples of cases where it was someone's belief in God that was the justification for their evils on humankind are too numerous to mention.8. Myth: God explains the origins of the universe.All of the questions that allegedly plague non-God attempts to explain our origins still apply to the faux explanation of God. The suggestion that God created everything does not make it any clearer to us where it all came from, how he created it, why he created it, where it is all going. In fact, it raises even more difficult mysteries: how did God, operating outside the confines of space, time, and natural law 'create' or 'build' a universe that has physical laws? We have no precedent and maybe no hope of answering or understanding such a possibility. What does it mean to say that some disembodied, spiritual being who knows everything and has all power, 'loves' us, or has thoughts, or goals, or plans?9. Myth: There's no harm in believing in God.Religious views inform voting, how they raise their children, what they think is moral and immoral, what laws and legislation they pass, who they are friends and enemies with, what companies they invest in, where they donate to charities, who they approve and disapprove of, who they are willing to kill or tolerate, what crimes they are willing to commit, and which wars they are willing to fight.

-Matt McCormick

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I would like [my readers] to better understand human beings and human life as a result of having read [my] stories. I'd like them to feel that this was an experience that made things better for them and an experience that gave them hope. I think that the kind of things that we talk about at this conference -- fantasy very much so, science fiction, and even horror -- the message that we're sending is the reverse of the message sent by what is called "realistic fiction." (I happen to think that realistic fiction is not, in fact, realistic, but that's a side issue.) And what we are saying is that it doesn't have to be like this: things can be different. Our society can be changed. Maybe it's worse, maybe it's better. Maybe it's a higher civilization, maybe it's a barbaric civilization. But it doesn't have to be the way it is now. Things can change. And we're also saying things can change for you in your life. Look at the difference between Severian the apprentice and Severian the Autarch [in The Book of the New Sun], for example. The difference beteween Silk as an augur and Silk as calde [in The Book of the Long Sun]. You see?We don't always have to be this. There can be something else. We can stop doing the thing that we're doing. Moms Mabley had a great line in some movie or other -- she said, "You keep on doing what you been doing and you're gonna keep on gettin' what you been gettin'." And we don't have to keep on doing what we've been doing. We can do something else if we don't like what we're gettin'. I think a lot of the purpose of fiction ought to be to tell people that.

-Gene Wolfe

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in your face I seem to read some trouble of mind. When you came in I read it, and that was why I addressed you at once. For in unfolding to you the story of my life, I do not wish to make myself a laughing-stock before these idle listeners, who indeed know all about it already, but I am looking for a man of feeling and education. Know then that my wife was educated in a high-class school for the daughters of noblemen, and on leaving, she danced the shawl dance before the governor and other personages for which she was presented with a gold medal and a certificate of merit. The medal … well, the medal of course was sold—long ago, hm … but the certificate of merit is in her trunk still and not long ago she showed it to our landlady. And although she is most continually on bad terms with the landlady, yet she wanted to tell some one or other of her past honours and of the happy days that are gone. I don’t condemn her for it. I don’t blame her, for the one thing left her is recollection of the past, and all the rest is dust and ashes. Yes, yes, she is a lady of spirit, proud and determined. She scrubs the floors herself and has nothing but black bread to eat, but won’t allow herself to be treated with disrespect. That’s why she would not overlook Mr. Lebeziatnikov’s rudeness to her, and so when he gave her a beating for it, she took to her bed more from the hurt to her feelings than from the blows. She was a widow when I married her, with three children, one smaller than the other. She married her first husband, an infantry officer, for love, and ran away with him from her father’s house. She was exceedingly fond of her husband; but he gave way to cards, got into trouble and with that he died. He used to beat her at the end: and although she paid him back, of which I have authentic documentary evidence, to this day she speaks of him with tears and she throws him up at me; and I am glad, I am glad that, though only in imagination, she should think of herself as having once been happy.… And she was left at his death with three children in a wild and remote district where I happened to be at the time; and she was left in such hopeless poverty that, although I have seen many ups and downs of all sorts, I don’t feel equal to describing it even. Her relations had all thrown her off. And she was proud, too, excessively proud.… And then, honoured sir, and then, I, being at the time a widower, with a daughter of fourteen left me by my first wife, offered her my hand, for I could not bear the sight of such suffering. You can judge the extremity of her calamities, that she, a woman of education and culture and distinguished family, should have consented to be my wife. But she did! Weeping and sobbing and wringing her hands, she married me! For she had nowhere to turn! Do you understand, sir, do you understand what it means when you have absolutely nowhere to turn? No, that you don’t understand yet…

-Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Now, your Honor, I have spoken about the [Civil] war. I believed in it. I don’t know whether I was crazy or not. Sometimes I think perhaps I was. I approved of it; I joined in the general cry of madness and despair. I urged men to fight. I was safe because I was too old to go. I was like the rest. What did they do? Right or wrong, justifiable or unjustifiable -- which I need not discuss today -- it changed the world. For four long years the civilized world was engaged in killing men. Christian against Christian, barbarian uniting with Christians to kill Christians; anything to kill. It was taught in every school, aye in the Sunday schools. The little children played at war. The toddling children on the street. Do you suppose this world has ever been the same since? How long, your Honor, will it take for the world to get back the humane emotions that were slowly growing before the war? How long will it take the calloused hearts of men before the scars of hatred and cruelty shall be removed?We read of killing one hundred thousand men in a day. We read about it and we rejoiced in it -- if it was the other fellows who were killed. We were fed on flesh and drank blood. Even down to the prattling babe. I need not tell you how many upright, honorable young boys have come into this court charged with murder, some saved and some sent to their death, boys who fought in this war and learned to place a cheap value on human life. You know it and I know it. These boys were brought up in it. The tales of death were in their homes, their playgrounds, their schools; they were in the newspapers that they read; it was a part of the common frenzy -- what was a life? It was nothing. It was the least sacred thing in existence and these boys were trained to this cruelty.

-Clarence Darrow

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Did you know sometimes it frightens me--when you say my name and I can't see you?will you ever learn to materialize before you speak?impetuous boy, if that's what you really are.how many centuries since you've climbed a balconyor do you do this every night with someone else?you tell me that you'll never leaveand I am almost afraid to believe it.why is it me you've chosen to follow?did you like the way I look when I am sleeping?was my hair more fun to tangle?are my dreams more entertaining?do you laugh when I'm complaining that I'm all alone?where were you when I searched the seafor a friend to talk to me?in a year where will you be?is it enough for you to steal into my mindfilling up my page with music written in my handyou know I'll take the credit for I must have made you come to me somehow.but please try to close the curtains when you leave at night,or I'll have to find someone to stay and warm me.will you always attend my midnight tea parties--as long as I set it at your place?if one day your sugar sits untouchedwill you have gone forever?would you miss me in a thousand years--when you will dry another's tears?but you say you'll never leave meand I wonder if you'll have the decencyto pass through my wall to the next roomwhile I dress for dinnerbut when I'm stuck in conversationwith stuffed shirts whose adorationhurts my ears, where are you then?can't you cut in when I dance with other men?it's too late not to interfere with my lifeyou've already made me a most unsuitable wifefor any man who wants to be the first his bride has slept withand you can't just fly into people's bedroomsthen expect them to calmly wave goodbyeyou've changed the course of historyand didn't even trywhere are you now--standing behind me,taking my hand?come and remind mewho you arehave you traveled farare you made of stardust tooare the angels after youtell me what I am to dobut until then I'll save your side of the bedjust come and sing me to sleep

-Emilie Autumn

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An attachment grew up. What is an attachment? It is the most difficult of all the human interrelationships to explain, because it is the vaguest, the most impalpable. It has all the good points of love, and none of its drawbacks. No jealousy, no quarrels, no greed to possess, no fear of losing possession, no hatred (which is very much a part of love), no surge of passion and no hangover afterward. It never reaches the heights, and it never reaches the depths.As a rule it comes on subtly. As theirs did. As a rule the two involved are not even aware of it at first. As they were not. As a rule it only becomes noticeable when it is interrupted in some way, or broken off by circumstances. As theirs was. In other words, its presence only becomes known in its absence. It is only missed after it stops. While it is still going on, little thought is given to it, because little thought needs to be.It is pleasant to meet, it is pleasant to be together. To put your shopping packages down on a little wire-backed chair at a little table at a sidewalk cafe, and sit down and have a vermouth with someone who has been waiting there for you. And will be waiting there again tomorrow afternoon. Same time, same table, same sidewalk cafe. Or to watch Italian youth going through the gyrations of the latest dance craze in some inexpensive indigenous night-place-while you, who come from the country where the dance originated, only get up to do a sedate fox trot. It is even pleasant to part, because this simply means preparing the way for the next meeting.One long continuous being-together, even in a love affair, might make the thing wilt. In an attachment it would surely kill the thing off altogether. But to meet, to part, then to meet again in a few days, keeps the thing going, encourages it to flower.And yet it requires a certain amount of vanity, as love does; a desire to please, to look one's best, to elicit compliments. It inspires a certain amount of flirtation, for the two are of opposite sex. A wink of understanding over the rim of a raised glass, a low-voiced confidential aside about something and the smile of intimacy that answers it, a small impromptu gift - a necktie on the one part because of an accidental spill on the one he was wearing, or of a small bunch of flowers on the other part because of the color of the dress she has on.So it goes.And suddenly they part, and suddenly there's a void, and suddenly they discover they have had an attachment.Rome passed into the past, and became New York.Now, if they had never come together again, or only after a long time and in different circumstances, then the attachment would have faded and died. But if they suddenly do come together again - while the sharp sting of missing one another is still smarting - then the attachment will revive full force, full strength. But never again as merely an attachment. It has to go on from there, it has to build, to pick up speed. And sometimes it is so glad to be brought back again that it makes the mistake of thinking it is love.("For The Rest Of Her Life")

-Cornell Woolrich

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...I have sometimes thought that the mere hearing of those songs would do more to impress some minds with the horrible character of slavery, than the reading of whole volumes of philosophy on the subject could do.I did not, when a slave, understand the deep meaning of those rude and apparently incoherent songs. I was myself within the circle; so that I neither saw nor heard as those without might see and hear. They told a tale of woe which was then altogether beyond my feeble comprehension; they were tones loud, long, and deep; they breathed the prayer and complaint of souls boiling over with bitterest anguish. Every tone was a testimony against slavery, and a prayer to God for deliverance from chains. The hearing of those wild notes always depressed my spirit, and filled me with ineffable sadness. I have frequently found myself in tears while hearing them. The mere recurrence to those songs, even now, afflicts me; and while I am writing these lines, an expression of feeling has already found its way down my cheek. To those songs I trace my first glimmering conception of the dehumanizing character of slavery. I can never get rid of that conception. Those songs still follow me, to deepen my hatred of slavery, and quicken my sympathies for my brethren in bonds. If any one wishes to be impressed with the soul-killing effects of slavery, let him go to Colonel Lloyd's plantation, and, on allowance-day, place himself in the deep pine woods, and there let him, in silence, analyze the sounds that shall pass through the chambers of his soul, - and if he is not thus impressed, it will only be because "there is no flesh in his obdurate heart."I have often been utterly astonished, since I came to the north, to find persons who could speak of the singing, among slaves, as evidence of their contentment and happiness. It is impossible to conceive of a greater mistake. Slaves sing most when they are most unhappy. The songs of the slave represent the sorrows of his heart; and he is relieved by them, only as an aching heart is relieved by its tears. At least, such is my experience. I have often sung to drown my sorrow, but seldom to express my happiness. Crying for joy, and singing for joy, were alike uncommon to me while in the jaws of slavery. The singing of a man cast away upon a desolate island might be as appropriately considered as evidence of contentment and happiness, as the singing of a slave; the songs of the one and of the other are prompted by the same emotion.

-Frederick Douglass

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But I still feel like I lost.We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It's easy. The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in the sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven't even met yet. probably. They all count. But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you'll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years. But there's still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it always happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of those lovable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable. You will remember having conversations with this person that never actually happened. You will recall sexual trysts with this person that never technically occurred. This is because the individual who embodies your personal definition of love does not really exist. The person is real, and the feelings are real-but you create the context. And context is everything. The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they're often just the person you happen to meet first time you really, really want to love someone. But that person still wins. They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.

-Chuck Klosterman

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The less you associate with some people, the more your life will improve.Any time you tolerate mediocrity in others, it increases your mediocrity. Animportant attribute in successful people is their impatience with negativethinking and negative acting people. As you grow, your associates willchange. Some of your friends will not want you to go on. They will want youto stay where they are. Friends that don't help you climb will want you tocrawl. Your friends will stretch your vision or choke your dream. Those thatdon't increase you will eventually decrease you.Consider this:Never receive counsel from unproductive people. Never discuss your problemswith someone incapable of contributing to the solution, because those whonever succeed themselves are always first to tell you how. Not everyone hasa right to speak into your life. You are certain to get the worst of thebargain when you exchange ideas with the wrong person. Don't follow anyonewho's not going anywhere.With some people you spend an evening: with others you invest it. Be carefulwhere you stop to inquire for directions along the road of life. Wise is theperson who fortifies his life with the right friendships. If you run withwolves, you will learn how to howl. But, if you associate with eagles, youwill learn how to soar to great heights."A mirror reflects a man's face, but what he is really like is shown by thekind of friends he chooses."The simple but true fact of life is that you become like those with whom youclosely associate - for the good and the bad.Note: Be not mistaken. This is applicable to family as well as friends.Yes...do love, appreciate and be thankful for your family, for they willalways be your family no matter what. Just know that they are human firstand though they are family to you, they may be a friend to someone else andwill fit somewhere in the criteria above."In Prosperity Our Friends Know Us. In Adversity We Know Our friends.""Never make someone a priority when you are only an option for them.""If you are going to achieve excellence in big things,you develop the habit in little matters.Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.."..

-Colin Powell

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...if I have a daughter I will tell her she can do anything, and I will mean it, because I have no other intention of informing her otherwise. As my mother did with me, and my mother's mother before her, I shall simply hide the truth from her. I will tell her that despite what others may whisper, there is no difference between her and any boy. I will tell her to work her hardest and try her best. And that if one day she looks around and finds that, despite her very best efforts, lesser men have superseded her, then she probably could have done better. These words may not be true, nor will they be fair, but I would hope that they ensure she never becomes a victim of her own femininity. I hope she will be empowered to pick herself up, study harder, work longer, and exceed her own expectations. I don't want my daughter to break any glass ceilings. I'd rather she never even contemplated their existence. Because glass ceilings, closed doors, and boys clubs are notions, they're ideas, and they're not tangible. You can't see, touch, or feel them. They can only exercise power over us if we choose to believe in them. So why lay down your own gauntlet? The cliche rings true, if you reach for the moon, you might just land on the stars. Throw a glass ceiling into the works, and it can only get in the way. And I suspect that deep down, every woman who ever truly excelled thought exactly this way. I doubt they ever gave much thought to the fact that they are women. I think they just really wanted to rock out. And they did; louder, harder, and better than anyone else around them. And at some point down the line, enough people took note.

-Amy Mowafi

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Clary, Despite everything, I can't bear the thought of this ring being lost forever, any more then I can bear the thought of leaving you forever. And though I have no choice about the one, at least I can choose about the other. I'm leaving you our family ring because you have as much right to it as I do.I'm writing this watching the sun come up. You're asleep, dreams moving behind your restless eyelids. I wish I knew what you were thinking. I wish I could slip into your head and see the world the way you do. I wish I could see myself the way you do. But maybe I dont want to see that. Maybe it would make me feel even more than I already do that I'm perpetuating some kind of Great Lie on you, and I couldn't stand that. I belong to you. You could do anything you wanted with me and I would let you. You could ask anything of me and I'd break myself trying to make you happy. My heart tells me this is the best and greatest feeling I have ever had. But my mind knows the difference between wanting what you can't have and wanting what you shouldn't want. And I shouldn't want you.All night I've watched you sleeping, watched the moonlight come and go, casting its shadows across your face in black and white. I've never seen anything more beautiful. I think of the life we could have had if things were different, a life where this night is not a singular event, separate from everything else that's real, but every night. But things aren't different, and I can't look at you without feeling like I've tricked you into loving me.The truth no one is willing to say out loud is that no one has a shot against Valentine but me. I can get close to him like no one else can. I can pretend I want to join him and he'll believe me, up until that last moment where I end it all, one way or another. I have something of Sebastian's; I can track him to where my father's hiding, and that's what I'm going to do. So I lied to you last night. I said I just wanted one night with you. But I want every night with you. And that's why I have to slip out of your window now, like a coward. Because if I had to tell you this to your face, I couldn't make myself go. I don't blame you if you hate me, I wish you would. As long as I can still dream, I will dream of you. _Jace

-Cassandra Clare

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Here's the thing, say Shug. The thing I believe. God is inside you and inside everybody else. You come into the world with God. But only them that search for it inside find it. And sometimes it just manifest itself even if you not looking, or don't know what you looking for. Trouble do it for most folks, I think. Sorrow, lord. Feeling like shit.It? I ast.Yeah, It. God ain't a he or a she, but a It.But what do it look like? I ast.Don't look like nothing, she say. It ain't a picture show. It ain't something you can look at apart from anything else, including yourself. I believe God is everything, say Shug. Everything that is or ever was or ever will be. And when you can feel that, and be happy to feel that, you've found It.Shug a beautiful something, let me tell you. She frown a little, look out cross the yard, lean back in her chair, look like a big rose. She say, My first step from the old white man was trees. Then air. Then birds. Then other people. But one day when I was sitting quiet and feeling like a motherless child, which I was, it come to me: that feeling of being part of everything, not separateat all. I knew that if I cut a tree, my arm would bleed. And I laughed and I cried and I run all around the house. I knew just what it was. In fact, when it happen, you can't miss it. It sort of like you know what, she say, grinning and rubbing high up on my thigh.Shug! I say.Oh, she say. God love all them feelings. That's some of the best stuff God did. And when you know God loves 'em you enjoys 'em a lot more. You can just relax, go with everything that's going, and praise God by liking what you like.God don't think it dirty? I ast.Naw, she say. God made it. Listen, God love everything you love? and a mess of stuff you don't. But more than anything else, God love admiration.You saying God vain? I ast.Naw, she say. Not vain, just wanting to share a good thing. I think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don't notice it.What it do when it pissed off? I ast.Oh, it make something else. People think pleasing God is all God care about. But any fool living in the world can see it always trying to please us back.Yeah? I say.Yeah, she say. It always making little surprises and springing them on us when us least expect.You mean it want to be loved, just like the bible say.Yes, Celie, she say. Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance, make faces and give flower bouquets, trying to be loved. You ever notice that trees do everything to git attention we do, except walk?Well, us talk and talk bout God, but I'm still adrift. Trying to chase that old white man out of my head. I been so busy thinking bout him I never truly notice nothing God make. Not a blade of corn (how it do that?) not the color purple (where it come from?). Not the little wildflowers. Nothing. Now that my eyes opening, I feels like a fool. Next to any little scrub of a bush in my yard, Mr. ____s evil sort of shrink. But not altogether. Still, it is like Shug say, You have to git man off your eyeball, before you can see anything a'tall.Man corrupt everything, say Shug. He on your box of grits, in your head, and all over the radio. He try to make you think he everywhere.Soon as you think he everywhere, you think he God. But he ain't. Whenever you trying to pray, and man plop himself on the other end of it, tell him to git lost, say Shug. Conjure up flowers, wind,water, a big rock.But this hard work, let me tell you. He been there so long, he don't want to budge. He threaten lightening, floods and earthquakes. Us fight. I hardly pray at all. Every time I conjure up a rock, I throw it.Amen

-Alice Walker

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