He was like the other half of myself,' says Boris...Ulrich says, 'You haven't lost {him}, you know. I don't know if it helps to say that. I lost a friend once myself, and I know how it goes.'He'll find his way inside you, and you'll carry him onward. Behind your heartbeat, you'll hear another one, faint and out of step. People will say you are speaking his opinons, or your hair has turned like his.'There are no more facts about him -- that part is over. Now is the time for essential things...Gradually you'll grow older than him, and love him as your son.'You'll live astride the line that separates life from death. You'll become experienced in the wisdom of grief. You won't wait until people die to grieve for them; you'll give them their grief while they are still alive, for then judgment falls away, and there remains only the miracle of being.
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He was like the other half of myself,’ says Boris…Ulrich says, ‘You haven’t lost {him}, you know. I don’t know if it helps to say that. I lost a friend once myself, and I know how it goes.’He’ll find his way inside you, and you’ll carry him onward. Behind your heartbeat, you’ll hear another one, faint and out of step. People will say you are speaking his opinons, or your hair has turned like his.’There are no more facts about him — that part is over. Now is the time for essential things…Gradually you’ll grow older than him, and love him as your son.’You’ll live astride the line that separates life from death. You’ll become experienced in the wisdom of grief. You won’t wait until people die to grieve for them; you’ll give them their grief while they are still alive, for then judgment falls away, and there remains only the miracle of being.

-Rana Dasgupta

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Humanity is its own worst enemy. What chance do any other species have?Survival is the parchment upon which the Law of Nature is inscribed.And what I'll find was always mine.And what I'll say, I've said before.Your kisses taste like blood and wineAnd leave me spent upon the floor.I have endured torments you cannot yet imagine. I have climbed mountains to attain greatness in body and spirit. I have dug to the depths of the Earth to learn the secrets of Creation. I have flourished on the Blood of my people and the blood of legends. I have slept in the arms of the infernal and walked a path of hopelessness. I dwell in Nothing and Nothing dwells within me. My god is castigation and I am the hand of God.For the more Blood one drinks, the more Blood one must have… Nightmares are the ineluctable lessons of the illuminated psyche.A Vampire's love is like quicksand: it surrounds you and engulfs you but ultimately, it kills you.There is no good, beloved. This is no evil. There is only instinct.Own your darkness. It is the only way to be truly free.Do you know what I find most gratifying about being able to see into the depths of the cosmos? The myriad colours. The multitudinous hues. Humanity can never behold what wonder surrounds them. And you previously human Vampires can only grasp hints of the incredulous kaleidescope that makes up Creation. My Elven eyes can see colours that are beyond your comprehension, so the symphony of the universe is laid bare before my sight. It stirs both elation. and humility. I see a priest of these dread arcana, the mark of Tuthalidon carved and secreted away deep within a heart that exists only to devour. I behold a moon drenched in the blood of martyrs…the Blood of monsters. Blood spilt upon the altars of the Wise. The devastation of oblivion shall encompass all lands and twist all language. In the night shall the lost ones wander, pulling into their fold the immortal and doomed. I see the depth of his endless eyes, searching searching forever searching, seeking out the damned, cleansing Eterah and dressing her in the raiment of abominations.

-Tracy Angelina

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{The resolution of the surviving members of the Eleventh Illinois Cavalry, whom Robert Ingersoll was the commander of, at his funeral quoted here}Robert G. Ingersoll is dead. The brave soldier, the unswerving patriot, the true friend, and the distinguished colonel of the old regiment of which we have the honor to be a remanent, sleeps his last sleep.No word of ours, though written in flame, no chaplet that our hands can weave, no testimony that our personal knowledge can bring, will add anything to his fame.The world honors him as the prince of orators in his generation, as its emancipator from manacles and dogmas; philosophy, for his aid in beating back the ghosts of superstition; and we, in addition to these, for our personal knowledge of him, as a man, a soldier, and a friend.We know him as the general public did not. We knew him in the military camp, where he reigned an uncrowned king, ruling with that bright scepter of human benevolence which death alone could wrest from his hand.We had the honor to obey, as we could, his calm but resolute commands at Shiloh, at Corinth, and at Lexington, knowing as we did, that he would never command a man to go where he would not dare to lead the way.We recognize only a small circle who could know more of his manliness and worth than we do. And to such we say: Look up, if you can, through natural tears; try to be as brave as he was, and try to remember -- in the midst of grief which his greatest wish for life would have been to help you to bear -- that he had no fear of death nor of anything beyond.

-Robert Ingersoll

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As Sarah watched them (Abraham and Isaac) move briskly along, she thought of the whole journey behind her. Her childhood in the Ur-of-the North, the temple of Asherah, her father's house, the Euphrates in flood and in a dry season. She thought of Abraham arriving with his extravagant dowry of impossibly large herds, and then of those early years as they watched the drought deplete their animals and their hope. The journey to Egypt, and the fear she felt when they were told to lie about who she was. She thought of Pharaoh and of Sehtepibre, of the great game they weere playing on the magnificient stage of the most ancient and lofty kingdom in the world - and how petty and mean it turned out to be. She thought of Hagar in those early years together, when Sarah thought of her as almost a friend, they grew so close. The nastiness she set aside; there was no reason to dwell on that. But two sons had been born to Abraham, one by each of these women. That made them sisters, of a kind, even if they could not be friends. And thinking of sisters reminded her of Qira, and her tragic blindness to anything that mattered. Qira was almost as blessed as I was, thought Sarah, but she never knew it, and ketp trying to get joy from those who had none to give, and rejecting it from the only ones who knew how it could be obtained. And she died because she couldn't let go of the very things that the dead always leave behind, and couldn't hold to the only things that the dead can carry with them. The love of a good man for a good woman. The love of good friends for each other. The love of parents for children, and children for parents. The love of brothers and sisters. The memory of joy and grief, which all becomes joy when enough time has passed. This is the treasure that I have won through all the years of my journey through this life, thought Sarah. And every bit of it I'll take with me beyond the grave. I'll meet God then, Abraham promises I will, and I will take all these treasures and lay them out before his feet, for God can see them easily even if mortal men cannot. And I'll kneel before the treasures and say, 'Oh God, I thank thee for giving these to me during my life on Earth. No daughter has been better loved than I, nor any wife, nor any mother. I never deserved them. They were not mine by right. But I hope that, having been given such gift so undeservingly, I used them well, and gave back to thee a life that was worthy.' She had the thought of saying these things to God just as Abraham went out of sight, with Isaac walking beside him. They carry my treasures in their hearts, too, small treasures I suppose, but the best I had to give them. The stars are great hot fires in a distant sky, so bright a figt from God that they can be seen by everyone on Earth. But when you take my love out of your secret hiding place, my husband, my son, and look at it, you'll see that even though it's as small and dull as a pebble compared to the stars, I have polished my love so long and fervently, and you hold it now so close, that surely, surely it must shine.

-Orson Scott Card

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But we have, if not our understanding, our own experience, and it feels to me sealed, inviolable, ours. We have a last, deep week together, because Wally is not on morphine yet, because he has just enough awareness, just enough ability to communicate with me. I’m with him almost all day and night- little breaks, for swimming, for walking the dogs. Outside it snows and snows, deeper and deeper; we seem to live in a circle of lamplight. I rub his feet, make him hot cider. All week I feel like we’re taking one another in, looking and looking. I tell him I love him and he says I love you, babe, and then when it’s too hard for him to speak he smiles back at me with the little crooked smile he can manage now, and I know what it means. I play music for him, the most encompassing and quiet I can find: Couperin, Vivaldi, the British soprano Lesley Garret singing arias he loved, especially the duet from Lakme: music of freedom, diving, floating. How can this be written? Shouldn’t these sentences simply be smithereened apart, broken in a hurricane?All that afternoon he looks out at us though a little space in his eyes, but I know he sees and registers: I know that he’s loving us, actively; if I know nothing else about this man, after nearly thirteen years, I know that. I bring all the animals, and then I sit there myself, all afternoon, the lamps on. The afternoon’s so quiet and deep it seems almost to ring, like chimes, a cold, struck bell. I sit into the evening, when he closes his eyes.There is an inaudible roaring, a rush beneath the surface of things, beneath the surface of Wally, who has now almost no surface- as if I could see into him, into the great hurrying current, that energy, that forward motion which is life going on. I was never this close to anyone in my life. His living’s so deep and absolute that it pulls me close to that interior current, so far inside his life. And my own. I know I am going to be more afraid than I have ever been, but right now I am not afraid. I am face to face with the deepest movement in the world, the point of my love’s deepest reality- where he is most himself, even if that self empties out into no one, swift river hurrying into the tumble of rivers, out of individuality, into the great rushing whirlwind of currents. All the love in the world goes with you.

-Mark Doty

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Loftus grew up with a cold father who taught her nothing about love but everything about angles. A mathematician, he showed her the beauty of the triangle's strong tip, the circumference of the circle, the rigorous mission of calculus. Her mother was softer, more dramatic, prone to deep depressions. Loftus tells all this to me with little feeling "I have no feelings about this right now," she says, "but when I'm in the right space I could cry." I somehow don't believe her; she seems so far from real tears, from the original griefs, so immersed in the immersed in the operas of others. Loftus recalls her father asking her out to see a play, and in the car, coming home at night, the moon hanging above them like a stopwatch, tick tick, her father saying to her, "You know, there's something wrong with your mother. She'll never be well again. Her father was right. When Loftus was fourteen, her mother drowned in the family swimming pool. She was found floating face down in the deep end, in the summer. The sun was just coming up, the sky a mess of reds and bruise. Loftus recalls the shock, the siren, an oxygen mask clamped over her mouth as she screamed, "Mother mother mother," hysteria. That is a kind of drowning. "I loved her," Loftus says. "Was it suicide?" I ask. She says, "My father thinks so. Every year when I go home for Christmas, my brothers and I think about it, but we'll never know," she says. Then she says, "It doesn't matter." "What doesn't matter?" I ask. "Whether it was or it wasn't," she says. "It doesn't matter because it's all going to be okay." Then I hear nothing on the line but some static. on the line but some static. "You there?" I say. "Oh I'm here," she says. "Tomorrow I'm going to Chicago, some guy on death row, I'm gonna save him. I gotta I gotta testify. Thank God I have my work," she says. "You've always had your work," I say. "Without it," she says, "Where would I be?

-Lauren Slater

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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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He slouches,' DeeDee contributes.'True--he needs to work on his posture,' Thelma says.'You guys,' I say.'I'm serious,' Thelma says. 'What if you get married? Don't you want to go to fancy dinners with him and be proud?''You guys. We are not getting married!''I love his eyes,' Jolene says. 'If your kids get his blue eyes and your dark hair--wouldn't that be fabulous?''The thing is,' Thelma says, 'and yes, I know, this is the tricky part--but I'm thinking Bliss has to actually talk to him. Am I right? Before they have their brood of brown-haired, blue-eyed children?'I swat her. "I'm not having Mitchell's children!''I'm sorry--what?' Thelma says.Jolene is shaking her head and pressing back laughter. Her expressing says, Shhh, you crazy girl!But I don't care. If they're going to embarrass me, then I'll embarrass them right back. 'I said'--I raise my voice--'I am not having Mitchell Truman's children!'Jolene turns beet red, and she and DeeDee dissolve into mad giggles.'Um, Bliss?' Thelma says. Her gaze travels upward to someone behind me. The way she sucks on her lip makes me nervous.'Okaaay, I think maybe I won't turn around,' I announce.A person of the male persuasion clears his throat.'Definitely not turning around,' I say. My cheeks are burning. It's freaky and alarming how much heat is radiating from one little me.'If you change your mind, we might be able to work something out,' the person of the male persuasion says.'About the children?' DeeDee asks. 'Or the turning around?''DeeDee!' Jolene says.'Both,' says the male-persuasion person.I shrink in my chair, but I raise my hand over my head and wave.'Um, hi,' I say to the person behind me whom I'm still not looking at. 'I'm Bliss.'Warm fingers clasp my own.'Pleased to meet you,' says the male-persuasion person. 'I'm Mitchell.''Hi, Mitchell.' I try to pull my hand from his grasp, but he won't let go. 'Um, bye now!'I tug harder. No luck. Thelma, DeeDee, and Jolene are close to peeing their pants.Fine. I twist around and give Mitchell the quickest of glances. His expressions is amused, and I grow even hotter.He squeezes my hand, then lets go. 'Just keep me in the loop if you do decide to bear my children. I'm happy to help out.' With that, he stride jauntily to the food line.Once he's gone, we lost it. Peals of laughter resound from our table, and the others in the cafeteria look at us funny. We laugh harder.'Did you see!' Thelma gasps. 'Did you see how proud he was?''You improve his posture!' Jolene says.'I'm so glad, since that was my deepest desire,' I say. 'Oh my God, I'm going to have to quit school and become a nun.''I can't believe you waved at him,' DeeDee says.'Your hand was like a little periscope,' Jolene says. 'Or, no--like a white surrender flag.''It was a surrender flag. I was surrendering myself to abject humiliation.''Oh, please,' Thelma says, pulling me into a sideways hug. 'Think of it this way: Now you've officially talked to him.

-Lauren Myracle

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It's not reasonable to love people who are only going to die," she said.Nash thought about that for a moment, stroking Small's neck with great deliberation, as if the fate of the Dells depended on that smooth, careful movement."I have two responses to that," he said finally. "First, everyone's going to die. Second, love is stupid. It has nothing to do with reason. You love whomever you love. Against all reasons I loved my father." He looked at her keenly. "Did you love yours?""Yes," she whispered.He stroked Small's nose. "I love you," he said, "even knowing you'll never have me. And I love my brother, more than I ever realized before you came along. You can't help whom you love, Lady. Nor can you know what it's liable to cause you to do."She made a connection then. Surprised she sat back from him and studied his face, soft with shadows and light. She saw a part of him she hadn't seen before."You came to me for lessons to guard your mind," she said, "and you stopped asking me to marry you, both at the same time. You did those things out of love for your brother.""Well" he said, looking a bit sheepishly at the floor. "I also took a few swings at him, but that's neither here nor there.""You're good at love," she said simply, because it seemed to her that it was true. "I'm not so good at love. I'm like a barbed creature. I push everyone I love away."He shrugged. "I don't mind you pushing me away if it means you love me, little sister.

-Kristin Cashore

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It's like Romeo & Juliet,' I say. 'You can't separate them. Otherwise, there would be no Shakespeare.' Silence. I decide to be more straightforward. I tell him, 'Nothing frightens me anymore. I am not even afraid to die.' Bussey's eyes, already wide open, grow even wider. My death is the last thing he needs. I have the strange feeling that there are two of me. One observes the conversation while the other does the talking. Everything is abnormal, especially this extreme calm that has taken me over. I try to explain to Bussey that if I decide to die, it will be without bitterness. I know I did everything I possibly could, so it will be respectful farewell. I will bow to life like an actor, who, having delivered his lines, bends deeply to his audience & retires. I tell Bussey that this decision has nothing to do with him, that it is entirely mine. I will choose either to live or to die, but I cannot allow myself to live in the in-between. I do not want to go through life like a ghost. 'Do you think you'll find Danny this way?' Bussey asks. My mind sifts through all available theories on the afterlife. It is as if this metaphysical question has become as real as the air we breathe. Buddhism teaches that life is an eternal cycle without beginning or end. I recall the metaphor: "Our individual lives are like waves produced from the great ocean that is the universe. The emergence of a wave is life, and its abatement is death. This rhythm repeats eternally." Finally I answer Bussey, 'No, I don't think so.' Bussey seems relieved, but I'm more panicky, because I had never thought that I could wind up alone. In my mind, whatever the odds, Danny & I were & would be together forever.

-Mariane Pearl

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