I am jealous of everything whose beauty does not die. I am jealous of the portrait you have painted of me. Why should it keep what I must lose? Every moment that passes takes something from me and gives something to it. Oh, if it were only the other way! If the picture could change, and I could be always what I am now! Why did you paint it? It will mock me some day—mock me horribly!
Do I, then, belong to the heavens?Why, if not so, should the heavensFix me thus with their ceaseless blue stare,Luring me on, and my mind, higherEver higher, up into the sky,Drawing me ceaselessly upTo heights far, far above the human?Why, when balance has been strictly studiedAnd flight calculated with the best of reasonTill no aberrant element should, by rights, remain-Why, still, should the lust for ascensionSeem, in itself, so close to madness?Nothing is that can satify me;Earthly novelty is too soon dulled;I am drawn higher and higher, more unstable,Closer and closer to the sun's effulgence.Why do these rays of reason destroy me?Villages below and meandering streamsGrow tolerable as our distance grows.Why do they plead, approve, lure meWith promise that I may love the humanIf only it is seen, thus, from afar-Although the goal could never have been love, Nor, had it been, could I ever haveBelonged to the heavens?I have not envied the bird its freedomNor have I longed for the ease of Nature,Driven by naught save this strange yearningFor the higher, and the closer, to plunge myselfInto the deep sky's blue, so contraryTo all organic joys, so farFrom pleasures of superiority But higher, and higher,Dazzled, perhaps, by the dizzy incandescenceOf waxen wings.Or do I then Belong, after all, to the earth?Why, if not so, should the earthShow such swiftness to encompass my fall?Granting no space to think or feel,Why did the soft, indolent earth thusGreet me with the shock of steel plate?Did the soft earth thus turn to steelOnly to show me my own softness?That Nature might bring home to meThat to fall, not to fly, is in the order of things,More natural by far than that improbable passion?Is the blue of the sky then a dream?Was it devised by the earth, to which I belonged,On account of the fleeting, white-hot intoxicationAchieved for a moment by waxen wings?And did the heavens abet the plan to punish me?To punish me for not believing in myself Or for believing too much;Too earger to know where lay my allegianceOr vainly assuming that already I knew all;For wanting to fly offTo the unknownOr the known:Both of them a single, blue speck of an idea?
I am chaos eternal. I desire everything this world and the next offers. I am greed, I am hunger. Oh how I hunger... I want the pathetic mortals of this world to bow before me. I want all that they own, all they desire, every marvelous creation of theirs, but there is only one thing in this world that I need, and that, Muse, is you.
And if I am not mistaken here is the secret of the greatness that was Spain. In Spain it is men that are the poems, the pictures and the buildings. Men are its philosophies. They lived, these Spaniards of the Golden Age; they felt and did; they did not think. Life was what they sought and found, life in its turmoil, its fervour and its variety. Passion was the seed that brought them forth and passion was the flower they bore. But passion alone cannot give rise to a great art. In the arts the Spaniards invented nothing. They did little in any of those they practised, but give a local colour to a virtuosity they borrowed from abroad. Their literature, as I have ventured to remark, was not of the highest rank; they were taught to paint by foreign masters, but, inapt pupils, gave birth to one painter only of the very first class; they owed their architecture to the Moors, the French and the Italians, and the works themselves produced were best when they departed least from their patterns. Their preeminence was great, but it lay in another direction: it was a preeminence of character. In this I think they have been surpassed by none and equalled only by the ancient Romans. It looks as though all the energy, all the originality, of this vigorous race had been disposed to one end and one end only, the creation of man. It is not in art that they excelled, they excelled in what is greater than art--in man. But it is thought that has the last word.
I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics:Plagiarize!Plagiarize!Let no one else's work evade your eyes!Remember why the good Lord made your eyes!So don't shade your eyes,But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize -Only be sure always to call it please 'research'."[Lobachevsky]
I open my eyes and for the first time stare openly at my own reflection. My heart rate picks up as I do, like I am breaking the rules and will be scolded for it. It will be difficult to break the habits of thinking Abnegation instilled in me, like tugging a single thread from a complex work of embroidery. But I will find new habits, new thoughts, new rules. I will become something else. …Looking at myself now isn’t like seeing myself for the first time; it’s like seeing someone else for the first time. Beatrice was a girl I saw in stolen moments at the mirror, who kept quiet at the dinner table. This is someone whose eyes claim mine and don’t release me; this is Tris.
I laugh, and it’s laughter, not light, that casts out the darkness building within me, that reminds me I am still alive, even in this strange place whereeverything I’ve ever known is coming apart. I know some things—I know that I’m not alone, that I have friends, that I’m in love. I know where I came from. I know that I don’t want to die, and for me, that’s something—more than I could have said a few weeks ago.
Wait a second," Four says. I turn toward him, wondering which version of Four I'll see now-the one who scolds me, or the one who climbs Ferris wheels with me. He smiles a little, but the smile doesn't spread to his eyes, which look less tense and worried."You belong here, you know that?" he says. "You belong with us. It'll be over soon, so just hold on, okay?"He scratches behind his ear and looks away, like he's embarrassed by what he said. I stare at him. I feel my heartbeat everywhere, even in my toes. I feel like doing something bold, but I could just as easily walk away. I am not sure which option is smarter, or better. I am not sure that I care.I reach out and take his hand. His fingers slide between mine. I can't breathe. I stare up at him, and he stares down at me. For a long moment, we stay that way. Then I pull my hand away and run after Uriah and Lynn and Marlene. Maybe now he thinks I'm stupid, or strange. Maybe it was worth it.
I am Cinna's bird, ignited, flying frantically to escape something inescapable. The feathers of flame that grow from my body. Beating my wings only fans the blaze. I consume myself, but to no end.Finally, my wings begin to falter, I lose height, and gravity pulls me into a foamy sea the color of Finnick's eyes. I float on my back, which continues to burn beneath the water, but the agony quiets to pain. When I am adrift and unable to navigate, that's when they come. The dead.The ones I loved fly as birds in the open sky above me. Soaring, weaving, calling to me to join them. I want so badly to follow them, but the seawater saturates my wings, making it impossible to lift them. The ones I hated have taken to the water, horrible scaled things that tear my salty flesh with needle teeth. Biting again and again. Dragging me beneath the surface.The small white bird tinged in pink dives down, buries her claws in my chest, and tries to keep me afloat."No, Katniss! No! You can't go!"But the ones I hated are winning, and if she clings to me, she'll be lost as well. "Prim, let go!" And finally she does.
That’s for me!” I already had a grim view of existence, so there was no problem there. I was and am agoraphobic, so being reclusive was a snap. The only challenge was whether or not I could actually write horror stories. So I studied fiction writing and wrote every day for years and years until I started to get my stories accepted by small press magazines. I’m not comparing myself to Lovecraft as a person or as a writer, but the rough outline of his life gave me something to aspire to. I don’t know what would have become of me if I hadn’t discovered Lovecraft.
If you could do it, I suppose, it would be a good idea to live your life in a straight line - starting, say, in the Dark Wood of Error, and proceeding by logical steps through Hell and Purgatory and into Heaven. Or you could take the King's Highway past the appropriately named dangers, toils, and snares, and finally cross the River of Death and enter the Celestial City. But that is not the way I have done it, so far. I am a pilgrim, but my pilgrimage has been wandering and unmarked. Often what has looked like a straight line to me has been a circling or a doubling back. I have been in the Dark Wood of Error any number of times. I have known something of Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven, but not always in that order. The names of many snares and dangers have been made known to me, but I have seen them only in looking back. Often I have not known where I was going until I was already there. I have had my share of desires and goals, but my life has come to me or I have gone to it mainly by way of mistakes and surprises. Often I have received better than I deserved. Often my fairest hopes have rested on bad mistakes. I am an ignorant pilgrim, crossing a dark valley. And yet for a long time, looking back, I have been unable to shake off the feeling that I have been led - make of that what you will.
I asked her what was so scary about unmerited free grace? She replied something like this: "If I was saved by my good works -- then there would be a limit to what God could ask of me or put me through. I would be like a taxpayer with rights. I would have done my duty and now I would deserve a certain quality of life. But if it is really true that I am a sinner saved by sheer grace -- at God's infinite cost -- then there's nothing he cannot ask of me.
I wanted to find something of the beauty of myth that we’ve left behind, carry its shreds before us all, so we could acknowledge it, somehow bring it back to life. I wanted to delve back into that world that cradled us when we were young enough to still touch it, when trolls lived under creek bridges, faeries fluttered under mushroom caps, and the Tooth Fairy only came once you were truly sleeping. I wanted to see if enchantment was somehow still there, simply waiting to be reached. When I felt my loss, I realized that if I could do anything in this life, I wanted to travel he world, searching for those who were still awake in that old dreamtime, and listen to their stories – because I had to know that there were grownups out there who still believed that life could be magical.And in that moment I decided: I am going to find the goddamn faeries.
One reason might be that if I hadn't tripped, I'd have been hamburger.When this sort of thing occurs, people often say that there was some power greater than themselves at work. This sounds reasonable. I am just suggesting that it is not necessary to equate "greater than ourselves" with "stretched across the heavenly vault." It could mean "just slightly greater." A cocoon of energy that we carry with us, that is capable, under some conditions, of affecting physicality. Furthermore, I conjecture that the totality of all these souls is what constitutes the Godhead. I mean this in the same sense as the "Leviathan" of Thomas Hobbes, whereby man, that is everyone together, creates "that great Leviathan called a Commonwealth or State, which is but an artificial man, though of greater statute and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defense it was created."And that leads me to my Insight: God was not there at the beginning of evolution; God is what lies at the end of it.
Ordinarily, I am the person who falls in love quickly and somewhat inappropriately and then goes on to destroy what is a good thing. That's always been my style. So, you know: I get it. And I feel right now the way I imagine all those guys felt with me. And I have to say, for the first time in my life, I feel something approaching compassion for them.
On the surface, I was calm: in secret, without really admitting it, I was waiting for something. Her return? How could I have been waiting for that? We all know that we are material creatures, subject to the laws of physiology and physics, and not even the power of all our feelings combined can defeat those laws. All we can do is detest them. The age-old faith of lovers and poets in the power of love, stronger than death, that finis vitae sed non amoris, is a lie, useless and not even funny. So must one be resigned to being a clock that measures the passage of time, now out of order, now repaired, and whose mechanism generates despair and love as soon as its maker sets it going? Must I go on living here then, among the objects we both had touched, in the air she had breathed? In the name of what? In the hope of her return? I hoped for nothing. And yet I lived in expectation. Since she had gone, that was all that remained. I did not know what achievements, what mockery, even what tortures still awaited me. I knew nothing, and I persisted in the faith that the time of cruel miracles was not past.
...and what's his reason? I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? Fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us; do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die? And if you wrong us, shall we not revenge? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that. If a Jew wrong a Christian, what is his humility? Revenge. If a Christian wrong a Jew, what should his sufferance be by Christian example? Why, revenge! The villainy you teach me I will execute, and it shall go hard but I will better the instruction.
I am convinced that the jealous, the angry, the bitter and the egotistical are the first to race to the top of mountains. A confident person enjoys the journey, the people they meet along the way and sees life not as a competition. They reach the summit last because they know God isn’t at the top waiting for them. He is down below helping his followers to understand that the view is glorious where ever you stand.
Yes,' he said, 'a list. That way, I figure, we'll have a written record of what we've agreed upon as our goals for our relationship. So if problems arise, we'll be able to consult the lists, see which issue it corresponds to, and work out a solution from there.'I could still hear my sister talking, but her voice was fading as she led her group around the house. I said, 'But what if that doesn't work?'Jason blinked at me. Then he said, 'Why wouldn't it?' 'Because,' I said.He just looked at me. 'Because...''Because,' I repeated, as a breeze blew over us,' sometimes things just happen. That aren't expected. Or on the list.''Such as?' he asked.'I don't know,' I said, frustrated. 'That's the point. It would be out of the blue, taking us by surprise. Something we might not be prepared for.''But we will be prepared,' he said, confused. 'We'll have the list.' I rolled my eyes. 'Jason,' I said.'Macy, I'm sorry.' He stepped back, looking at me. 'I just don't understand what you're trying to say.'And then it hit me: he didn't. He had no idea. And this thought was so ludicrous, so completely unreal, that I knew it just had to be true. For Jason, there was no unexpected, no surprises. His whole life was outlined carefully, in lists and sublists, just like the ones I'd helped him go through all those weeks ago. 'It's just...' I said and stopped, shaking my head.'It's just what?' He was waiting, genuinely wanting to know. 'Explain it to me.'But I couldn't. I'd had to learn it my own way, and so had my mother. Jason would eventually, as well. No one could tell you: you just had to go through it on your own. If you were lucky, you came out on the other side and understood. If you didn't, you kept getting thrust back, retracing those steps, until you finally got it right.
There's one other thing I'd like to remind you of, my dear. There've been many times when you've sworn to me that after all that life has dealt you, it was no longer possible for you to believe in anything. I replied that both life and my studies had led me to the same conclusion. I asked you, 'What is a person permitted, once he's realized that truth is unattainable and consequently doesn't exist for him?' Do you remember your answer?""I do, ibn Sabbah. I said something like this: 'If a person realized that everything people call happiness, love and joy was just a miscalculation based on a false premise, he'd feel a horrible emptiness inside. The only thing that could rouse him from his paralysis would be to gamble with his own face and the face of others. The person capable of that would be permitted anything.
Nay, 'twill be this hour ere I have done weeping. All the kind of the Launces have this very fault. I have received my proportion, like the prodigious son, and am going with Sir Proteus to the Imperial's court. I think Crab, my dog, be the sourest-natured dog that lives. My mother weeping, my father wailing, my sister crying, our maid howling, our cat wringing her hands, and all our house in a great perplexity, yet did not this cruel-hearted cur shed one tear. He is a stone, a very pebble stone, and has no more pity in him than a dog. A Jew would have wept to have seen our parting. Why, my grandam, having no eyes, look you, wept herself blind at my parting. Nay, I'll show you the manner of it. This shoe is my father. No, this left shoe is my father. No, no, this left shoe is my mother. Nay, that cannot be so neither. Yes, it is so, it is so -- it hath the worser sole. This shoe with the hole in it is my mother, and this my father. A vengeance on't! There 'tis. Now, sir, this staff is my sister, for, look you, she is as white as a lily and as small as a wand. This hat is Nan, our maid. I am the dog. No, the dog is himself, and I am the dog -- O, the dog is me, and I am myself. Ay, so, so. Now come I to my father: 'Father, your blessing.' Now should not the shoe speak a word for weeping. Now should I kiss my father -- well, he weeps on. Now come I to my mother. O, that she could speak now like a wood woman! Well, I kiss her -- why, there 'tis: here's my mother's breath up and down. Now come I to my sister; mark the moan she makes. Now the dog all this while sheds not a tear nor speaks a word!
I wish I wasn't an imperial highness or an ex-grand duchess. I'm sick of people doing things to me because of what I am. Girl-in-white-dress. Short-one-with-fringe. Daughter-of-the-tsar. Child-of-the-ex-tyrant. I want people to look and see me, Anastasia Nikolaevna Romanova, not the caboose on a train of grand duchesses. Someday, I promise myself, no one will be able to hear my name or look at my picture and suppose they know all about me. Someday I will do something bigger than what I am.
I am God”? Why did he not explain the Trinity? Why did he not tell the mode of baptism that was pleasing to him? Why did he not write a creed? Why did he not break the chains of slaves? Why did he not say that the Old Testament was or was not the inspired word of God? Why did he not write the New Testament himself?Why did he leave his words to ignorance, hypocrisy and chance? Why did he not say something positive, definite and satisfactory about another world? Why did he not turn the tear-stained hope of heaven into the glad knowledge of another life? Why did he not tell us something of the rights of man, of the liberty of hand and brain?Why did he go dumbly to his death, leaving the world to misery and to doubt?I will tell you why. He was a man, and did not know.
Shut up!" I say, holding my hands to my ears. "Shut up!"But the stupid gummy won't shut up; he's trying to tell me something important even though I'm covering my ears and I don't want to hear it and I don't want to think about who I am or what's wrong with me or why I'm out here at the edge of the Urb, at the edge of the known world, listening to some old mope who's so crazy, he think about the future when everyone knows that the future doesn't exist.