A lot of things I have turned down ended up being a big embarrassment. Like that script, 'The Beaver.' I thought that was one of the worst scripts I had ever read. But everyone said, 'Ooh it's on the Black List.' Yeah, well, good for it. They're a bunch of idiots. I saw the final film, and there were no surprises.
There were a lot of things he could say. "Son of a bitch!" would have been a good one. Or he could say, "Welcome to civilization!" He could have said, "Laugh this one off!" He might have said, "Fetch!" But he didn’t, because if he had said any of those things then he’d have known that what he had just done was murder.
But that wasn't the chief thing that bothered me: I couldn't reconcile myself with that preoccupation with sin that, so far as I could tell, was never entirely absent from the monks' thoughts. I'd known a lot of fellows in the air corps. Of course they got drunk when they got a chance, and had a girl whenever they could and used foul language; we had one or two had hats: one fellow was arrested for passing rubber cheques and was sent to prison for six months; it wasn't altogether his fault; he'd never had any money before, and when he got more than he'd ever dreamt of having, it went to his head. I'd known had men in Paris and when I got back to Chicago I knew more, but for the most part their badness was due to heredity, which they couldn't help, or to their environment, which they didn't choose: I'm not sure that society wasn't more responsible for their crimes than they were. If I'd been God I couldn't have brought myself to condemn one of them, not even the worst, to eternal damnation. Father Esheim was broad-minded; he thought that hell was the deprivation of God's presence, but if that is such an intolerable punishment that it can justly be called hell, can one conceive that a good God can inflict it? After all, he created men, if he so created them that ti was possible for them to sin, it was because he willed it. If I trained a dog to fly at the throat of any stranger who came into by back yard, it wouldn't be fair to beat him when he did so.If an all-good and all-powerful God created the world, why did he create evil? The monks said, so that man by conquering the wickedness in him, by resisting temptation, by accepting pain and sorrow and misfortune as the trials sent by God to purify him, might at long last be made worthy to receive his grace. It seem to me like sending a fellow with a message to some place and just to make it harder for him you constructed a maze that he had to get through, then dug a moat that he had to swim and finally built a wall that he had to scale. I wasn't prepared to believe in an all-wise God who hadn't common sense. I didn't see why you shouldn't believe in a God who hadn't created the world, buyt had to make the best of the bad job he'd found, a being enormously better, wiser and greater than man, who strove with the evil he hadn't made and who might be hoped in the end to overcome it. But on the other hand I didn't see why you should.
If we turn to those restrictions that only apply to certain classes of society, we encounter a state of things which is glaringly obvious and has always been recognized. It is to be expected that the neglected classes will grudge the favoured ones their privileges and that they will do everything in their to power to rid themselves of their own surplus of privation. Where this is not possible a lasting measure of discontent will obtain within this culture, and this may lead to dangerous outbreaks. But if a culture has not got beyond the stage in which the satisfaction of one group of its members necessarily involves the suppression of another, perhaps the majority---and this is the case in all modern cultures,---it is intelligible that these suppressed classes should develop an intense hostility to the culture; a culture, whose existence they make possible by their labour, but in whose resources they have too small a share. In such conditions one must not expect to find an internalization of the cultural prohibitions among the suppressed classes; indeed they are not even prepared to acknowledge these prohibitions, intent, as they are, on the destruction of the culture itself and perhaps even of the assumptions on which it rests. These classes are so manifestly hostile to culture that on that account the more latent hostility of the better provided social strata has been overlooked. It need not be said that a culture which leaves unsatisfied and drives to rebelliousness so large a number of its members neither has a prospect of continued existence, nor deserves it.
You are going to do some really stupid and mean things in the name of love. Don’t be so hard on yourself when things don’t turn out. You are a good person that loved deeply. Anybody worth having will know that hurting someone is not showing someone who you really are. You’re a sensitive person that showed the depth of your love, by the depth of your pain. Fairytale love will show you only one face. Real love will show you as many faces as it takes to get you to see how much that person really wanted you in their life.
There's going to be a lot of things to think about. But I'm not really ready for all that yet. It'd be great to stay in one place my whole career, but in the back of every player's mind, you have to be thinking about what it'd be like to be a free agent one time. Then again, you never know what can happen. I really shouldn't talk too much about it until I really sit down and think about it. I just know this is going to be a big summer for me.
Now, why did Kitty, who was the falsest thing on earth, who was in tune with every kind of falsity, by merely suffering somehow remind us of reality? Why did her tears reveal to me what I had learned long ago, but had forgotten in my frenzied love, that there is a draft that we must drink or not be fully human? I knew that one must know the truth. I knew quite well that when one is adult one must raise to one's lips the wine of the truth, heedless that it is not sweet like milk, but draws the mouth with its strength, and celebrate communion with reality[.]
The strange thing about life is that though the nature of it must have been apparent to every one for hundreds of years, no one has left any adequate account of it. The streets of London have their map; but our passions are uncharted. What are you going to meet if you turn this corner?
... All who have brought about a state of sex-consciousness are to blame, and it is they who drive me, when I want to stretch my faculties on a book, to seek it in that happy age ... when the writer used both sides of his mind [the male and female sides of his mind] equally. One must turn back to Shakespeare then, for Shakespeare was androgynous; and so were Keats and Sterne and Cowper and Lamb and Coleridge. Shelley perhaps was sexless. Milton and Ben Jonson had a dash too much of the male in them. So had Wordsworth and Tolstoy.
Either it falls on your head like a roof tile or it attaches itself to your insides like a tapeworm. Afterward, you no longer see the world in the same way. You’ve got only one thing on your mind: the thing that has taken you over, body and soul. You want to lift it so you can see what’s under it. And from that point on, you can never turn back. Besides, you’re no longer giving the orders. You think you’re in control, doing what you want to do, but it’s not true. You’re nothing but the instrument of your own frustrations. For you, life and death come down to the same thing, Somewhere, you must have renounced everything that could have given you a chance of returning to earth, to the real world. You’re an extraterrestrial. You live in a kind of limbo, stalking houris and unicorns. As for this world, you don’t even want to hear about it anymore. You’re just waiting for the right moment to cross the threshold. The only way to get back what you’ve lost or to fix what you’ve screwed up -- in other words, the only way to make something of your life -- is to end it with a flourish. … The way you see it, the day of your funeral procession will be the day when you’re exalted in other people’s eyes.
She read all sorts of things: travels, and sermons, and old magazines. Nothing was so dull that she couldn't get through with it. Anything really interesting absorbed her so that she never knew what was going on about her. The little girls to whose houses she went visiting had found this out, and always hid away their story-books when she was expected to tea. If they didn't do this, she was sure to pick one up and plunge in, and then it was no use to call her, or tug at her dress, for she neither saw nor heard anything more, till it was time to go home.
The look in his eyes turned a little wild. "That's the only reason I'm letting you go. If I had any choice--""You do," she said "Wed can all sit here and let him die. Or you can let Eve go on her wild-ass rescue mission and get herself killed. Or you can let sweet, calm, reasonable Claire go do some talking."He shook his head. His long, elegant hands, which looked so at home wrapped around a guitar, closed into fists. "Guess that means there's no choice.""Not really," Claire agreed. "I was kind of lying about that choice thing.
No pain, no gain." You can hear the phrase in the world of physical exercise and conditioning. Muscles that feel no pain are probably getting neither stronger, nor more flexible. It presents an analogy for the exercise of the heart. Those who run the risk of genuine love alone must worry about emotional pain. The more friends; the more good-byes - and the more wakes to attend, the more graves to visit, the more deaths to share. Those who truly live life to the fullest will bear the full cup of suffering. Only those who are willing to pay the price in pain and anguish find life full to the brim. Happy people also suffer; they are no more lucky than the rest. They create their own happiness. That's the rule of thumb.Some thumbs, however, don't seem to rule very well. Slogans and catch-words, for all their conventional wisdom, fail to carry the whole weight of truth; they leave too much room for false inferences. "No pain, no gain" may leave one with nothing but pain - an intolerable amount of it. There is simply no guarantee that pain will bring gain, that hardship will yield happiness, that suffering will make one a better person. It may; but it's not inevitable.
Your Excellency," [Chief Wimbe] said, turning to face the president. "I'd like to congratulate you not only for what you've done in Malawi, but all across the great continent of Africa. We're having about all the things you're doing in Congo and how you'd had success. We're very proud of our president. But please understand, we're also at war here in Malawi, and that war is against hunger."He then asked the president to stop funding wells and toilets and use the money to buy grain. (Because really, how can you use the toilet if you never eat?)[...]Shortly after, when the president got up to talk, several well-dressed officials approached Gilbert's father and asked to speak with him. Knowing the president's habit of giving handouts, the chief became excited. They're giving us money. My speech must've worked.About six men led the chief behind a building near the stage, and once there, they confronted him."In what capacity were you speaking such nonsense?" one asked, looking very angry.Before Chief Wimbe could answer, they knocked him to the ground and began beating him with clubs and batons.
I've always preferred the city at night. I believe that San Judas, or any city, belongs to the people who sleep there. Or maybe they don't sleep - some don't - but they live there. Everybody else is just a tourist. Venice, Italy, for instance, pulls in a millions tourists for their own Carnival season but the actual local population is only a couple of hundred thousand. Lots of empty canals and streets at night, especially when you get away from the big hotels, and the residents pretty much have it to themselves when tourist season slows during the winter. Jude has character - everybody agrees on that. It also has that thing I like best about a city: You can never own it, but it you treat it with respect it will eventually invite you in and make you one of its true citizens. But like I said, you've got to live there. If you're never around after the bars close, or at the other end of the night as the early workers get up to start another day and the coffee shops and news agents raise their security gates, then you don't really know the place, do you?
One of the biggest, and possibly the biggest, obstacle to becoming a writer... is learning to live with the fact that the wonderful story in your head is infinitely better, truer, more moving, more fascinating, more perceptive, than anything you're going to manage to get down on paper. (And if you ever think otherwise, then you've turned into an arrogant self-satisfied prat, and should look for another job or another avocation or another weekend activity.) So you have to learn to live with the fact that you're never going to write well enough. Of course that's what keeps you trying -- trying as hard as you can -- which is a good thing.
V.S. Pritchett's definition of a short story is 'something glimpsed from the corner of the eye, in passing.' Notice the 'glimpse' part of this. First the glimpse. Then the glimpse gives life, turned into something that illuminates the moment and may, if we're lucky -- that word again -- have even further ranging consequences and meaning. The short story writer's task is to invest the glimpse with all that is in his power. He'll bring his intelligence and literary skill to bear (his talent), his sense of proportion and sense of the fitness of things: of how things out there really are and how he sees those things -- like no one else sees them. And this is done through the use of clear and specific language, language used so as to bring to life the details that will light up the story for the reader. For the details to be concrete and convey meaning, the language must be accurate and precisely given. The words can be so precise they may even sound flat, but they can still carry; if used right they can hit all the notes.
Ah. You know, people like you, Ogu, really have no idea what the real India is like. Especially you - South Delhi is such a vulgar place, and your only companion there is Pultukaku, you are bound to get an insane perspective on the real things - appalling poverty and even more appalling ignorance. But, then, look at our education system. Dr. Prem Krishen of Meerut University has written a book on E.M. Forster, India's darling Englishman - most of us seem to be so grateful that he wrote that novel about India. Dr. Prem Krishen holds a Ph.D on Jane Austen from Meerut University. Have you ever been to Meerut? A vile place, but comfortably Indian. What is Jane Austen doing in Meerut? We're publishing Prem Krishen because he'll fetch us lots of money. His book is entirely in a question and answer form. Students lap that up. Why is some Jat teenager in Meerut reading Jane Austen? Why does a place like Meerut have a course in English at all? Only because the Prem Krishens of the country need a place where they can teach this rubbish? Surely they can spend the money they waste on running the department usefully elsewhere. That's why education is a real challenge. And in the years to come, as a bureaucrat you'll be in a position to do something about these things, things that matter. And yet you want to leave the IAS, for callow reasons, just because in Madna you don't see the girls that you see in Delhi and Bombay in their arse-hugging jeans and T-shirts with lewd one-liners.
If one keeps loving faithfully what is really worth loving, and does not waste one's love on insignificant and unworthy and meaningless things, one will get more light by and by and grow stronger. Sometimes it is well to go into the world and converse with people, and at times one is obliged to do so, but he who would prefer to be quietly alone with his work, and who wants but very few friends, will go safest through the world and among people. And even in the most refined circles and with the best surroundings and circumstances, one must keep something of the original character of an anchorite, for other wise one has no root in oneself; one must never let the fire go out in one's soul, but keep it burning. And whoever chooses poverty for himself and loves it possesses a great treasure, and will always clearly hear the voice of his conscience; he who hears and obeys that voice, which is the best gift of God, finds at least a friend in it, and is never alone.
One of the really bad things you can do to your writing is to dress up the vocabulary, looking for long words because you're maybe a little bit ashamed of your short ones. This is like dressing up a household pet in evening clothes. The pet is embarrassed and the person who committed this act of premeditated cuteness should be even more embarrassed.
People who will not turn a shovel full of dirt on the project nor contribute a pound of material, will collect more money from the United States than will the People who supply all the material and do all the work. This is the terrible thing about interest ...But here is the point: If the Nation can issue a dollar bond it can issue a dollar bill. The element that makes the bond good makes the bill good also. The difference between the bond and the bill is that the bond lets the money broker collect twice the amount of the bond and an additional 20%. Whereas the currency, the honest sort provided by the Constitution pays nobody but those who contribute in some useful way. It is absurd to say our Country can issue bonds and cannot issue currency. Both are promises to pay, but one fattens the usurer and the other helps the People. If the currency issued by the People were no good, then the bonds would be no good, either. It is a terrible situation when the Government, to insure the National Wealth, must go in debt and submit to ruinous interest charges at the hands of men who control the fictitious value of gold.
...What I have denied and what my reason compels me to deny, is the existence of a Being throned above us as a god, directing our mundane affairs in detail, regarding us as individuals, punishing us, rewarding us as human judges might.When the churches learn to take this rational view of things, when they become true schools of ethics and stop teaching fables, they will be more effective than they are to-day... If they would turn all that ability to teaching this one thing – the fact that honesty is best, that selfishness and lies of any sort must surely fail to produce happiness – they would accomplish actual things. Religious faiths and creeds have greatly hampered our development. They have absorbed and wasted some fine intellects. That creeds are getting to be less and less important to the average mind with every passing year is a good sign, I think, although I do not wish to talk about what is commonly called theology.The criticisms which have been hurled at me have not worried me. A man cannot control his beliefs. If he is honest in his frank expression of them, that is all that can in justice be required of him. Professor Thomson and a thousand others do not in the least agree with me. His criticism of me, as I read it, charged that because I doubted the soul’s immortality, or ‘personality,’ as he called it, my mind must be abnormal, ‘pathological,’ in other, words, diseased... I try to say exactly what I honestly believe to be the truth, and more than that no man can do. I honestly believe that creedists have built up a mighty structure of inaccuracy, based, curiously, on those fundamental truths which I, with every honest man, must not alone admit but earnestly acclaim.I have been working on the same lines for many years. I have tried to go as far as possible toward the bottom of each subject I have studied. I have not reached my conclusions through study of traditions; I have reached them through the study of hard fact. I cannot see that unproved theories or sentiment should be permitted to have influence in the building of conviction upon matters so important. Science proves its theories or it rejects them. I have never seen the slightest scientific proof of the religious theories of heaven and hell, of future life for individuals, or of a personal God. I earnestly believe that I am right; I cannot help believing as I do... I cannot accept as final any theory which is not provable. The theories of the theologians cannot be proved. Proof, proof! That is what I always have been after; that is what my mind requires before it can accept a theory as fact. Some things are provable, some things disprovable, some things are doubtful. All the problems which perplex us, now, will, soon or late, be solved, and solved beyond a question through scientific investigation. The thing which most impresses me about theology is that it does not seem to be investigating. It seems to be asserting, merely, without actual study....Moral teaching is the thing we need most in this world, and many of these men could be great moral teachers if they would but give their whole time to it, and to scientific search for the rock-bottom truth, instead of wasting it upon expounding theories of theology which are not in the first place firmly based. What we need is search for fundamentals, not reiteration of traditions born in days when men knew even less than we do now.[Columbian Magazine interview]
I don’t want to read about them!” But really, how can a picture hurt you?Better that each serve as a Hallmark card that greets your fitful fevers with reason and uncurtains your valor. Then, so gospeled, you may see that defeating a disaster is as innocently easy as deciding to go out to dinner. Remove the dread that bars your doors of perception, and you will enjoy a banquet of treats that will make the difference between suffering and safety. You will enter a brave new world that will erase your panic, and release you from the grip of terror, and relieve you of the deadening effects of indifference —and you will find that switch of initiative that will energize your intelligence, empower your imagination, and rouse your sense of vigilance in ways that will tilt the odds of danger from being forever against you to being always in your favor. Indeed, just thinking about a disaster is one of the best things you can do —because it allows you to imagine how you would respond in a way that is free of pain and destruction.Another reason why disasters seem so scary is that many victims tend to see them as a whole rather than divide them into much smaller and more manageable problems. A disaster can seem overwhelming when confronted with everything at once —but if you dice it into its tiny parts and knock them off one at a time, the whole thing can seem as easy as eating a lavish dinner one bite at a time.In a disaster you must also plan for disruption as well as destruction. Death and damage may make the news, but in almost every disaster far more lives are disrupted than destroyed. Witness the tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011 and killed 158 people. The path of death and destruction was less than a mile wide and only 22 miles long —but within thirty miles 160,000 citizens whose property didn’t suffer a dime of damage were profoundly disrupted by the carnage, loss of power and water, suspension of civic services, and inability to buy food, gas, and other necessities. You may rightfully believe your chances of dying in a disaster in your lifetime may be nearly nil, but the chances of your life being disrupted by a disaster in the next decade is nearly a sure thing.Not only should you prepare for disasters, you should learn to premeditate them. Prepare concerns the body; premeditate concerns the mind. Everywhere you go, think what could happen and how you might/could/would/should respond. Use your imagination. Fill your brain with these visualizations —run mind-movies in your head —develop a repertoire —until when you walk into a building/room/situation you’ll automatically know what to do. If a disaster does ambush you —sure you’re apt to panic, but in seconds your memory will load the proper video into your mobile disk drive and you’ll feel like you’re watching a scary movie for the second time and you’ll know what to expect and how to react. That’s why this book is important: its manner of vivifying disasters kickstarts and streamlines your acquiring these premeditations, which lays the foundation for satisfying your needs when a disaster catches you by surprise.