It just took some people a little longer than others to realize how few words they needed to get by, how much of life they could negotiate in silence.
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It just took some people a little longer than others to realize how few words they needed to get by, how much of life they could negotiate in silence.

-Tom Perrotta

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Here we introduce the nation's first great communications monopolist, whose reign provides history's first lesson in the power and peril of concentrated control over the flow of information. Western Union's man was one Rutherford B. Hates, an obscure Ohio politician described by a contemporary journalist as "a third rate nonentity." But the firm and its partner newswire, the Associated Press, wanted Hayes in office, for several reasons. Hayes was a close friend of William Henry Smith, a former politician who was now the key political operator at the Associated Press. More generally, since the Civil War, the Republican Party and the telegraph industry had enjoyed a special relationship, in part because much of what were eventually Western Union's lines were built by the Union Army.So making Hayes president was the goal, but how was the telegram in Reid's hand key to achieving it?The media and communications industries are regularly accused of trying to influence politics, but what went on in the 1870s was of a wholly different order from anything we could imagine today. At the time, Western Union was the exclusive owner of the nationwide telegraph network, and the sizable Associated Press was the unique source for "instant" national or European news. (It's later competitor, the United Press, which would be founded on the U.S. Post Office's new telegraph lines, did not yet exist.) The Associated Press took advantage of its economies of scale to produce millions of lines of copy a year and, apart from local news, its product was the mainstay of many American newspapers.With the common law notion of "common carriage" deemed inapplicable, and the latter day concept of "net neutrality" not yet imagined, Western Union carried Associated Press reports exclusively. Working closely with the Republican Party and avowedly Republican papers like The New York Times (the ideal of an unbiased press would not be established for some time, and the minting of the Time's liberal bona fides would take longer still), they did what they could to throw the election to Hayes. It was easy: the AP ran story after story about what an honest man Hayes was, what a good governor he had been, or just whatever he happened to be doing that day. It omitted any scandals related to Hayes, and it declined to run positive stories about his rivals (James Blaine in the primary, Samuel Tilden in the general). But beyond routine favoritism, late that Election Day Western Union offered the Hayes campaign a secret weapon that would come to light only much later.Hayes, far from being the front-runner, had gained the Republican nomination only on the seventh ballot. But as the polls closed his persistence appeared a waste of time, for Tilden, the Democrat, held a clear advantage in the popular vote (by a margin of over 250,000) and seemed headed for victory according to most early returns; by some accounts Hayes privately conceded defeat. But late that night, Reid, the New York Times editor, alerted the Republican Party that the Democrats, despite extensive intimidation of Republican supporters, remained unsure of their victory in the South. The GOP sent some telegrams of its own to the Republican governors in the South with special instructions for manipulating state electoral commissions. As a result the Hayes campaign abruptly claimed victory, resulting in an electoral dispute that would make Bush v. Gore seem a garden party. After a few brutal months, the Democrats relented, allowing Hayes the presidency — in exchange, most historians believe, for the removal of federal troops from the South, effectively ending Reconstruction.The full history of the 1876 election is complex, and the power of th

-Timothy Wu

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Most parents try really hard to give their kids the best possible life. They give them the best food and clothes they can afford, take their own kind of take on training kids to be honest and polite. But what they don't realize is no matter how much they try, their kids will get out there. Out to this complicated little world. If they are lucky they will survive, through backstabbers, broken hearts, failures and all the kinds of invisible insane pressures out there. But most kids get lost in them. They will get caught up in all kinds of bubbles. Trouble bubbles. Bubbles that continuously tell them that they are not good enough. Bubbles that get them carried away with what they think is love, give them broken hearts. Bubbles that will blur the rest of the world to them, make them feel like that is it, that they've reached the end. Sometimes, even the really smart kids, make stupid decisions. They lose control. Parents need to realize that the world is getting complicated every second of every day. With new problems, new diseases, new habits. They have to realize the vast probability of their kids being victims of this age, this complicated era. Your kids could be exposed to problems that no kind of therapy can help. Your kids could be brainwashed by themselves to believe in insane theories that drive them crazy. Most kids will go through this stage. The lucky ones will understand. They will grow out of them. The unlucky ones will live in these problems. Grow in them and never move forward. They will cut themselves, overdose on drugs, take up excessive drinking and smoking, for the slightest problems in their lives. You can't blame these kids for not being thankful or satisfied with what they have. Their mentality eludes them from the reality.

-Thisuri Wanniarachchi

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The phone rang. It was a familiar voice.It was Alan Greenspan. Paul O'Neill had tried to stay in touch with people who had served under Gerald Ford, and he'd been reasonably conscientious about it. Alan Greenspan was the exception. In his case, the effort was constant and purposeful. When Greenspan was the chairman of Ford's Council of Economic Advisers, and O'Neill was number two at OMB, they had become a kind of team. Never social so much. They never talked about families or outside interests. It was all about ideas: Medicare financing or block grants - a concept that O'Neill basically invented to balance federal power and local autonomy - or what was really happening in the economy. It became clear that they thought well together. President Ford used to have them talk about various issues while he listened. After a while, each knew how the other's mind worked, the way married couples do.In the past fifteen years, they'd made a point of meeting every few months. It could be in New York, or Washington, or Pittsburgh. They talked about everything, just as always. Greenspan, O'Neill told a friend, "doesn't have many people who don't want something from him, who will talk straight to him. So that's what we do together - straight talk."O'Neill felt some straight talk coming in."Paul, I'll be blunt. We really need you down here," Greenspan said. "There is a real chance to make lasting changes. We could be a team at the key moment, to do the things we've always talked about."The jocular tone was gone. This was a serious discussion. They digressed into some things they'd "always talked about," especially reforming Medicare and Social Security. For Paul and Alan, the possibility of such bold reinventions bordered on fantasy, but fantasy made real."We have an extraordinary opportunity," Alan said. Paul noticed that he seemed oddly anxious. "Paul, your presence will be an enormous asset in the creation of sensible policy."Sensible policy. This was akin to prayer from Greenspan. O'Neill, not expecting such conviction from his old friend, said little. After a while, he just thanked Alan. He said he always respected his counsel. He said he was thinking hard about it, and he'd call as soon as he decided what to do.The receiver returned to its cradle. He thought about Greenspan. They were young men together in the capital. Alan stayed, became the most noteworthy Federal Reserve Bank chairman in modern history and, arguably the most powerful public official of the past two decades. O'Neill left, led a corporate army, made a fortune, and learned lessons - about how to think and act, about the importance of outcomes - that you can't ever learn in a government.But, he supposed, he'd missed some things. There were always trade-offs. Talking to Alan reminded him of that. Alan and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, White House correspondent for NBC news, lived a fine life. They weren't wealthy like Paul and Nancy. But Alan led a life of highest purpose, a life guided by inquiry.Paul O'Neill picked up the telephone receiver, punched the keypad."It's me," he said, always his opening.He started going into the details of his trip to New York from Washington, but he's not much of a phone talker - Nancy knew that - and the small talk trailed off."I think I'm going to have to do this."She was quiet. "You know what I think," she said.She knew him too well, maybe. How bullheaded he can be, once he decides what's right. How he had loved these last few years as a sovereign, his own man. How badly he was suited to politics, as it was being played. And then there was that other problem: she'd almost always been right about what was best for him."Whatever, Paul. I'm behind you. If you don't do this, I guess you'll always regret it."But it was clearly about what he wanted, what he needed.Paul thanked her. Though somehow a thank-you didn't seem appropriate.And then he realized she was crying.

-Ron Suskind

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Dear Neil Armstrong,I write this to you as she sleeps down the hall. I need answers I think only you might have. When you were a boy, and space was simple science fiction, when flying was merely a daydream between periods of History and Physics, when gifts of moon dust to the one you loved could only be wrapped in your imagination.. Before the world knew your name; before it was a destination in the sky.. What was the moon like from your back yard?Your arm, strong warm and wrapped under her hair both of you gazing up from your back porch summers before your distant journey. But upon landing on the moon, as the earth rose over the sea of tranquility, did you look for her? What was it like to see our planet, and know that everything, all you could be, all you could ever love and long for.. was just floating before you. Did you write her name in the dirt when the cameras weren't looking? Surrounding both your initials with a heart for alien life to study millions of years from now? What was it like to love something so distant? What words did you use to bring the moon back to her? And what did you promise in the moons ear, about that girl back home? Can you, teach me, how to fall from the sky?I ask you this, not because I doubt your feat, I just want to know what it's like to go somewhere no man had ever been, just to find that she wasn't there. To realize your moon walk could never compare to the steps that led to her. I now know that the flight home means more. Every July I think of you. I imagine the summer of 1969, how lonely she must have felt while you were gone.. You never went back to the moon. And I believe that's because it dosen't take rockets to get you where you belong. I see that in this woman down the hall, sometimes she seems so much further. But I'm ready for whatever steps I must take to get to her.I have seem SO MANY skies.. but the moon, well, it always looks the same. So I gotta say, Neil, that rock you landed on, has got NOTHING on the rock she's landed on. You walked around, took samples and left.. She's built a fire cleaned up the place and I hope she decides to stay.. because on this rock.. we can breath.Mr. Armstrong, I don't have much, many times have I been upside down with trauma, but with these empty hands, comes a heart that is often more full than the moon. She's becoming my world, pulling me into orbit, and I now know that I may never find life outside of hers. I want to give her EVERYTHING I don't have yet.. So YES, for her, I would go to the moon and back.... But not without her. We'd claim the moon for each other, with flags made from sheets down the hall. And I'd risk it ALL to kiss her under the light of the earth, the brightness of home... but I can do all of that and more right here, where she is..And when we gaze up, her arms around ME, I will NOT promise her gifts of moon dust, or flights of fancy. Instead I will gladly give her all the earth she wants, in return for all the earth she is. The sound of her heart beat and laughter, and all the time it takes to return to fall from the sky,down the hall, and right into love.God, I'd do it every day, if I could just land next to her.One small step for man, but she's one giant leap for my kind.

-Mike McGee

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Because this painting has never been restored there is a heightened poignance to it somehow; it doesn’t have the feeling of unassailable permanence that paintings in museums do.There is a small crack in the lower left, and a little of the priming between the wooden panel and the oil emulsions of paint has been bared. A bit of abrasion shows, at the rim of a bowl of berries, evidence of time’s power even over this—which, paradoxically, only seems to increase its poetry, its deep resonance. If you could see the notes of a cello, when the bow draws slowly and deeply across its strings, and those resonant reverberations which of all instruments’ are nearest to the sound of the human voice emerge—no, the wrong verb, they seem to come into being all at once, to surround us, suddenly, with presence—if that were made visible, that would be the poetry of Osias Beert.But the still life resides in absolute silence.Portraits often seem pregnant with speech, or as if their subjects have just finished saying something, or will soon speak the thoughts that inform their faces, the thoughts we’re invited to read. Landscapes are full of presences, visible or unseen; soon nymphs or a stag or a band of hikers will make themselves heard.But no word will ever be spoken here, among the flowers and snails, the solid and dependable apples, this heap of rumpled books, this pewter plate on which a few opened oysters lie, giving up their silver.These are resolutely still, immutable, poised for a forward movement that will never occur. The brink upon which still life rests is the brink of time, the edge of something about to happen. Everything that we know crosses this lip, over and over, like water over the edge of a fall, as what might happen does, as any of the endless variations of what might come true does so, and things fall into being, tumble through the progression of existing in time.Painting creates silence. You could examine the objects themselves, the actors in a Dutch still life—this knobbed beaker, this pewter salver, this knife—and, lovely as all antique utilitarian objects are, they are not, would not be, poised on the edge these same things inhabit when they are represented.These things exist—if indeed they are still around at all—in time. It is the act of painting them that makes them perennially poised, an emergent truth about to be articulated, a word waiting to be spoken. Single word that has been forming all these years in the light on the knife’s pearl handle, in the drops of moisture on nearly translucent grapes: At the end of time, will that word be said?

-Mark Doty

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He couldn’t have known it, but among the original run of The History of Love, at least one copy was destined to change a life.This particular book was one of the last of the two thousand to be printed, and sat for longer than the rest in a warehouse in the outskirts of Santiago, absorbing the humidity. From there it was finally sent to a bookstore in Buenos Aires. The careless owner hardly noticed it, and for some years it languished on the shelves, acquiring a pattern of mildew across the cover. It was a slim volume, and its position on the shelf wasn’t exactly prime: crowded on the left by an overweight biography of a minor actress, and on the right by the once-bestselling novel of an author that everyone had since forgotten, it hardly left its spine visible to even the most rigorous browser. When the store changed owners it fell victim to a massive clearance, and was trucked off to another warehouse, foul, dingy, crawling with daddy longlegs, where it remained in the dark and damp before finally being sent to a small secondhand bookstore not far from the home of the writer Jorge Luis Borges. The owner took her time unpacking the books she’d bought cheaply and in bulk from the warehouse. One morning, going through the boxes, she discovered the mildewed copy of The History of Love. She’d never heard of it, but the title caught her eye. She put it aside, and during a slow hour in the shop she read the opening chapter, called 'The Age of Silence.' The owner of the secondhand bookstore lowered the volume of the radio. She flipped to the back flap of the book to find out more about the author, but all it said was that Zvi Litvinoff had been born in Poland and moved to Chile in 1941, where he still lived today. There was no photograph. That day, in between helping customers, she finished the book. Before locking up the shop that evening, she placed it in the window, a little wistful about having to part with it.The next morning, the first rays of the rising sun fell across the cover of The History of Love. The first of many flies alighted on its jacket. Its mildewed pages began to dry out in the heat as the blue-gray Persian cat who lorded over the shop brushed past it to lay claim to a pool of sunlight. A few hours later, the first of many passersby gave it a cursory glance as they went by the window.The shop owner did not try to push the book on any of her customers. She knew that in the wrong hands such a book could easily be dismissed or, worse, go unread. Instead she let it sit where it was in the hope that the right reader might discover it.And that’s what happened. One afternoon a tall young man saw the book in the window. He came into the shop, picked it up, read a few pages, and brought it to the register. When he spoke to the owner, she couldn’t place his accent. She asked where he was from, curious about the person who was taking the book away. Israel, he told her, explaining that he’d recently finished his time in the army and was traveling around South America for a few months. The owner was about to put the book in a bag, but the young man said he didn’t need one, and slipped it into his backpack. The door chimes were still tinkling as she watched him disappear, his sandals slapping against the hot, bright street.That night, shirtless in his rented room, under a fan lazily pushing around the hot air, the young man opened the book and, in a flourish he had been fine-tuning for years, signed his name: David Singer.Filled with restlessness and longing, he began to read.

-Nicole Krauss

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Only a man can see in the face of a woman the girl she was. It is a secret which can be revealed only to a particular man, and, then, only at his insistence. But men have no secrets, except from women, and never grow up in the way women do. It is very much harder, and it takes much longer, for a man to grow up, and he could never do it at all without women. This is a mystery which can terrify and immobilize a woman, and it is always the key to her deepest distress. She must watch and guide, but he must lead, and he will always appear to be giving far more of his real attention to his comrades than he is giving to her. But that noisy, outward openness of men with each other enables them to deal with the silence and secrecy of women, that silence and secrecy which contains the truth of a man, and releases it. I suppose that the root of the resentment—a resentment which hides a bottomless terror—has to do with the fact that a woman is tremendously controlled by what the man’s imagination makes of her—literally, hour by hour, day by day; so she becomes a woman. But a man exists in his own imagination, and can never be at the mercy of a woman’s.—Anyway, in this fucked up time and place, the whole thing becomes ridiculous when you realize that women are supposed to be more imaginative than men. This is an idea dreamed up by men, and it proves exactly the contrary. The truth is that dealing with the reality of men leaves a woman very little time, or need, for imagination. And you can get very fucked up, here, once you take seriously the notion that a man who is not afraid to trust his imagination (which is all that men have ever trusted) if effeminate. It says a lot about this country, because, of course, if all you want to do is make money, the very last thing you need is imagination. Or women, for that matter: or men.

-James Baldwin

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PROLOGUE Some years ago in the Planet Orfheus ... It was dark when Lucius reached the rendezvous which had been chosen to be the new hideout. The latter had been used for several months and they were concerned that they were being followed and were close to being discovered. "I thought you were not coming. I've been waiting for you for almost an hour. I was getting anxious," Sofia said, relieved. "Sorry, love. It is becoming increasingly difficult. I almost didn't make it today. The troops were ambushed in the last invasion. Igor and many warriors returned seriously injured," Lucius replied. He looked worried. Why this sudden encounter? They had agreed that the next would be the following week. Lucius gave her a big hug, pulled her close to him, and remained silent for a few moments. His longing and desire consumed him. She meant the world to him. Without Sofia, his life would never make sense. He would never forget those eyes, serene and sincere, with a blue so bright and clear that were able to see the soul of the tormented warrior that was he. With her golden hair, Sofia looked like an angel. "Is there a problem? You're so quiet and deep in thought," she asked, puzzled. He answered, "I'm thinking about us. How long are we keeping it secret?" He walked away from her, sighing. "We can't keep lying and pretending that all is well. You have no idea how much I have to endure when you are away from me, or when I see you with him." "Love, not now. We have already discussed this subject several times. You know that our only alternative would be to flee and pray they will never find us," she replied. Sofia knew very well that the laws of the kingdom could not be disregarded. Love, respect, and loyalty were key factors that were part of the hierarchy of Orfheus. Although she had always been in love with Lucius who had never shown any interest in her, Sofia was bound to his brother Alex as a result of a pact. Over the centuries, Lucius began to change and express loving feelings for her. She never ceased to love him and both succumbed to the temptation and passion of it. Inevitably, a love affair developed between the two. Interrupting her thoughts, Lucius grabbed her by the hand and led her into the hut. This hut was located inside a vast and beautiful forest. He pulled her by the waist, gave her a passionate kiss, stroked her hair, and said softly, "Love, I missed you so much." "I also felt homesick but the real reason I came here today is to tell you something very important. I need you to listen carefully and keep calm," she said as she ran her hands through her hair which contrasted with her pale skin. Sofia did not want to scare him. However, she imagined that he would be upset and angry with the news. Unfortunately, the revelation was inevitable and sooner or later, everything would come out. "I'm pregnant," she said unceremoniously. For a brief moment, Lucius said nothing. He just stared at her without any reaction. He seemed to be in a silent battle with his own thoughts. "But how?" he babbled, not believing what he had just heard. It was surely a bombshell revelation. That would be the end for them. Sofia said, "Stay calm, love. I know this changes everything. What we were planning for months is no longer possible." She sat on a makeshift stool and continued with tears in her eyes. "With the baby coming, I cannot simply go through the portal. The baby and I would die during the crossing." Lucius replied, "Could we ask for help from Aunt Wilda? She is very powerful. Probably she would be able to break through the magic of the portals." Sofia had already thought of that. She was well aware that it was the only choice left. Aunt Wilda had always been like a mother to her. The sorceress adopted her when she was a girl, soon after her family had died in combat.

-Gisele de

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The stars are brilliant at this time of night and I wander these streets like a ritual I don’t dare to break for darling, the times are quite glorious.I left him by the water’s edge,still waving long after the ship was goneand if someone would have screamed my name I wouldn’t have heard for I’ve said goodbye so many times in my short life that farewells are a muscular task and I’ve taught them well. There’s a place by the side of the railway near the lake where I grew up and I used to go there to burry things and start anew. I used to go there to say goodbye. I was young and did not know many people but I had hidden things inside that I never dared to show and in silence I tried to kill them, one way or the other,leaving sin on my body scrubbing tears off with saltand I built my rituals in farewells. Endings I still cling to. So I go to the ocean to say goodbye.He left that morning, the last words still echoing in my headand though he said he’d come back one day I know a broken promise from a right onefor I have used them myself and there is no coming back.Minds like ours are can’t be tamed and the price for freedom is the price we pay.I turned away from the oceanas not to fall for its pleafor it used to seduce and consume meand there was this one nighta few years back and I was not yet accustomed to farewellsand just like now I stood waving long after the ship was gone.But I was younger then and easily fooledand the ocean was deep and dark and blueand I took my shoes off to let the water freeze my bones.I waded until I could no longer walk and it was too cold to swim but still I kept on walking at the bottom of the sea for I could not tell the difference between the ocean and the lack of someone I loved and I had not yet learned how the task of moving on is as necessary as survival.Then days passed by and I spent them with my work and now I’m writing letters I will never dare to send.But there is this one day every year or sowhen the burden gets too heavyand I collect my belongings I no longer needand make my way to the ocean to burn and drown and start anewand it is quite wonderful, setting fire to my chains and flames on written wordsand I stand there, starring deep into the heat until they’re all gone. Nothing left to hold me back.You kissed me that morning as if you’d never done it before and never would again and now I write another letter that I will never dare to send, collecting memories of loss like chains wrapped around my veins,and if you see a fire from the shore tonightit’s my chains going up in flames. The time of moon i quite glorious. We could have been so glorious.

-Charlotte Eriksson

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Let's press ahead a little further by sketching out a few variations among short shorts:ONE THRUST OF INCIDENT. (Examples: Paz, Mishima, Shalamov, Babel, W. C. Williams.) In these short shorts the time span is extremely brief, a few hours, maybe even a few minutes: Life is grasped in symbolic compression. One might say that these short shorts constitute epiphanies (climactic moments of high grace or realization) that have been tom out of their contexts. You have to supply the contexts yourself, since if the contexts were there, they'd no longer be short shorts.LIFE ROLLED UP. (Examples: Tolstoy's 'Alyosha the Pot,' Verga's 'The Wolf,' D. H. Lawrence's 'A Sick Collier.') In these you get the illusion of sustained narrative, since they deal with lives over an extended period of time; but actually these lives are so compressed into typicality and paradigm, the result seems very much like a single incident. Verga's 'Wolf' cannot but repeat her passions, Tolstoy's Alyosha his passivity. Themes of obsession work especially well in this kind of short short.SNAP-SHOT OR SINGLE FRAME. (Examples: Garda Marquez, Boll, Katherine Anne Porter.) In these we have no depicted event or incident, only an interior monologue or flow of memory. A voice speaks, as it were, into the air. A mind is revealed in cross-section - and the cut is rapid. One would guess that this is the hardest kind of short short to write: There are many pitfalls such as tiresome repetition, being locked into a single voice, etc.LIKE A FABLE. (Examples: Kafka, Keller, von Kleist, Tolstoy's 'Three Hermits.') Through its very concision, this kind of short short moves past realism. We are prodded into the fabulous, the strange, the spooky. To write this kind of fable-like short short, the writer needs a supreme self-confidence: The net of illusion can be cast only once. When we read such fable-like miniatures, we are prompted to speculate about significance, teased into shadowy parallels or semi allegories. There are also, however, some fables so beautifully complete (for instance Kafka's 'First Sorrow') that we find ourselves entirely content with the portrayed surface and may even take a certain pleasure in refusing interpretation.("Introduction")

-Irving Howe

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I was going to die, sooner or later, whether or not I had even spoken myself. My silences had not protected me. Your silences will not protect you.... What are the words you do not yet have? What are the tyrannies you swallow day by day and attempt to make your own, until you will sicken and die of them, still in silence? We have been socialized to respect fear more than our own need for language."I began to ask each time: "What's the worst that could happen to me if I tell this truth?" Unlike women in other countries, our breaking silence is unlikely to have us jailed, "disappeared" or run off the road at night. Our speaking out will irritate some people, get us called bitchy or hypersensitive and disrupt some dinner parties. And then our speaking out will permit other women to speak, until laws are changed and lives are saved and the world is altered forever.Next time, ask: What's the worst that will happen? Then push yourself a little further than you dare. Once you start to speak, people will yell at you. They will interrupt you, put you down and suggest it's personal. And the world won't end.And the speaking will get easier and easier. And you will find you have fallen in love with your own vision, which you may never have realized you had. And you will lose some friends and lovers, and realize you don't miss them. And new ones will find you and cherish you. And you will still flirt and paint your nails, dress up and party, because, as I think Emma Goldman said, "If I can't dance, I don't want to be part of your revolution." And at last you'll know with surpassing certainty that only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth. And that is not speaking.

-Audre Lorde

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I landed on my side, my hip taking the brunt of the fall. It burned and stung from the hit, but I ignored it and struggled to sit up quickly. There really was no point in hurrying so no one would see. Everyone already sawA pair of jean-clad legs appeared before me, and my suitcase and all my other stuff was dropped nearby. "Whatcha doing down there?" Romeo drawled, his hands on his hips as he stared down at me with dancing blue eyes."Making a snow angel," I quipped. I glanced down at my hands, which were covered with wet snow and bits of salt (to keep the pavement from getting icy).Clearly, ice wasn't required for me to fall.A small group of girls just "happened by", and by that I mean they'd been staring at Romeo with puppy dog eyes and giving me the stink eye. When I fell, they took it as an opportunity to descend like buzzards stalking the dead. Their leader was the girl who approached me the very first day I'd worn Romeo's hoodie around campus and told me he'd get bored. As they stalked closer, looking like clones from the movie Mean Girls, I caught the calculating look in her eyes. This wasn't going to be good.I pushed up off the ground so I wouldn't feel so vulnerable, but the new snow was slick and my hand slid right out from under me and I fell back again. Romeo was there immediately, the teasing light in his eyes gone as he slid his hand around my back and started to pull me up. "Careful, babe." he said gently.The girls were behind him so I knew he hadn't seen them approach. They stopped as one unit, and I braced myself for whatever their leader was about to say.She was wearing painted-on skinny jeans (I mean, really, how did she sit down and still breathe?) and some designer coat with a monogrammed scarf draped fashionably around her neck. Her boots were high-heeled, made of suede and laced up the back with contrasting ribbon. "Wow," she said, opening her perfectly painted pink lips. "I saw that from way over there. That sure looked like it hurt." She said it fairly amicably, but anyone who could see the twist to her mouth as she said it would know better. Romeo paused in lifting me to my feet. I felt his eyes on me. Then his lips thinned as he turned and looked over his shoulder. "Ladies," he said like he was greeting a group of welcomed friends. Annoyance prickled my stomach like tiny needles stabbing me. It's not that I wanted him to be rude, but did he have to sound so welcoming?"Romeo," Cruella DeBarbie (I don't know her real name, but this one fit) purred. "Haven't you grown bored of this clumsy mule yet?"Unable to stop myself, I gasped and jumped up to my feet. If she wanted to call me a mule, I'd show her just how much of an ass I could be.Romeo brought his arm out and stopped me from marching past. I collided into him, and if his fingers hadn't knowingly grabbed hold to steady me, I'd have fallen again."Actually," Romeo said, his voice calm, "I am pretty bored."Three smirks were sent my way. What a bunch of idiots."The view from where I'm standing sure leaves a lot to be desired."One by one, their eyes rounded when they realized the view he referenced was them. Without another word, he pivoted around and looked down at me, his gaze going soft. "No need to make snow angels, baby," he said loud enough for the slack-jawed buzzards to hear. "You already look like one standing here with all that snow in your hair."Before I could say a word, he picked me up and fastened his mouth to mine. My legs wound around his waist without thought, and I kissed him back as gentle snow fell against our faces.

-Cambria Hebert

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a serious contender for my book of year. I can't believe I only discovered Chris Carter a year ago and I now consider him to be one of my favourite crime authors of all time. For that reason this is a difficult review to write because I really want to show just how fantastic this book is.It's a huge departure from what we are used to from Chris, this book is very different from the books that came before. That said it could not have been more successful in my opinion. After five books of Hunter trying to capture a serial killer it makes sense to shake things up a bit and Chris has done that in best possible way. By allowing us to get inside the head of one of the most evil characters I've ever read about. It is also the first book based on real facts and events from Chris's criminal psychology days and that makes it all the more shocking and fascinating. Chris Carter's imagination knows no bounds and I love it. The scenes, the characters, whatever he comes up with is both original and mind blowing and that has never been more so than with this book. I feel like I can't even mention the plot even just a little bit. This is a book that should be read in the same way that I read it: with my heart in my mouth, my eyes unblinking and in a state of complete obliviousness to the world around me while I was well and truly hooked on this book. This is addictive reading at its absolute best and I was devastated when I turned the very last page. Robert Hunter, after the events of the last few books is looking forward to a much needed break in Hawaii. Before he can escape however his Captain calls him to her office. Arriving, Hunter recognises someone - one of the most senior members of the FBI who needs his help. They have in custody one of the strangest individuals they have ever come across, a man who is more machine than human and who for days has uttered not a single word. Until one morning he utters seven: 'I will only speak to Robert Hunter'. The man is Hunter's roommate and best friend from college, Lucien Folter, and found in the boot of his car are two severed and mutilated heads. Lucien cries innocence and Hunter, a man incredibly difficult to read or surprise is played just as much as the reader is by Lucien. There are a million and one things I want to say but I just can't. You really have to discover how this story unfolds for yourself. In this book we learn so much more about Hunter and get inside his head even further than we have before. There's a chapter that almost brought me to tears such is the talent of Chris to connect the reader with Hunter. This is a character like no other and he is now one of my favourite detectives of all time. We go back in time and learn more about Hunter when he was younger, and also when he was in college with Lucien. Lucien is evil. The scenes depicted in this book are some of the most graphic I've ever read and you know what, I loved it. After five books of some of the scariest and goriest scenes I've ever read I wondered whether Chris could come up with something even worse (in a good way), but trust me, he does. This book is horrifying, terrifying and near impossible to put down until you reach its conclusion. I spent my days like a zombie and my nights practically giving myself paper cuts turning the pages. If when reading this book you think you have an idea of where it will go, prepare to be wrong. I've learnt never to underestimate Chris, keeping readers on their toes he takes them on an absolute rollercoaster of a ride with the twistiest of turns and the biggest of drops you will finish this book reeling. I am on a serious book hangover, what book can I read next that can even compare to this? I have no idea but if you are planning on reading An Evil Mind I cannot reccommend it enough. Not only is this probably my book of the year it is probably the best crime fiction book I have ever read. An exaggeration you might say but my opinion is my own and this real

-Ayaz mallah

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Bowman was aware of some changes in his behavior patterns; it would have been absurd to expect anything else in the circumstances. He could no longer tolerate silence; except when he was sleeping, or talking over the circuit to Earth, he kept the ship's sound system running at almost painful loudness. / At first, needing the companionship of the human voice, he had listened to classical plays--especially the works of Shaw, Ibsen, and Shakespeare--or poetry readings from Discovery's enormous library of recorded sounds. The problems they dealt with, however, seemed so remote, or so easily resolved with a little common sense, that after a while he lost patience with them. / So he switched to opera--usually in Italian or German, so that he was not distracted even by the minimal intellectual content that most operas contained. This phase lasted for two weeks before he realized that the sound of all these superbly trained voices was only exacerbating his loneliness. But what finally ended this cycle was Verdi's Requiem Mass, which he had never heard performed on Earth. The "Dies Irae," roaring with ominous appropriateness through the empty ship, left him completely shattered; and when the trumpets of Doomsday echoed from the heavens, he could endure no more. / Thereafter, he played only instrumental music. He started with the romantic composers, but shed them one by one as their emotional outpourings became too oppressive. Sibelius, Tchaikovsky, Berlioz, lasted a few weeks, Beethoven rather longer. He finally found peace, as so many others had done, in the abstract architecture of Bach, occasionally ornamented with Mozart. / And so Discovery drove on toward Saturn, as often as not pulsating with the cool music of the harpsichord, the frozen thoughts of a brain that had been dust for twice a hundred years.

-Arthur C.

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..I began speaking.. First, I took issue with the media's characterization of the post-Katrina New Orleans as resembling the third world as its poor citizens clamored for a way out. I suggested that my experience in New Orleans working with the city's poorest people in the years before the storm had reflected the reality of third-world conditions in New Orleans, and that Katrina had not turned New Orleans into a third-world city but had only revealed it to the world as such. I explained that my work, running Reprieve, a charity that brought lawyers and volunteers to the Deep South from abroad to work on death penalty issues, had made it clear to me that much of the world had perceived this third-world reality, even if it was unnoticed by our own citizens. To try answer Ryan's question, I attempted to use my own experience to explain that for many people in New Orleans, and in poor communities across the country, the government was merely an antagonist, a terrible landlord, a jailer, and a prosecutor. As a lawyer assigned to indigent people under sentence of death and paid with tax dollars, I explained the difficulty of working with clients who stand to be executed and who are provided my services by the state, not because they deserve them, but because the Constitution requires that certain appeals to be filed before these people can be killed. The state is providing my clients with my assistance, maybe the first real assistance they have ever received from the state, so that the state can kill them. I explained my view that the country had grown complacent before Hurricane Katrina, believing that the civil rights struggle had been fought and won, as though having a national holiday for Martin Luther King, or an annual march by politicians over the bridge in Selma, Alabama, or a prosecution - forty years too late - of Edgar Ray Killen for the murder of civil rights workers in Philadelphia, Mississippi, were any more than gestures. Even though President Bush celebrates his birthday, wouldn't Dr. King cry if he could see how little things have changed since his death? If politicians or journalists went to Selma any other day of the year, they would see that it is a crumbling city suffering from all of the woes of the era before civil rights were won as well as new woes that have come about since. And does anyone really think that the Mississippi criminal justice system could possibly be a vessel of social change when it incarcerates a greater percentage of its population than almost any place in the world, other than Louisiana and Texas, and then compels these prisoners, most of whom are black, to work prison farms that their ancestors worked as chattel of other men? ...I hoped, out loud, that the post-Katrina experience could be a similar moment [to the Triangle Shirtwaist factory fiasco], in which the American people could act like the children in the story and declare that the emperor has no clothes, and hasn't for a long time. That, in light of Katrina, we could be visionary and bold about what people deserve. We could say straight out that there are people in this country who are racist, that minorities are still not getting a fair shake, and that Republican policies heartlessly disregard the needs of individual citizens and betray the common good. As I stood there, exhausted, in front of the thinning audience of New Yorkers, it seemed possible that New Orleans's destruction and the suffering of its citizens hadn't been in vain.

-Billy Sothern

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