I’ve never liked urban myths. I’ve never liked pretending to believe in them; never understood why everyone else doesn’t see straight through them. Why is it they’ve always happened to a friend of a friend – someone you’ve never met? Why does everyone smile and nod and pull the right faces, when they must know they’re not true? Pointless. A waste of breath. So I sneered at the myths about Scaderstone Pit. It was just an old quarry – nothing more. I never believed in the rumours of discarded dynamite. It had decayed, they said. It exploded at the slightest touch, had even blown someone’s hand off. I shrugged off the talk of the toxic waste. It was dumped in the dead of night, they said. The canisters rusting away, leaking deadly poisons that could blind you, burn your lungs. I laughed at the ghost stories. You could hear the moans, they said, of quarrymen buried alive and never found. You could see their nightwalking souls, searching for their poor crushed bodies.I didn’t believe any of it – not one word. Now, after everything that’s happened, I wonder whether I should’ve listened to those stories. Maybe then, these things would’ve happened to someone else, and I could’ve smiled and said they were impossible.But this is not an urban myth. And it did not happen to someone else, but to me. I’ve set it down as best I can remember. Whether you believe it or not, is up to you.
I was never able to conquer the distance between persons. An animal is fixed to its here-and-now by the senses, but man manages to detach himself, to remember, to sympathize with others, to visualize their states of mind and feelings: this, fortunately, is not true. In such attempts at pseudo merging and transferral we are only able, imperfectly, darkly, to visualize ourselves. What would happen to us if we could truly sympathize with others, feel with them, suffer for them? The fact that human anguish, fear, and suffering melt away with the death of the individual, that nothing remains of the ascents, the declines, the orgasms, and the agonies, is a praiseworthy gift of evolution, which made us like the animals. If from every unfortunate, from every victim, there remained even a single atom of his feelings, if thus grew the inheritance ofthe generations, if even a spark could pass from man to man, the world would be full of raw, bowel-torn howling.We are like snails, each stuck to his own leaf.
Tell me something. Do you believe in God?'Snow darted an apprehensive glance in my direction. 'What? Who still believes nowadays?''It isn't that simple. I don't mean the traditional God of Earth religion. I'm no expert in the history of religions, and perhaps this is nothing new--do you happen to know if there was ever a belief in an...imperfect God?''What do you mean by imperfect?' Snow frowned. 'In a way all the gods of the old religions were imperfect, considered that their attributes were amplified human ones. The God of the Old Testament, for instance, required humble submission and sacrifices, and and was jealous of other gods. The Greek gods had fits of sulks and family quarrels, and they were just as imperfect as mortals...''No,' I interrupted. 'I'm not thinking of a god whose imperfection arises out of the candor of his human creators, but one whose imperfection represents his essential characteristic: a god limited in his omniscience and power, fallible, incapable of foreseeing the consequences of his acts, and creating things that lead to horror. He is a...sick god, whose ambitions exceed his powers and who does not realize it at first. A god who has created clocks, but not the time they measure. He has created systems or mechanisms that serves specific ends but have now overstepped and betrayed them. And he has created eternity, which was to have measured his power, and which measures his unending defeat.'Snow hesitated, but his attitude no longer showed any of the wary reserve of recent weeks:'There was Manicheanism...''Nothing at all to do with the principles of Good and Evil,' I broke in immediately. 'This god has no existence outside of matter. He would like to free himself from matter, but he cannot...'Snow pondered for a while:'I don't know of any religion that answers your description. That kind of religion has never been...necessary. If i understand you, and I'm afraid I do, what you have in mind is an evolving god, who develops in the course of time, grows, and keeps increasing in power while remaining aware of his powerlessness. For your god, the divine condition is a situation without a goal. And understanding that, he despairs. But isn't this despairing god of yours mankind, Kelvin? Is it man you are talking about, and that is a fallacy, not just philosophically but also mystically speaking.'I kept on:'No, it's nothing to do with man. man may correspond to my provisional definition from some point of view, but that is because the definition has a lot of gaps. Man does not create gods, in spite of appearances. The times, the age, impose them on him. Man can serve is age or rebel against it, but the target of his cooperation or rebellion comes to him from outside. If there was only a since human being in existence, he would apparently be able to attempt the experiment of creating his own goals in complete freedom--apparently, because a man not brought up among other human beings cannot become a man. And the being--the being I have in mind--cannot exist in the plural, you see? ...Perhaps he has already been born somewhere, in some corner of the galaxy, and soon he will have some childish enthusiasm that will set him putting out one star and lighting another. We will notice him after a while...''We already have,' Snow said sarcastically. 'Novas and supernovas. According to you they are candles on his altar.''If you're going to take what I say literally...'...Snow asked abruptly:'What gave you this idea of an imperfect god?''I don't know. It seems quite feasible to me. That is the only god I could imagine believing in, a god whose passion is not a redemption, who saves nothing, fulfills no purpose--a god who simply is.
Isn't it weird," I said, "the way you remember things, when someone's gone?"What do you mean?"I ate another piece of waffle. "When my dad first died, all I could think about was that day. It's taken me so long to be able to think back to before that, to everything else."Wes was nodding before I even finished. "It's even worse when someone's sick for a long time," he said. "You forget they were ever healthy, ever okay. It's like there was never a time when you weren't waiting for something awful to happen."But there was," I said. "I mean, it's only been in the last few months that I've started remembering all this good stuff, funny stuff about my dad. I can't believe I ever forgot it in the first place."You didn't forget," Wes said, taking a sip of his water. "You just couldn't remember right then. But now you're ready to, so you can."I thought about this as I finished off my waffle.
I've always noticed you, but never thought I deserved someone like you?” That wasn't right. It was cheesy and over-the-top, and still somehow inadequate to describe the maelstrom of emotions he felt when he was around Sam. Mike made it seem simple, but it wasn't. This wasn't like hooking up with a hot guy he'd met on the dance floor, it was Sam. The sweet, cerebral, quiet man who'd been his friend for nearly two years and somehow managed to sneak out of the friend box into this no man's land where every word, every gesture was a promise Devin wasn't sure he could keep.
I’ve heard it said many times when talking about going to heaven, ‘You can’t take it with you.’ It’s true that you cannot take with you your house, car, money, or other things you have valued here on earth, but how about your husband, wife, parents, children, friends, and acquaintances? You personally will never be able to get someone into heaven, but God certainly can use you as a tool to spread the good news as He brings more people to Himself.
Well, I’ve had my fun; I’ve had it, he thought, looking up at the swinging baskets of pale geraniums. And it was smashed to atoms—his fun, for it was half made up, as he knew very well; invented, this escapade with the girl; made up, as one makes up the better part of life, he thought—making onself up; making her up; creating an exquisite amusement, and something more. But odd it was, and quite true; all this one could never share—it smashed to atoms.
No,” she breathes. The smell of her turns to spice, sharp and warm, and I know I’m sensing her now, even through the block in the house.We stand like that for an eternity, still as statues on the outside, but inside I’m running, running toward a place I’ve never been. I should be terrified. But all I feel is strength. Rightness.And then Kara moves, her hands skimming up my chest, testing the boundaries. Her palms slide to my shoulders, her fingers tracing the line of the muscles in my arms, down to my waist. She grips my shirt, stretching it a little, waiting for me to tell her to stop. But I watch her lift it, let her pull it up, raising my arms, and I even take the last of it off myself, dropping it to the floor.We breathe, staring at each other.The vibrations move between us. My left arm buzzes with them. I think she’s doing it. Whatever’s happening, it’s her.I reach up and brush my marked knuckles across her cheek, amazed at the feel of her, the way her eyes seem to see everything, the way she pulls me into her. I can’t seem to remember why I shouldn’t kiss her. And kiss her. And . . .I kiss her, taking her face in both hands, skimming my thumb over her jaw as she leans into the touch, reaching out to curl her fingers around the back of my neck. I have to remind myself to breathe. I need more of her. The emotions roll over me in a rush, a tangle of sensation and movement, heat and sugar and heady aromas.I grip her tighter.Her nails dig into my shoulders. My hands slide down her spine. The kiss deepens, goes on forever, until I can barely see sense. I explore her shape, the feel of her ribs, the textures and taste of her skin on my tongue as I kiss her neck, her shoulders, her chest. As I draw trembling gasps from her lips, she grips me so hard it hurts.Our bodies mesh. Our breath mingles in frenzied desperation. Nothing else exists except her. Her warmth. Her spice. Her.
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?
We came back [from Mars]," Pris said, "because nobody should have to live there. It wasn't conceived for habitation, at least not within the last billion years. It's so old. You feel it in the stones, the terrible old age. Anyhow, at first I got drugs from Roy; I lived for that new synthetic pain-killer, that silenizine.And then I met Horst Hartman, who at that time ran a stamp store, rare postage stamps; there's so much time on your hands that you've got to have a hobby, something you can pore over endlessly.And Horst got me interested in pre-colonial fiction.""You mean old books?""Stories written before space travel but about space travel.""How could there have been stories about space travel before - ""The writers," Pris said, "made it up.""Based on what?""On imagination. A lot of times they turned out wrong [...] Anyhow, there's a fortune to be made in smuggling pre-colonial fiction, the old magazines and books and films, to Mars. Nothing is as exciting. To read about cities and huge industrial enterprises, and really successful colonization. You can imagine what it might have been like. What Mars ought to be like. Canals.""Canals?" Dimly, he remembered reading about that; in the olden days they had believed in canals on Mars."Crisscrossing the planet," Pris said. "And beings from other stars. With infinite wisdom. And stories about Earth, set in our time and even later. Where there's no radioactive dust." [...]"Did you bring any of that pre-colonial reading material back with you?" It occurred to him that he ought to try some."It's worthless, here, because here on Earth the craze never caught on. Anyhow there's plenty here, in the libraries; that's where we get all of ours - stolen from libraries here on Earth and shot by autorocket to Mars. You're out at night humbling across the open space, and all of a sudden you see a flare, and there's a rocket, cracked open, with old pre-colonial fiction magazines spilling out everywhere. A fortune. But of course you read them before you sell them." She warmed to her topic."Of all -
I’ve never believed in fairy tales. One day, the fairies will tell this story. There will be a valiant prince, a part no doubt played in history by the brave Vartan who journeys to rescue his bride from a dragon. There will be fairies. There will be horse-birds and there will be an enchanted blade. But, I will no doubt be stricken from the tale, a cursed blemish on a shining story. Happy endings don’t always happen in the real world.
Loneliness, I've read, is like being in a long line, waiting to reach the front where it's promised something good will happen. Only the line never moves, and other people are always coming in ahead of you, and the front, the place where you want to be, is always farther and farther away until you no longer believe it has anything to offer you.
My father and I used to watch a ton of old horror movies when I was growing up. ’The Creature from the Black Lagoon‘ was one of my father’s favorites and he was very excited for me to see the film. But after the movie was over, I told him that I was kind of bored. I said to him, ‘I’m sorry, Daddy, but I saw the zipper in the back of the monster’s costume. From that point on, I was really never scared at all. The point I’m trying to make is that I don’t believe someone intentionally tipped off the target. And I maintain that no one made some horrendous mistake, which I’m now trying to cover up. I believe what really happened with the operation was that our target ended up seeing the zipper. Orlo Kharms realized something around him wasn’t… real. And he was able to avoid the trap we had laid out for him.
I've never believed that they're separate. Leonardo da Vinci was a great artist and a great scientist. Michelangelo knew a tremendous amount about how to cut stone at the quarry. The finest dozen computer scientists I know are all musicians. Some are better than others, but they all consider that an important part of their life. I don't believe that the best people in any of these fields see themselves as one branch of a forked tree. I just don't see that.People bring these things together a lot. Dr. Land at Polaroid said, "I want Polaroid to stand at the intersection of art and science," and I've never forgotten that. I think that that's possible, and I think a lot of people have tried.
I've never seen anything like it. I've had lots of people ask me about it, and I wish to heck I could explain it. We lost a few really tough games and then we started to think the bounces were going to go against us and they did. You can look at it one of two ways. Was the aberration at home or on the road? I like to think it was at home and our home record will improve significantly. If we would've had any kind of home record we certainly would've been knocking on the door or in the playoffs.
I’m completely library educated. I’ve never been to college. I went down to the library when I was in grade school in Waukegan, and in high school in Los Angeles, and spent long days every summer in the library. I used to steal magazines from a store on Genesee Street, in Waukegan, and read them and then steal them back on the racks again. That way I took the print off with my eyeballs and stayed honest. I didn’t want to be a permanent thief, and I was very careful to wash my hands before I read them. But with the library, it’s like catnip, I suppose: you begin to run in circles because there’s so much to look at and read. And it’s far more fun than going to school, simply because you make up your own list and you don’t have to listen to anyone. When I would see some of the books my kids were forced to bring home and read by some of their teachers, and were graded on—well, what if you don’t like those books?