My only hope is that the Big Lebowski kills me before the Germans can cut my dick off.

-Jeffrey The Dude Lebowski

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Why don't you just do it, then?" Racath hissed. "Just kill me. I dare you."Now, I assume you know what this is. You've seen this before in other stories - the part where the disgruntled villain stands over the hero. He is triumphant, the hero now at his mercy. But when commanded to slay him, he hesitates. He lowers his sword. And he says: "I cannot."If you are to take away but one thing from the words I have spoken, let it be this: there is a world of difference between "I Cannot" and "I will not". "I cannot" is a surrender. It implies a lack of options. Someone who says such a thing does so only because they have no other choice. They do not WISH to relent - in fact, they usually want to obey their mandate and destroy the hero at their feet. But they cannot, because the guilt is too unbearable. But that does not make him a better man; all that a man who says "I cannot" has done, is given in to the compulsion to repent.Allow me to make myself perfectly clear - I HAD other options. Easy options. Simple options. I could have killed Racath Thanjel that day. I could have killed him and all the others, too. I could have left them dead and bloody on that grassy hill, and gone trotting back to the Imperator's lap. I could have shrugged off the attrition that had dogged my every step, thought better of my disenssion, given up on all hope of absolution and accepted my damnation. And I could have spent the rest of eternity destroying God's green earth at Lavethion's side.I could have. It would have been so easy. So simple. So wrong. And I didn't want to.And so I took a sickened step away. Stabbed Osveta into the grass. Shook my head. And said: "I won't.

-S.G. Night

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DADDYYou do not do, you do not doAny more, black shoeIn which I have lived like a footFor thirty years, poor and white,Barely daring to breathe or Achoo.Daddy, I have had to kill you.You died before I had time―Marble-heavy, a bag full of God,Ghastly statue with one grey toeBig as a Frisco sealAnd a head in the freakish AtlanticWhen it pours bean green over blueIn the waters of beautiful Nauset.I used to pray to recover you.Ach, du.In the German tongue, in the Polish townScraped flat by the rollerOf wars, wars, wars.But the name of the town is common.My Polack friendSays there are a dozen or two.So I never could tell where youPut your foot, your root,I never could talk to you.The tongue stuck in my jaw.It stuck in a barb wire snare.Ich, ich, ich, ich,I could hardly speak.I thought every German was you.And the language obsceneAn engine, an engineChuffing me off like a Jew.A Jew to Dachau, Auschwitz, Belsen.I began to talk like a Jew.I think I may well be a Jew.The snows of the Tyrol, the clear beer of ViennaAre not very pure or true.With my gypsy ancestress and my weird luckAnd my Taroc pack and my Taroc packI may be a bit of a Jew.I have always been scared of you,With your Luftwaffe, your gobbledygoo.And your neat mustacheAnd your Aryan eye, bright blue.Panzer-man, panzer-man, O You―Not God but a swastikaSo black no sky could squeak through.Every woman adores a Fascist,The boot in the face, the bruteBrute heart of a brute like you.You stand at the blackboard, daddy,In the picture I have of you,A cleft in your chin instead of your footBut no less a devil for that, no notAnd less the black man whoBit my pretty red heart in two.I was ten when they buried you.At twenty I tried to dieAnd get back, back, back to you.I thought even the bones would do.But they pulled me out of the sack,And they stuck me together with glue.And then I knew what to do.I made a model of you,A man in black with a Meinkampf lookAnd a love of the rack and the screw.And I said I do, I do.So daddy, I’m finally through.The black telephone’s off at the root,The voices just can’t worm through.If I’ve killed one man, I’ve killed two―The vampire who said he was youAnd drank my blood for a year,Seven years, if you want to know.Daddy, you can lie back now.There’s a stake in your fat black heartAnd the villagers never like you.They are dancing and stamping on you.They always knew it was you.Daddy, daddy, you bastard, I’m through.

-Sylvia Plath

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If we can use an H-bomb--and as you said it's no checker game; it's real, it's war and nobody is fooling around--isn't it sort of ridiculous to go crawling around in the weeds, throwing knives and maybe getting yourself killed . . . and even losing the war . . . when you've got a real weapon you can use to win? What's the point in a whole lot of men risking their lives with obsolete weapons when one professor type can do so much more just by pushing a button?'Zim didn't answer at once, which wasn't like him at all. Then he said softly, 'Are you happy in the Infantry, Hendrick? You can resign, you know.'Hendrick muttered something; Zim said, 'Speak up!'I'm not itching to resign, sir. I'm going to sweat out my term.'I see. Well, the question you asked is one that a sergeant isn't really qualified to answer . . . and one that you shouldn't ask me. You're supposed to know the answer before you join up. Or you should. Did your school have a course in History and Moral Philosophy?'What? Sure--yes, sir.'Then you've heard the answer. But I'll give you my own--unofficial--views on it. If you wanted to teach a baby a lesson, would you cuts its head off?'Why . . . no, sir!'Of course not. You'd paddle it. There can be circumstances when it's just as foolish to hit an enemy with an H-Bomb as it would be to spank a baby with an ax. War is not violence and killing, pure and simple; war is controlled violence, for a purpose. The purpose of war is to support your government's decisions by force. The purpose is never to kill the enemy just to be killing him . . . but to make him do what you want him to do. Not killing . . . but controlled and purposeful violence. But it's not your business or mine to decide the purpose of the control. It's never a soldier's business to decide when or where or how--or why--he fights; that belongs to the statesmen and the generals. The statesmen decide why and how much; the generals take it from there and tell us where and when and how. We supply the violence; other people--"older and wiser heads," as they say--supply the control. Which is as it should be. That's the best answer I can give you. If it doesn't satisfy you, I'll get you a chit to go talk to the regimental commander. If he can't convince you--then go home and be a civilian! Because in that case you will certainly never make a soldier.

-Robert A.

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I imagined my coffin being closed, and the screws being turned. I was immobile, but I was alive, and I wanted to tell my family that I was seeing everything. I wanted to tell them all that I loved them, but not a sound came out of my mouth. My father and mother were weeping, my wife and my friends were gathered around, but I was completely alone! With all of the people dear to me standing there, no one was able to see that I was alive and that I had not yet accomplished all that I wanted to do in this world. I tried desperately to open my eyes, to give a sign, to beat on the lid of the coffin. But I could not move any part of my body. I felt the coffin being carried toward the grave. I could hear the sound of the handles grinding against their fittings, the steps of those in the procession, and conversations from this side and that. Someone said that he had a date for dinner later on, and another observed that I had died early. The smell of flowers all around me began to suffocate me. I remembered how I had given up trying to establish a relationship with two or three women, fearing their rejection. I remembered also the number of times I had failed to do what I wanted to do, thinking I could always do it later. I felt very sorry for myself, not only because I was about to be buried alive but also because I had been afraid to live. Why be fearful of saying no to someone or of leaving something undone when the most important thing of all was to enjoy life fully? There I was, trapped in a coffin, and it was already too late to go back and show the courage I should have had. There I was, having played the role of my own Judas, having betrayed myself. There I was, powerless to move a muscle, screaming for help, while the others were involved in their lives, worrying about what they were going to do that night, admiring statues and buildings that I would never see again. I began to feel how unfair it was to have to be buried while others continued to live. I would have felt better if there had been a catastrophe and all of us had been in the same boat, heading for the same abyss toward which they were carrying me now. Help! I tried to cry out. I’m still alive. I haven’t died. My mind is still functioning! They placed my coffin at the edge of the grave. They are going to bury me! My wife is going to forget all about me; she will marry someone else and spend the money we have struggled to save for all these years! But who cares about that. I want to be with her now, because I’m alive! I hear sobs, and I feel tears falling from my eyes, too. If my friends were to open my coffin now, they would see my tears and save me. But instead all I feel is the lowering of the coffin into the ground. Suddenly, everything is dark. A moment ago, there was a ray of light at the edge of the coffin, but now the darkness is complete. The grave diggers’ shovels are filling in the grave, and I’m alive! Buried alive! I sense that the air is being cut off, and the fragrance of the flowers is awful. I hear the mourners’ departing footsteps. My terror is total. I’m not able to do anything; if they go away now, it will soon be night, and no one will hear me knocking on the lid of my coffin! The footsteps fade, nobody hears my screams, and I am alone in the darkness; the air is heavy, and the smell of the flowers is driving me crazy. Suddenly, I hear a sound. It’s the worms, coming to eat me alive. I try with all my strength to move the parts of my body, but I am inert. The worms begin to climb over my body. They are sticky and cold. They creep over my face and crawl into my shorts. One of them enters through my anus, and another begins to sneak into a nostril. Help! I’m being eaten alive, and nobody can hear me; nobody says a word to me. The worm that entered my nostril has reached my throat. I feel another invading my ear. I have to get out! Where is God; why doesn’t he help me? They are beginning to eat at my throat, and soon I won’t be able to scream! They

-Paulo Coelho

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Dear Future Me, I hope that today you are the person you always set out to be. I hope you accomplished everything that they said you could never do. How many lives do you change in a day? Do you speak out for what is right, or sit there regretting your silence? I hope you are what I’m not. I hope you speak out with such a voice that everyone around you can hear it even when you aren’t speaking. I want you to have power in the way you speak- giving light into someone’s world filled with darkness. I hope you live as if you are the only one capable of making a difference, and embracing that ability in the best way possible. You don’t need to have your name written in the text of a history book, but you need to live to make your words give life to the ones who thought they didn’t deserve one.When you read this letter, I hope you are somewhere where all of you previous goals can be made accomplishments. I hope you still remember your past, and pass on your story to those who need to hear it most- to show them that they are not alone. I hope you achieved that brighter, happier life you used to daydream about when you were younger. I hope all of your dreams became your reality, and I hope that eventually your nightmares dissolved into the depths of your past- never haunting you again. I hope that you one day took off the mask that hid the truth. That you broke down the barriers you built, and learned to trust someone- really trust them- somewhere along your journey. I hope that you look in the mirror with a small, true smile and be proud of what you see. I hope that you learned to break through the surface of the water drowning you- anxiety. I hope that you now see the world from a whole new perspective, and learned to enjoy the sun more than the rain.. Most of all, I hope you learned to speak. To speak in such a voice that must be heard; a voice that embroiders your words onto a heart that needed them most. I hope you are happy, and teach ones who are like the old you to be happy as well. I hope that today you are the person you always set out to be.Sincerely,Your Past

-wnq writers

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I sprang toward him with the stake, hoping to catch him by surprise. But Dimitri was hard to catch by surprise. And he was fast. Oh, so fast. It was like he knew what I was going to do before I did it. He halted my attack with a glancing blow to the side of my head. I knew it would hurt later, but my adrenaline was running too strong for me to pay attention to it now.Distantly, I realized some other people had come to watch us. Dimitri and I were celebrities in different ways around here, and our mentoring relationship added to the drama. This was prime-time entertainment.My eyes were only on Dimitri, though. As we tested each other, attacking and blocking, I tried to remember everything he'd taught me. I also tried to remember everything I knew about him. I'd practiced with him for months. I knew him, knew his moves, just as he knew mine. I could anticipate him the same way. Once I started using that knowledge, the fight grew tricky. We were too well matched, both of us too fast. My heart thumped in my chest, and sweat coated my skin.Then Dimitri finally got through. He moved in for an attack, coming at me with the full force of his body. I blocked the worst of it, but he was so strong that I was the one who stumbled from the impact. He didn't waste the opportunity and dragged me to the ground, trying to pin me. Being trapped like that by a Strigoi would likely result in the neck being bitten or broken. I couldn't let that happen.So, although he held most of me to the ground, I managed to shove my elbow up and nail him in the face. He flinched and that was all I needed. I rolled him over and held him down. He fought to push me off, and I pushed right back while also trying to maneuver my stake. He was so strong, though. I was certain I wouldn't be able to hold him. Then, just as I thought I'd lose my hold, I got a good grip on the stake. And like that, the stake came down over his heart. It was done.Behind me, people were clapping but all I noticed was Dimitri. Our gazes were locked. I was still straddling him, my hands pressed against his chest. Both of us were sweaty and breathing heavily. His eyes looked at me with pride—and hell of a lot more. He was so close and my body yearned for him, again thinking he was a piece of me I needed in order to be complete. The air between us seemed warm and heady, and I would have given anything in that moment to lie down with him and have his arms wrap around me. His expression showed that he was thinking the same thing. The fight was finished, but remnants of the adrenaline and animal intensity remained.

-Richelle Mead

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Helen of Troy Does Counter DancingThe world is full of womenwho'd tell me I should be ashamed of myselfif they had the chance. Quit dancing.Get some self-respectand a day job.Right. And minimum wage,and varicose veins, just standingin one place for eight hoursbehind a glass counterbundled up to the neck, instead ofnaked as a meat sandwich.Selling gloves, or something.Instead of what I do sell.You have to have talentto peddle a thing so nebulousand without material form.Exploited, they'd say. Yes, any wayyou cut it, but I've a choiceof how, and I'll take the money.I do give value.Like preachers, I sell vision,like perfume ads, desireor its facsimile. Like jokesor war, it's all in the timing. I sell men back their worst suspicions:that everything's for sale,and piecemeal. They gaze at me and seea chain-saw murder just before it happens,when thigh, ass, inkblot, crevice, tit, and nippleare still connected.Such hatred leaps in them,my beery worshipers! That, or a blearyhopeless love. Seeing the rows of headsand upturned eyes, imploringbut ready to snap at my ankles,I understand floods and earthquakes, and the urgeto step on ants. I keep the beat,and dance for them becausethey can't. The music smells like foxes,crisp as heated metalsearing the nostrilsor humid as August, hazy and languorousas a looted city the day after,when all the rape's been donealready, and the killing,and the survivors wander aroundlooking for garbageto eat, and there's only a bleak exhaustion.Speaking of which, it's the smilingtires me out the most.This, and the pretensethat I can't hear them.And I can't, because I'm after alla foreigner to them.The speech here is all warty gutturals,obvious as a slam of ham,but I come from the province of the godswhere meaning are lilting and oblique.I don't let on to everyone,but lean close, and I'll whisper:My mothers was raped by a holy swan.You believe that? You can take me out to dinner.That's what we tell all the husbands.There sure are a lot of dangerous birds around.Not that anyone herebut you would understand.The rest of them would like to watch meand feel nothing. Reduce me to componentsas in a clock factory or abattoir.Crush out the mystery.Wall me up alivein my own body.They'd like to see through me,but nothing is more opaquethan absolute transparency.Look - my feet don't hit the marble!Like breath or a balloon, I'm rising,I hover six inches in the airin my blazing swan-egg of light.You think I'm not a goddess?Try me.This is a torch song.Touch me and you'll burn.

-Margaret Atwood

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The Loneliness of the Military HistorianConfess: it's my professionthat alarms you.This is why few people ask me to dinner,though Lord knows I don't go out of my way to be scary.I wear dresses of sensible cutand unalarming shades of beige,I smell of lavender and go to the hairdresser's:no prophetess mane of mine,complete with snakes, will frighten the youngsters.If I roll my eyes and mutter,if I clutch at my heart and scream in horrorlike a third-rate actress chewing up a mad scene,I do it in private and nobody seesbut the bathroom mirror.In general I might agree with you:women should not contemplate war,should not weigh tactics impartially,or evade the word enemy,or view both sides and denounce nothing.Women should march for peace,or hand out white feathers to arouse bravery,spit themselves on bayonetsto protect their babies,whose skulls will be split anyway,or,having been raped repeatedly,hang themselves with their own hair.There are the functions that inspire general comfort.That, and the knitting of socks for the troopsand a sort of moral cheerleading.Also: mourning the dead.Sons,lovers and so forth.All the killed children.Instead of this, I tellwhat I hope will pass as truth.A blunt thing, not lovely.The truth is seldom welcome,especially at dinner,though I am good at what I do.My trade is courage and atrocities.I look at them and do not condemn.I write things down the way they happened,as near as can be remembered.I don't ask why, because it is mostly the same.Wars happen because the ones who start themthink they can win.In my dreams there is glamour.The Vikings leave their fieldseach year for a few months of killing and plunder,much as the boys go hunting.In real life they were farmers.The come back loaded with splendour.The Arabs ride against Crusaderswith scimitars that could seversilk in the air.A swift cut to the horse's neckand a hunk of armour crashes downlike a tower. Fire against metal.A poet might say: romance against banality.When awake, I know better.Despite the propaganda, there are no monsters,or none that could be finally buried.Finish one off, and circumstancesand the radio create another.Believe me: whole armies have prayed ferventlyto God all night and meant it,and been slaughtered anyway.Brutality wins frequently,and large outcomes have turned on the inventionof a mechanical device, viz. radar.True, valour sometimes counts for something,as at Thermopylae. Sometimes being right -though ultimate virtue, by agreed tradition,is decided by the winner.Sometimes men throw themselves on grenadesand burst like paper bags of gutsto save their comrades.I can admire that.But rats and cholera have won many wars.Those, and potatoes,or the absence of them.It's no use pinning all those medalsacross the chests of the dead.Impressive, but I know too much.Grand exploits merely depress me.In the interests of researchI have walked on many battlefieldsthat once were liquid with pulpedmen's bodies and spangled with explodedshells and splayed bone.All of them have been green againby the time I got there.Each has inspired a few good quotes in its day.Sad marble angels brood like hensover the grassy nests where nothing hatches.(The angels could just as well be described as vulgaror pitiless, depending on camera angle.)The word glory figures a lot on gateways.Of course I pick a flower or twofrom each, and press it in the hotel Biblefor a souvenir.I'm just as human as you. But it's no use asking me for a final statement.As I say, I deal in tactics.Also statistics:for every year of peace there have been four hundredyears of war.

-Margaret Atwood

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Uphill? There's nothing up the hill," Colly said, trying desperately to work out where this conversation was going."As a matter of fact, there is. There's a bluff about twelve meters high, with a river running below it. The water's deep, so it'll be quite safe for you to jump." In his brief glimpse of the river, Halt had noticed that the fast-flowing water cut under the bluff in a sharp curve. That should mean that the bottom had been scoured out over the years. A thought struck him. "You can swim, I assume?""Yes. I can swim," Colly said. "But I'm going jumping off some bluff just because you say to!""No, no. Of course not. That'd be asking far too much of you. You'll jump off because if you don't, I'll shoot you. It'll be the same effect, really. If I have to shoot you, you'll fall off. But I thought I'd give you a chance to survive." Halt paused, then added, "Oh, and if you decide to run downhill, I'll also shoot you with an arrow. Uphill and off is really your only chance of survival.""You can't be serious!" Colly said. "Do you really-"But he got no further. Halt leaned forward, putting a hand up to stop the outburst."Colly, take a good, long look into my eyes and tell me if you see anything, anything at all, that says I'm not deadly serious."His eyes were deep brown, almost black. They were steady and unwavering and there was no sign of anything there but utter determination. Colly looked at them and after a few second, his eyes dropped away. halt nodded as the other man's gaze slid away from his."Good. Now we've got that settled, you should try to get some sleep. You have a big day ahead of you tomorrow.

-John Flanagan

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It made me shiver. And I about made up my mind to pray, and see if I couldn't try to quit being the kind of a boy I was and be better. So I kneeled down. But the words wouldn't come. Why wouldn't they? It warn't no use to try and hide it from Him. Nor from ME, neither. I knowed very well why they wouldn't come. It was because my heart warn't right; it was because I warn't square; it was because I was playing double. I was letting ON to give up sin, but away inside of me I was holding on to the biggest one of all. I was trying to make my mouth SAY I would do the right thing and the clean thing, and go and write to that nigger's owner and tell where he was; but deep down in me I knowed it was a lie, and He knowed it. You can't pray a lie--I found that out. So I was full of trouble, full as I could be; and didn't know what to do. At last I had an idea; and I says, I'll go and write the letter--and then see if I can pray. Why, it was astonishing, the way I felt as light as a feather right straight off, and my troubles all gone. So I got a piece of paper and a pencil, all glad and excited, and set down and wrote:Miss Watson, your runaway nigger Jim is down here two mile below Pikesville, and Mr. Phelps has got him and he will give him up for the reward if you send.HUCK FINN.I felt good and all washed clean of sin for the first time I had ever felt so in my life, and I knowed I could pray now. But I didn't do it straight off, but laid the paper down and set there thinking--thinking how good it was all this happened so, and how near I come to being lost and going to hell. And went on thinking. And got to thinking over our trip down the river; and I see Jim before me all the time: in the day and in the night-time, sometimes moonlight, sometimes storms, and we a-floating along, talking and singing and laughing. But somehow I couldn't seem to strike no places to harden me against him, but only the other kind. I'd see him standing my watch on top of his'n, 'stead of calling me, so I could go on sleeping; and see him how glad he was when I come back out of the fog; and when I come to him again in the swamp, up there where the feud was; and such-like times; and would always call me honey, and pet me and do everything he could think of for me, and how good he always was; and at last I struck the time I saved him by telling the men we had small-pox aboard, and he was so grateful, and said I was the best friend old Jim ever had in the world, and the ONLY one he's got now; and then I happened to look around and see that paper.It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a-trembling, because I'd got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:"All right, then, I'll GO to hell"--and tore it up.

-Mark Twain

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like other women i never look at me so closely.there was once a friend of mine who compliment me with simple way-' how you do this? so same slim way i am watching from our teens--and look at me,i do so much..but can not make it in shape..'my friend was sounding helpless.first time i got to know my figure is attractive in a girl's view.second one my mother.she was like watching me very first time -her fingers are too long and beautiful''-i looked back to her voice.she continued -'yes .i never noticed before ..'' i used to heard very ugly comment about my skin color or my may be i never meet the right person who looked at and say- you are beautiful'.is it necessary ?psychology of a person takes a shape on various conditions . one is the truth. you must know the truth.now when i look at me i get surprised - why i never got the truth? and on that basis i thought on society no one will have love for me .so whatever is coming on my way that is only i deserve.it is surprise for me- i had no idea about of myself.all my mistakes done by based on my misconception .and if something good came to me- i started to think no i dont deserve this.because i can not make any one happy.a child need truth about her quality and beauty .that is one tool to make her decision correct .if childhood injected by ugly racist false impression can have big impact . sometimes a child can be talented in various ways,and people don't appreciate because they don't say the truth.because of jealousy or ignorance .society has this racist attitude which destroy many life to grow in correct manner.as a normal human being i always looked at me as people make me to see,and i was not enough educated psychologically that i am taking myself the skin of a death opinion .life has given me a lesson ..is it late to know i am talented ?or i am beautiful?or i can be loved by equally much more talented people than me?perhaps no.i am late.but happy to know the truth.because of the sentence ''you dont ask for more,you are ugly,black''helped me to take wrong decisions .why i am writing this?because life ask me to so.that no one who is talented beautiful by heart do feel less than anything she dream for.today i looked at me - i am in pain,love,pampered by destiny,and i feel 'yes i deserve to be one part of this world. this is a story of a life what is happening this moment somewhere else.no one should think less about themselves.

-Lity Munshi

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Dear Sawyer and Quin, If you ever read this and I'm gone I want you to know something that has been weighing on me. I watch you two play and it can be so sad sometimes. You two have been best friends since Sawyer's birth. Always inseparable. It's been adorable , but comes with its challenges. I'm worried when I watch you boys. Quinton, you are always driven by your ego. You're strong and talented, but much too determined to beat down everyone in your efforts to be the best. You push yourself to win a competition, then shove it in someone's face. I’ve rarely seen you compliment others, but you always give yourself a pat on the back. You don't play anything for the love of it, you play to win and normally do. I've seen you tear down your brother so many times just to feel good about yourself. You don't have to do that, dear. You don't have to spend your life trying to prove that you're amazing. One day you'll fail and be alone because you've climbed to the top of a pyramid with only enough room for yourself. Don't let it get to that point and if you do, learn humility from your brother. He could do without so much of it. Sawyer, just because you're most often the underdog and the peaceful introspective kid, don't think I'm letting you off the hook. Your humility has become your worst enemy. It's so intense that I wonder if it will be your vice one day, instead of your greatest virtue. It's one thing to believe you are below all men, even when you're not, but it's another thing to be crippled by fear and to no longer try. Sometimes , dear, I think you fear being good at something because you've tasted the bitterness of being the one who comes in last and you don't want to make others feel that way. That's sweet of you and I smile inside when I see you pretending to lose when you race your younger cousins , but if you always let people beat you they may never learn to work hard for something they want. It's okay to win, just win for the right reasons and always encourage those who lose. Oh, and Sawyer, I hope one day you read this. One day when it matters. If so, remember that the bottom of a mountain can be just as lonely as the top. I hope the two of you can learn to climb together one day. As I'm writing this you are trying to climb the big pine tree out back. Quin is at the top, rejoicing in his victory and taunting Sawyer. And Sawyer is at the bottom, afraid to get hurt and afraid to be sad about it. I'm going to go talk to you two separately now. I hope my words mean something. Love you boys, Mom

-Marilyn Grey

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Nothing is a masterpiece - a real masterpiece - till it's about two hundred years old. A picture is like a tree or a church, you've got to let it grow into a masterpiece. Same with a poem or a new religion. They begin as a lot of funny words. Nobody knows whether they're all nonsense or a gift from heaven. And the only people who think anything of 'em are a lot of cranks or crackpots, or poor devils who don't know enough to know anything. Look at Christianity. Just a lot of floating seeds to start with, all sorts of seeds. It was a long time before one of them grew into a tree big enough to kill the rest and keep the rain off. And it's only when the tree has been cut into planks and built into a house and the house has got pretty old and about fifty generations of ordinary lumpheads who don't know a work of art from a public convenience, have been knocking nails in the kitchen beams to hang hams on, and screwing hooks in the walls for whips and guns and photographs and calendars and measuring the children on the window frames and chopping out a new cupboard under the stairs to keep the cheese and murdering their wives in the back room and burying them under the cellar flags, that it begins even to feel like a religion. And when the whole place is full of dry rot and ghosts and old bones and the shelves are breaking down with old wormy books that no one could read if they tried, and the attic floors are bulging through the servants' ceilings with old trunks and top-boots and gasoliers and dressmaker's dummies and ball frocks and dolls-houses and pony saddles and blunderbusses and parrot cages and uniforms and love letters and jugs without handles and bridal pots decorated with forget-me-nots and a piece out at the bottom, that it grows into a real old faith, a masterpiece which people can really get something out of, each for himself. And then, of course, everybody keeps on saying that it ought to be pulled down at once, because it's an insanitary nuisance.

-Joyce Cary

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