Comparing what we're looking for misses the point. It's wanting to know that makes us matter. Otherwise we're going out the way we came in. That's why you can't believe in the afterlife, Valentine. Believe in the after, by all means, but not the life. Believe in God, the soul, the spirit, the infinite, believe in angels if you like, but not in the great celestial get-together for an exchange of views. If the answers are in the back of the book I can wait, but what a drag. Better to struggle on knowing that failure is final.
I believe we must do things in our lives for the right reasons, because we enjoy doing them, with no expectation of getting something back in return. Otherwise, we are constantly being disappointed." She moved her turquoise bracelet back and forth on her wrist. "So I had two sons, John and Richard, because I wanted to, not because I thought they would rescue me in old age. I got out of all social organizations and clubs in my fifties so I could spend time with my grandchildren, not because they would give something back to Jack and me later on, but because that was what I wanted to do--and I have loved doing it. Believe me, these have been selfish decisions.
When we're incomplete, we're always searching for somebody to complete us. When, after a few years or a few months of a relationship, we find that we're still unfulfilled, we blame our partners and take up with somebody more promising. This can go on and on--series polygamy--until we admit that while a partner can add sweet dimensions to our lives, we, each of us, are responsible for our own fulfillment. Nobody else can provide it for us, and to believe otherwise is to delude ourselves dangerously and to program for eventual failure every relationship we enter.
(...) perfectly ordinary books, printed on commonplace paper in mundane ink. It would be a mistake to think that they weren't also dangerous, just because reading them didn't make fireworks go off in the sky. Reading them sometimes did the more dangerous trick of making fireworks go off in the privacy of the reader's brain.
My mother used to read to me every night when I was little. We got through most of the major fantasy books of that time. The Narnia books by C.S. Lewis were my favorites and, later, Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings. I started making dolls to fill in the gaps of the dolls I had. Obviously we couldn't buy centaurs and fauns and elves and fairies, so I made them to play with the normal dolls I had. I must have been about six years old when I started making fantasy dolls.
This country has a UFO problem, after all. You might not have been aware we have one, or thought about it in these terms, but we do have a UFO problem: namely, we don't seem to understand what UFO really means. So here it is: a UFO is an unidentified flying object. So any time we see some object flying in the sky that we can't positively identify, we've seen a UFO. But in the same way there's words paranormal and supernatural have been conflated, we now equate UFO with alien spacecraft.How this came to be is easily understandable. If we've learned one thing in this book already, people don't like the unknown very much. And so, if we believe we're being visited by other civilizations, we read the piles of books and articles on unexplained lights in the sky, then fill in the massive gaps—with wild tales of alien races, interstellar technology, and government conspiracies. If we don't believe, we hear someone saw an unexplained light in the sky and assume, first, that he's claiming to have seen E.T. Then we figure what he really saw was an airplane, Venus, swamp gas, or a helicopter, and he must be a bit foolish—maybe even a UFO nut. Then we laugh.
The books we love offer a sketch of a whole universe that we secretly inhabit, and in which we desire the other person to assume a role.One of the conditions of happy romantic compatibility is, if not to have read the same books, to have read at least some books in common with the other person—which means, moreover, to have non-read the same books. From the beginning of the relationship, then, it is crucial to show that we can match the expectations of our beloved by making him or her sense the proximity of our inner libraries.