When we eat together, when we set out to do so deliberately, life is better, no matter what your circumstances.
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 that if we get -- when we get -- the national unity government, when we have ministries that are run by competent ministers, and as we get into the next phase of our Sunni outreach ... I see a set of circumstances, frankly, that would allow for a significant withdrawal of our forces.
I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room--evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another. My books are collages made from journals, research, and personal experience. I love the images rendered in journal entries, the immediacy that is captured on the page, the handwritten notes. I love the depth of ideas and perspective that research brings to a story, be it biological or anthropological studies or the insights brought to the page by the scholarly work of art historians.When I go into a library, I feel like I am a sleuth looking to solve a mystery. I am completely inspired by the pursuit of knowledge through various references. I read newpapers voraciously. I love what newspapers say about contemporary culture. And then you go back to your own perceptions, your own words, and weigh them against all you have brought together. I am interested in the kaleidoscope of ideas, how you bring many strands of thought into a book and weave them together as one piece of coherent fabric, while at the same time trying to create beautiful language in the service of the story. This is the blood work of the writer.Writing is also about a life engaged. And so, for me, community work, working in the schools or with grassroots conservation organizations is another critical component of my life as a writer. I cannot separate the writing life from a spiritual life, from a life as a teacher or activist or my life intertwined with family and the responsibilities we carry within our own homes. Writing is daring to feel what nurtures and breaks our hearts. Bearing witness is its own form of advocacy. It is a dance with pain and beauty.
When my little group get together, if we disagree about something, we can sort it out. Example: Mohona Hossain hates Divargiit Singh. Hates all his movies. Hates him with a passion. She likes that other fool with the eyelashes like a lady! But we compromise. Never once have I burned a single video of hers.
We engineered activity out of our lives in the name of convenience. We created foods that put fried, fatty, sweet, and salty ahead of fresh, natural, and healthy. We quickly sacrifice sleep to work longer hours in pursuit of the American Dream. Even when we do these things with good intentions, they have life-threatening consequences.
It took a couple of months before we were both convinced there were no rules about sexual activities in Hell and our spouses were not going to show up out of the blue. It was hard to start a sexual relationship in circumstances of such bizarre uncertainty, especially for an active Mormon and a good Christian, both lost in a Zoroastrian Hell. We were like virgin newlyweds. All my life I’d been raised to believe this kind of thing was wrong. All my life I had lived with a strong sense of morality. How do you give it up? How do you do things you thought you’d never do? Where do all the things you believed go, when all the supporting structure is found to be a myth? How do you know how or on what to take a moral stand, how do you behave when it turns out there are no cosmic rules, no categorical imperatives? It was difficult. So tricky to untangle.
You hardly know me and yet you invited me out on a date,’ said Miss Dearheart. ‘Why?’Because you called me a phoney, Moist thought. You saw through me straight away. Because you didn’t nail my head to the door with your crossbow. Because you have no small talk. Because I’d like to get to know you better, even though it would be like smooching an ashtray. Because I wonder if you could put into the rest of your life the passion you put into smoking a cigarette. In defiance of Miss Maccalariat I’d like to commit hanky-panky with you, Miss Adora Belle Dearheart… well, certainly hanky, and possibly panky when we get to know one another better. I’d like to know as much about your soul as you know about mine…He said: ‘Because I hardly know you.’‘If it comes to that, I hardly know you, either,’ said Miss Dearheart.‘I’m rather banking on that,’ said Moist. This got a smile.‘Smooth answer. Slick. Where are we really eating tonight?
We must change life,' the poet [Rimbaud] had written, and so the Situationists set out to transform everyday life in the modern world through a comprehensive program that included above all else the construction of 'situations' -- defined in 1958 as moments of life 'concretely and deliberately constructed by the collective organization of a unitary ambiance and a play of events' -- but that also necessary entailed the supersession of philosophy, the realization of art, the abolition of politics, and the fall of the 'spectacle-commodity economy.
When we enter the world as a child, they say we are innocent. When we leave the world as an older adult, we have each experienced a mixture of life's sorrow and joys. The years bring diverse events and mindsets, clouding up our vision, so that we no longer see things as they are, but we view now with lenses of many different shapes, sizes and influential colors depending on life’s encounters. It is then, with this cleansing of your inner lens, that you figure out once again, who you are, resulting in numerous side trips, to rediscover your true self, possibly experiencing a reawakening. This sensational feeling of inner peace is unimaginable.
I made sure to pay attention to everything I was doing. To be fully in the moment. Because that's all life is, really, a string of moments that you knot together and carry with you. Hopefully most of those moments are wonderful, but of course they won't all be. The trick is to recognize an important one when it happens. Even if you share the moment with someone else, it is still yours. Your string is different from anyone else's. It is something no one can ever take away from you. It will protect you and guide you, because it IS you. What you hold here, in your hand, in this box, this is my string."Until recently, I thought it was death that gave meaning to life--that having an endpoint is what spurred us on to embrace life while we had it. But I was wrong. It isn't death that gives meaning to life. Life gives meaning to life. The answer to the meaning of life is hidden right there inside the question. "What matters is holding tight to that string, and not letting anyone tell us our goals aren't big enough or our interests are silly. But the voices of others aren't the only ones we need to worry about. We tend to be our own worst critics. Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote: 'Most of the shadows in this life are caused by our standing in our own sunshine.' ... Wisdom is found in the least expected places. Always keep your eyes open. Don't block your own sunshine. Be filled with wonder.
Lovers do things together! They rent videos, they ride Ferris wheels, they go out for pizza, they play Scrabble. They . . . they talk!''Talk?' He lifted his head and frowned, his eyes puzzled. 'We talk all the time, Raine. I've never had such talkative sex.''That's just it!' She wiggled, flailed, but couldn't budge him. 'Two minutes alone with you, and I'm flat on my back. Every single time!'A slow, knowing grin spread over his face. 'Is this your way of telling me you want to be on top?
When we came out of the cookhouse, we found the boy's father, the Indian man who had been grazing the horses in the pasture, waiting for us. He wanted someone to tell his troubles to. He looked about guardedly, afraid that the Señora might overhear him.'Take a look at me' he said. I don't even know how old I am. When I was young, the Señor brought me here. He promised to pay me and give me a plot of my own. 'Look at my clothes' he said, pointing to the patches covering his body. 'I can't remember how many years I've been wearing them. I have no others. I live in a mud hut with my wife and sons. They all work for the Señor like me. They don't go to school. They don't know how to read or write; they don't even speak Spanish. We work for the master, raise his cattle and work his fields. We only get rice and plantains to eat. Nobody takes care of us when we are sick. The women here have their babies in these filthy huts.''Why don't you eat meat or at least milk the cows?' I asked.'We aren't allowed to slaughter a cow. And the milk goes to the calves. We can't even have chicken or pork - only if an animal gets sick and dies. Once I raised a pig in my yard' he went on. 'She had a litter of three. When the Señor came back he told the foreman to shoot them. That's the only time we ever had good meat.''I don't mind working for the Señor but I want him to keep his promise. I want a piece of land of my own so I can grow rice and yucca and raise a few chickens and pigs. That's all.' 'Doesn't he pay you anything?' Kevin asked. 'He says he pays us but he uses our money to buy our food. We never get any cash. Kind sirs, maybe you can help me to persuade the master . Just one little plot is all I want. The master has land, much land.'We were shocked by his tale. Marcus took out a notebook and pen. 'What's his name?'. He wrote down the name. The man didn't know the address. He only knew that the Señor lived in La Paz.Marcus was infuriated. 'When I find the owner of the ranch, I'll spit right in his eye. What a lousy bastard! I mean, it's really incredible'. 'That's just the way things are,' Karl said. 'It's sad but there's nothing we can do about it.
As a fact, we cannot give suffering precedence in either our individual or collective lives. We have to get on with things, and those who give precedence to suffering will be left behind. They fetter us with their sniveling. We have someplace to go and must believe we can get there, wherever that may be. And to conceive that there is a 'brotherhood of suffering between everything alive' would disable us from getting anywhere. We are preoccupied with the good life, and step by step are working toward a better life. What we do, as a conscious species, is set markers for ourselves. Once we reach one marker, we advance to the next — as if we were playing a board game we think will never end, despite the fact that it will, like it or not. And if you are too conscious of not liking it, then you may conceive of yourself as a biological paradox that cannot live with its consciousness and cannot live without it. And in so living and not living, you take your place with the undead and the human puppet.
How joyful to be together, aloneas when we first were joinedin our little house by the riverlong ago, except that now we knoweach other, as we did not then;and now instead of two stories fumblingto meet, we belong to one storythat the two, joining, made. And nowwe touch each other with the tendernessof mortals, who know themselves
I don't know how satisfied you can be when we still have a losing record. We feel like we're definitely playing better. The reality is we're about to find out. Our toughest West Coast trip is normally the circus trip [in November]. This year, they're flip-flopped. We did well on the first West Coast trip [3-3]. Now, this is a big one. All these teams [Dallas, New Orleans, Phoenix, Utah, Denver, Sacramento and the Los Angeles Clippers] are quality teams. Each team is really playing well. It's going to be a big challenge for us.