QUOTEoftheDay

Monday
Aug192019

William Taubman 

They had to pay taxes on fruit trees whether or not they bore fruit, Gorbachev remembered, “so peasants cut down their orchards.

“Moscow State University.”4 MGU was to the USSR what Harvard is to the United States—except that in the Soviet Union there was almost nothing else, no Yale, Princeton, or Stanford, no Ivy League, no equally distinguished state universities, no elite liberal arts colleges. Moscow the city was itself unique.

As the result of the war, Stalin’s economic administrator, Nikolai Voznesensky, informed him in January 1946, the USSR lost 30 percent of its national wealth.

“You may tell anyone you want,” Khrushchev continued, “that we will never accept Adenauer as a representative of Germany. He is a zero. If Adenauer pulls down his pants and you look at him from behind you can see Germany is divided. If you look at him from the front, you can see Germany will not stand.”

We cannot possibly permit it, either as Communists or internationalists, or as the Soviet state. We would have capitalists on the frontier of the Soviet Union.




Sunday
Aug182019

Edward P. Jones

We are all worthy of one another.

The hitter can never be the judge. Only the receiver of the blow can tell you how hard it was, whether it would kill a man or make a baby just yawn.

A woman, no matter the age, is always learning, always becoming. But a man . . . stops learning at fourteen or so.

A man does not learn very well, Mr. Robbins. Women, yes, because they are used to bending with whatever wind comes along. A woman, no matter the age, is always learning, always becoming. But a man, if you will pardon me, stops learning at fourteen or so. He shuts it all down, Mr. Robbins. A log is capable of learning more than a man. To teach a man would be a battle, a war, and I would lose.

Whenever people in that part of the world asked Patterson about the wonders of America, the possibilities and the hope of America, Patterson would say that it was a good and fine place but all the Americans were running it into the ground and that it would be a far better place if it had no Americans.




Saturday
Aug172019

Marilynne Robinson

There's so much to be grateful for, words are poor things.

This is an interesting planet. It deserves all the attention you can give it.

Sometimes I have loved the peacefulness of an ordinary Sunday. It is like standing in a newly planted garden after a warm rain. You can feel the silent and invisible life.

Love is holy because it is like grace--the worthiness of its object is never really what matters.

Memory can make a thing seem to have been much more than it was.

These people who can see right through you never quite do you justice, because they never give you credit for the effort you're making to be better than you actually are, which is difficult and well meant and deserving of some little notice.

Because, once alone, it is impossible to believe that one could ever have been otherwise. Loneliness is an absolute discover.

  
 


Friday
Aug162019

Alice McDermott

If you want to see how far we have not come from the cave and the woods, from the lonely and dangerous days of the prarie or the plain, witness the reaction of a modern suburban family, nearly ready for bed, when the doorbell rings or the door is rattled. They will stop where they stand, or sit bolt upright in their beds, as if a streak of pure lightning has passed through the house. Eyes wide, voices fearful, they will whisper to each other, "There's someone at the door," in a way that might make you believe they have always feared and anticipated this moment - that they have spent their lives being stalked.

My love for the child asleep in the crib, the child's need for me, for my vigilance, had made my life valuable in a way that even the most abundantly offered love, my parents', my brother's, even Tom's, had failed to do. Love was required of me now--to be given, not merely to be sought and returned.

The day and time itself: late afternoon in early February, was there a moment of the year better suited for despair?

It was not the future they'd been objecting to, but the loss of the past. As if it was his fault that you could now have one without the other.



Thursday
Aug152019

Denis Johnson

She wanted to eat my heart and be lost in the desert with what she'd done, she wanted to fall on her knees and give birth from it, she wanted to hurt me as only a child can be hurt by its mother.

I knew every raindrop by its name.

English words are like prisms. Empty, nothing inside, and still they make rainbows.

And therefore I looked down into the great pity of a person’s life on this earth. I don’t mean that we all end up dead, that’s not the great pity. I mean that he couldn’t tell me what he was dreaming, and I couldn’t tell him what was real.

Talk into my bullet hole. Tell me I'm fine.

Sometimes what I wouldn't give to have us sitting in a bar again at 9:00 a.m. telling lies to one another, far from God.

All these weirdos, and me getting a little better every day right in the midst of them. I had never known, never even imagined for a heartbeat, that there might be a place for people like us.


Wednesday
Aug142019

Elizabeth Strout

I suspect the most we can hope for, and it's no small hope, is that we never give up, that we never stop giving ourselves permission to try to love and receive love.

It interests me how we find ways to feel superior to another person, another group of people. It happens everywhere, and all the time. Whatever we call it, I think it’s the lowest part of who we are, this need to find someone else to put down.

You couldn't make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn't go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.

Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.

She didn't like to be alone. Even more, she didn't like being with people.

Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me.

You will have only one story, she had said. You’ll write your one story many ways. Don’t ever worry about story. You have only one.

He wanted to put his arms around her, but she had a darkness that seemed to stand beside her like an acquaintance that would not go away.



Tuesday
Aug132019

Paul Harding

And as the ax bites into the wood, be comforted in the fact that the ache in your heart and the confusion in your soul means that you are still alive, still human, and still open to the beauty of the world, even though you have done nothing to deserve it.

I breathed the book before I saw it; tasted the book before I read it.

When his grandchildren had been little, they had asked if they could hide inside the clock. Now he wanted to gather them and open himself up and hide them among his ribs and faintly ticking heart.

What an awful thing then, being there in our house together with our daughter gone, trying to be equal to so many sudden orders of sorrow, any one of which alone would have wrenched us from our fragile orbits around each other.

What of miniature boats constructed of birch bark and fallen leaves, launched onto cold water clear as air? How many fleets were pushed out toward the middles of ponds or sent down autumn brooks, holding treasures of acorns, or black feathers, or a puzzled mantis? Let those grassy crafts be listed alongside the iron hulls that cleave the sea, for they are all improvisations built from the daydreams of men, and all will perish, whether from the ocean siege or October breeze.

Monday
Aug122019

Chang-Rae Lee

It is 'where we are' that should make all the difference, whether we believe we belong there or not.

For sometimes you can't help but crave some ruin in what you love.

For if there is ever a moment when we are most vulnerable, it’s when we’re closest to the idea of the attained desire, and thus farthest from ourselves, which is when we’ll tread through any flame.

You can be affected by a person because of something particular they said or did but sometimes how a person was, a manner of being, that gets most deeply absorbed, and prompts you to revisit certain parts of your life with an enhanced perspective, flowing forward right up to now.

I'm a B+ student of life. 

And while it's easy to say this is a situation to be avoided, isn't this what we also fear and crave simultaneously, that some internal force which defies understanding might remake us into the people we dream we are?”

A tale, like the universe, they tell us, expands ceaselessly each time you examine it, until there is finally no telling exactly where it begins, where it ends, or where it places you now.”

But maybe it’s the laboring that gives you shape. Might the most fulfilling times be those spent solo at your tasks, literally immersed or not, when you are able to uncover the smallest surprises and unlikely details of some process or operation that in turn exposes your proclivities and prejudices both? 


 

Sunday
Aug112019

Jonathan Dee

On the way home I was mugged and hit my head and got amnesia. I don't remember anything that happened before yesterday. I found your address in my wallet. I couldn't remember my name. I still can't. Let's go out and get new ones. My treat.

The rain made for an odd effect forty floors up, because you didn't get to see it hit anything on the way down, it was just a kind of static in the gray air.

I mean she's not exactly a complex figure. You can look at her and pretty much imagine what that whole relationship was like. She's like a dog. One bit of kindness and she's so grateful she forgets about what happened a minute ago.

She wanted to find his limit, because knowing that limit would drive a wedge between them; but in his mind, the question was not how far he would go but how far he would follow her, and she couldn't find the limit to that.

Well, if you got Cynthia drunk enough, Cynthia thought, she would cop to wanting to do some good in the world, or at least to feel like her presence in it was value-added. How, though? Without some framework, some resources, even your secret aspirations just curdled into sentimental bullshit.



Saturday
Aug102019

Karen Russell

The beginning of the end can feel a lot like the middle when you are living in it.

My older sister has entire kingdoms inside of her, and some of them are only accessible at certain seasons, in certain kinds of weather.

Hopes were wallflowers. Hopes hugged the perimeter of a dance floor in your brain, tugging at their party lace, all perfume and hems and doomed expectation. They fanned their dance cards, these guests that pressed against the walls of your heart.

Heaven, Kiwi thought, would be the reading room of a great library. But it would be private. Cozy. You wouldn’t have to worry about some squeaky-shoed librarian turning the lights off on you or gauging your literacy by reading the names on your book spines, and there wouldn’t be a single other patron. The whole place would hum with a library’s peace, filtering softly over you like white bars of light … 

It is a special kind of homelessness to be evicted from your dreams.

Somehow I wasn't adding up right anymore. My parts weren't summing into myself.