QUOTEoftheDay

Sunday
Sep152019

Richard Rhodes

Before it is science and career, before it is livelihood, before even it is family or love, freedom is sound sleep and safety to notice the play of morning sun.

If you want to write, you can. Fear stops most people from writing, not lack of talent, whatever that is. Who am I? What right have I to speak? Who will listen to me if I do? You’re a human being, with a unique story to tell, and you have every right. If you speak with passion, many of us will listen. We need stories to live, all of us. We live by story. Yours enlarges the circle.

For the scientist, at exactly the moment of discovery—that most unstable existential moment—the external world, nature itself, deeply confirms his innermost fantastic convictions. Anchored abruptly in the world, Leviathan gasping on his hook, he is saved from extreme mental disorder by the most profound affirmation of the real.

The world is full of terrible suffering, compared to which the small inconveniences of my childhood are as a drop of rain in the sea.

The landed classes neglected technical education, taking refuge in classical studies; as late as 1930, for example, long after Ernest Rutherford at Cambridge had discovered the atomic nucleus and begun transmuting elements, the physics laboratory at Oxford had not been wired for electricity. Intellectual neglect technical education to this day.

Arguably the greatest technological triumph of the century has been the public-health system, which is sophisticated preventive and investigative medicine organized around mostly low- and medium-tech equipment; ... fully half of us are alive today because of the improvements.


Saturday
Sep142019

Oscar Hijuelos

On his back, Robert must have had time to see something beautiful, and not just the ugliness of a city street at the end of life. Even with the tremendous pain in his badly gutted belly he would have looked up beyond the fire escapes and the windows with their glittery trees and television glows, to the sky about the rooftops. A sky shimmery with the possibilities of the death; lights exaggerated, the heavens peeled back- a swirling haze of nebulae and comets - in some distant place, intimations of the new beginning into which he would soon journey.

Oh yes!...The sweet summons of God to man. That's when He calls you up to His arms. And it's the most beautiful thing, a rebirth, a new life. But, just the same I'm in no rush to find out.

The house in which the fourteen sisters of Emilio Montez O'brien lived, radiated femininity.

Glorious life ending. There must have been a moment when his son had gasped for air, the last time, as Jesus must. But as Jesus had risen, he wanted his son to rise up, organs and spirit and mind intact, and everything to be as it had been not so long ago.


Thursday
Sep122019

Steven Millhauser

All words are masks and the lovelier they are, the more they are meant to conceal.

God pity the poor novelist.

His ambition was to insert his dreams into the world, and if they were the wrong dreams, then he would dream them in solitude.

I saw that I was in danger of becoming ordinary, and I understood that from now on I would have to be vigilant.

I had thought that words were instruments of precision. Now I know that they devour the world, leaving nothing in its place.

After all, we were young. We were fourteen and fifteen, scornful of childhood, remote from the world of stern and ludicrous adults. We were bored, we were restless, we longed to be seized by any whim or passion and follow it to the farthest reaches of our natures. We wanted to live – to die – to burst into flame – to be transformed into angels or explosions. Only the mundane offended us, as if we secretly feared it was our destiny . By late afternoon our muscles ached, our eyelids grew heavy with obscure desires. And so we dreamed and did nothing, for what was there to do, played ping-pong and went to the beach, loafed in backyards, slept late into the morning – and always we craved adventures so extreme we could never imagine them. In the long dusks of summer we walked the suburban streets through scents of maple and cut grass, waiting for something to happen.


Wednesday
Sep112019

Don DeLillo

Stories are consoling, fiction is one of the consolation prizes for having lived in the world.

How I would enjoy being told the novel is dead. How liberating to work in the margins, outside a central perception. You are the ghoul of literature.

No sense of the irony of human experience, that we are the highest form of life on earth, and yet ineffably sad because we know what no other animal knows, that we must die.

The future belongs to crowds.

I've got death inside me. It's just a question of whether or not I can outlive it.

California deserves whatever it gets. Californians invented the concept of life-style. This alone warrants their doom.

Sometimes I see something so moving I know I’m not supposed to linger. See it and leave. If you stay too long, you wear out the wordless shock. Love it and trust it and leave.

There are dead stars that still shine because their light is trapped in time. Where do I stand in this light, which does not strictly exist?

If you reveal everything, bare every feeling, ask for understanding, you lose something crucial to your sense of yourself. You need to know things that others don't know. It's what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself.

How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn't they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise?


Tuesday
Sep102019

Russell Banks

Go, my book, and help destroy the world as it is.

Loyalty is weird, it kicks in when you dont expect it and the people who deserve loyalty least seem to get it the most.

Lists of books we re-read and books we can't finish tell more about us than about the relative worth of the books themselves.

If you dedicate your attention to discipline in your life you become smarter while you are writing than while you are hanging out with your pals or in any other line of work

When you are a long way from where you think you belong, you will attach yourself to people you would otherwise ignore or even dislike.

One hates a person for the same reason one loves him.

We are the planet, fully as much as water, earth, fire and air are the planet, and if the planet survives, it will only be through heroism. Not occasional heroism, a remarkable instance of it here and there, but constant heroism, systematic heroism, heroism as governing principle.


Monday
Sep092019

Stacy Schiff

As always, an educated woman was a dangerous woman.

[Cleopatra's] power has been made to derive from her sexuality, for obvious reason; as one of Caesar's murderers had noted, 'How much more attention people pay to their fears than to their memories!' It has always been preferable to attribute a woman's success to her beauty rather than to her brains, to reduce her to the sum of her sex life.

And in the absence of facts, myth rushes in, the kudzu of history.

When a woman teams up with a snake a moral storm threatens somewhere.

It has always been preferable to attribute a woman's success to her beauty rather to her brains, to reduce her to the sum of her sex life.

Cleopatra stood at one of the most dangerous intersections in history; that of women and power. Clever women, Euripides had warned hundreds of years earlier, were dangerous.

Ancient history is oddly short on incorrect omens.

Power has for so long been a male construct that it distorted the shape of the first women who tried it on, only to find themselves in a sort of straitjacket.


Sunday
Sep082019

Ha Jin

The more you move, the stronger you'll grow, not like a tree that can be killed if you uproot it.

Life is a journey, and you can't carry everything with you. Only the usable baggage.

You strive to have a good heart. But what is a heart? Just a chunk of flesh that a dog can eat.

Writing is not a great profession as a lot of writers proclaim. I write because this is something I can do. Another thing—very often I think a lot of writers write because they have failed to do other things. How many writers can’t drive? A lot. They’re not practical. They are not capable in everyday life.

I work hard, I work very hard. All the books at least 30 revisions.

Indifference is the strongest contempt.

We ate away, reminiscing about our victories over the enemies from different streets and villages and competing with each other in casting curses. A few golden butterflies and dragonflies were fluttering around us. The afternoon air was warm and clean, and the town below us seemed like a green harbor full of white sails.

No, It's hard to uproot yourself and really become yourself in another soil, but it's also an opportunity, another kind of growth.


Saturday
Sep072019

Joy Williams

She wanted to be extraordinary, to possess a savage glitter.

There is a certain type of conversation one hears only when one is drunk and it is like a dream, full of humor and threat and significance, deep significance.

Words at night were feral things.

You must stop worrying about why things happen and wonder what they mean when they do.

Nothing we do is inevitable, but everything we do is irreversible.

We are saved not because we are worthy. We are saved because we are loved.

Why does the writer write? The writer writes to serve--hopelessly he writes in the hope that he might serve--not himself and not others, but that great cold elemental grace that knows us.

She was never going to seek gainful employment again, that was for certain. She'd remain outside the public sector. She'd be an anarchist, she'd travel with jaguars. She was going to train herself to be totally irrational. She'd fall in love with a totally inappropriate person. She'd really work on it, but abandon would be involved as well. She'd have different names, a.k.a. Snake, a.k.a. Snow - no that was juvenile. She wanted to be extraordinary, to possess a savage glitter.


Friday
Sep062019

Jean Edward Smith

He lifted himself from a wheelchair to lift the nation from its knees.

Jealousy knows no logic, nor does it respect reciprocity.

The Italian government, a free French newspaper tartly observed, never finished a war on the same side it started on – unless the war lasted long enough to change sides twice

Eisenhower on Patton: "Fundamentally, he is so avid for recognition as a great commander that he won't with ruthlessly suppress any habit that will jeopardize it.

The loneliness of command had made Eisenhower emotionally self-sufficient.

From what I hear of what has been appearing in the newspapers,” Ike wrote his son John, “you are learning that it is easy enough for a man to be a newspaper hero one day and a bum the next.

Patton would have said a warmer goodbye to his horse, The author writes on Eisenhower's cold dismissal of his wartime lover.

As proof that HOW we see things matters, Gen. Montgomery took a preprepared text that had been deemed an innocuous complement to his American troops and delivered it in such a way that his condescension prompted more division than unity.


Thursday
Sep052019

Richard Russo

Ultimately, your theme will find you. You don't have to go looking for it.

And there comes a time in your life when you realize that if you don't take the opportunity to be happy, you may never get another chance again.

What if all everybody needed in the world was to be sure of one friend? What if you were the one, and you refused to say those simple words?

After all, what was the whole wide world but a place for people to yearn for their heart's impossible desires, for those desires to become entrenched in defiance of logic, plausibility, and even the passage of time, as eternal as polished marble.

People sometimes get in the habit of being loyal to a mistake.

Not giving a shit, she decided, is like the defrost option on a car's heater that miraculously unfogs the windshield, allowing you to see where you're headed.

Which is why we have spouses and children and parents and colleagues and friends, because someone has to know us better than we know ourselves. We need them to tell us. We need them to say, "I know you, Al. You are not the kind of man who.

What I discovered I liked best about striking out on my bicycle was that the farther I got from home, the more interesting and unusual my thoughts became.

I'm about to fuck up, he thought clearly, and his next thought was, but I don't have to. This was followed closely by a third thought, the last of this familiar sequence, which was, but I'm going to anyway.