“I write: I write because we lived together, because I was one amongst them, a shadow amongst their shadows, a body close to their bodies. I write because they left in me their indelible mark, whose trace is writing. Their memory is dead in writing; writing is the memory of their death and the assertion of my life.”—George Perec; W, or the Memory of Childhood (via naranjitoo)
“I had a teacher I liked who used to say good fiction’s job was to comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable. I guess a big part of serious fiction’s purpose is to give the reader, who like all of us is sort of marooned in her own skull, to give her imaginative access to other selves.”—-David Foster Wallace, in an interview with Larry McCaffery for The Review of Contemporary Fiction (vol. 13, 1993) (via davidfosterwallace) (via palequeenliteraryquotes) (via apoetreflects)
“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”—Bertrand Russell (via madame-curie)
Who’s turned us around like this, so that whatever we do, we always have the look of someone going away? Just as a man on the last hill showing him his whole valley one last time, turns, and stops, and lingers— so we live, and are forever leaving.
—Rainer Maria Rilke, from “The Eighth Elegy” in the Duino Elegies, translated by A. Poulin, Jr. (Houghton Mifflin, 1977)
“–Los recuerdos, ¿no es así? –continúe. Si ya el recuerdo es triste, ¡cómo será lo que se evoca! No te entregues a tales evocaciones, no son para usted ni para mí. Con ellas sólo se debilita la actual posición, sin consolidar la anterior que, por otra parte, ya no necesita ser consolidada.”
You shall be made sleepless even as you are left sightless. While you’re penetrating the darkness, you’ll penetrate into the night, getting in deeper and deeper, your already failing memory growing proportionally weaker as — at the end of a long lethargy — you become conscious of your condition. (How will you tell day from night?)
“My greatest victory has been to be able to live with myself, to accept my shortcomings. I’m a long way from the human being I’d liked to be, but I’ve decided I’m not so bad after all.”—Audrey Hepburn (via amor-omnibus)
“Se me caen las cosas de los bolsillos y de la memoria: pierdo las llaves, lapiceras, dinero, documentos, nombres, caras, palabras. Siento mucho miedo de que se me caiga la vida en alguna distracción.”—Eduardo Galeano “El libro de los abrazos” (via cafecorazondeleon)
“It is really hard to be lonely very long in a world of words. Even if you don’t have friends somewhere, you still have language, and it will find you and wrap its little syllables around you and suddenly there will be a story to live in.”—Naomi Shihab Nye, I’ll Ask Three Times, Are You OK? (via litverve)
“I have a faith in language. It’s the ultimate achievement that we as a species have evolved so far. (I don’t mean that I think we are the only species with a language.) It’s the most flexible articulation of our experience and yet, finally, that experience is something that we cannot really articulate. We can look out and see the sunlight in those trees, but we can’t convey the full unique intimacy of that experience. That’s the other side, one of those things that makes poetry both exhilarating and painful all the time. It’s conveying both the great possibility and the thing that we can’t do.”—W. S. Merwin, The Paris Review, The Art of Poetry No. 38 (via litverve)
“These days, I’ve been trying to work on an intimacy within my own self on a different level. I’ve been trying to assimilate in my heart what I conceive mentally and theoretically. Nurturing a connection between the abstract and the concrete in my own self. It’s quite an arduous journey for I have strictly limited my knowledge to the matters of the mind throughout these last years. I thought my heart was open and free because of my delirious empathy and capacity to feel beauty. I was wrong. My heart is so stubborn and rusty when it comes to the inward movement. And the inward movement is somehow a prima facie the most primordial language. Without it, all the accumulated knowledge is slippery and arbitrary, almost contingent upon circumstances. This truth is so simple yet for now it feels remote and quasi inaccessible. My brain speaks fluently six languages, but my heart needs to learn its own.”—Rim. (via rimeswriting)
Each of us is all the sums he has not counted: subtract us into nakedness and night again, and you shall see begin in Crete four thousand years ago the love that ended yesterday in Texas.
The seed of our destruction will blossom in the desert, the alexin of our cure grows by a mountain rock, and our lives are haunted by a Georgia slattern, because a London cutpurse went unhung. Each moment is the fruit of forty thousand years. The minute-winning days, like flies, buzz home to death, and every moment is a window on all time.