“Memory is the only thing that binds you to earlier selves; for the rest, you become an entirely different being every decade or so, sloughing off the old persona, renewing and moving on. You are not who you were, he told her, nor who you will be.”—Charlotte Gray, Sebastian Faulks
“Most people use twenty verbs to describe everything from a run in their stocking to the explosion of an atomic bomb. You know the ones: Was, did, had, made, went, looked… One-size-fits-all looks like crap on anyone. Sew yourself a custom made suit. Pick a better verb. Challenge all those verbs to really lift some weight for you.”—Janet Fitch
“Put it before them briefly so they will read it, clearly so they will appreciate it, picturesquely so they will remember it, and above all, accurately so they will be guided by its light.”—Joseph Pulitzer
“Stop caring what other people think. How? Understand that this is your life, not theirs, and you’ll have no one to blame but yourself if things don’t work out the way you’d hoped…their opinion shouldn’t matter more than your own.”—Stephanie Klein (via kari-shma)
It’s amazing what two weeks off will do for perspective. Everything here is as I left it, but it is affecting me less this morning. I’m going to venture that this Sunday is quotidian. And in that I even include our regular homeless man who is hanging about in our lobby, drinking church coffee (I don’t know where they grow or sell this type, but it’s as distinguishable as Kenyan or French Roast) and speaking voluably about the legion wrongs done to him by life. But what is the Church here for if not to offer a cup of coffee and a loving ear to even such as these?
Though it appears in the photograph as fog, snow is falling in its fractal specifics straight down onto the city. The day is calm. Light appears as though filtered through a white sheet. The disposable camera is unable to register the snowfall’s particulars, its slight woozy drift as a bird flies through it, and in fact the photographer isn’t very good at taking pictures. It’s difficult to capture falling snow in a photograph. Sometimes, against the headlights of a parked car at night, it can be done.
The calm day is also warm, a break in a long brilliant wire of low pressure along which sound had travelled from great distances, engines and cries rendered proximate. Falling snow dampens resonance. The morning is the body of a different instrument.
The photographer has chosen a disposable camera due to a fear of heights. She must cross the High Level Bridge to get to where she works, and this is easier some days than others. On an afternoon of strong winds, nearing the bridge’s midpoint, handled roughly, simultaneously by updraft and downdraft, she recalls a childhood event:
“Choosing a path meant having to miss out on others. She had a whole life to live, and she was always thinking that, in the future, she might regret the choices she made now. “I’m afraid of committing myself,” she thought to herself. She wanted to follow all possible paths and so ended up following none. Even in that most important area of her life, love, she had failed to commit herself. After her first romantic disappointment, she had never again given herself entirely. She feared pain, loss, and separation. These things were inevitable on the path to love, and the only way of avoiding them was by deciding not to take that path at all. In order not to suffer, you had to renounce love. It was like putting out your own eyes not to see the bad things in life.”—Paulo Coelho
“But we were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles, and our irreconcilable regiments? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres, however frequently they may be converted into battlefields; our dreams however rarely they may be accomplished. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses.”—Robert Ardrey
“All children mythologise their birth. It is a universal trait. You want to know someone? Heart, mind and soul? Ask him to tell you about when he was born. What you get won’t be the truth: it will be a story. And nothing is more telling than a story.”—The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield
Cut flowers are the quintessential expression of love. These are fresh and beautiful, but they cannot last. This is not to say that love cannot last. But like flowers that require that you enjoy their beauty only in this moment, this now, so does love require full presence. Even rooted in their natural environment, blossoms only last a little while. Like love, they cannot be contained. Nor can they be frozen in time without becoming brittle and dry. They cannot be held too tightly without wilting. They cannot be preserved exactly as they are. But if adored in their moments for what they are, flowers can astound in the time and cycle that the universe prescribes. Could there be a more appropriate way to express our trust and faith in another human being?
“When someone sees the same people everyday, they wind up becoming a part of that person’s life. And then they want the person to change. If someone isn’t what others want them to be, the others become angry. Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.”—The Alchemist
Dear old German ladies sitting in the closest pew to the organ, Please stop talking when I start playing the “vorspiel” which is the part of the service where you are supposed to prepare your hearts for worship. Your incessant chatter should NOT rise in volume in proportion to the organ’s crescendos. Nor should I have to shoot you dirty, but ineffective, looks. If you don’t want to listen to the prelude, and if you don’t want to get your hymn books ready, why the hell do you make me get out of bed so early? Sincerely, Me