You know, I could have put this page on my "favorites" page, but I think it deserves its own spot. The goal of this little page is to update this quote as often as I want to, to spread knowledge and fun all over the galaxy (can I get a little more corny & pretentious?). Maybe that'll be once a week, or once a month, or once a year, or once a day (I sincerely doubt THAT), but I have typed pages and pages of quotes (grabbed from various places), and some of them are just necessary to share. There are some "permanent" quotes at the bottom of this page. Those will always be there, because they sort of define my thoughts on certain things.
"Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved." --Helen Keller
"We all sorely complain of the shortness of time, and yet have much more than we know what to do with. Our lives are either spent in doing nothing at all, or in doing nothing to the purpose, or in doing nothing that we ought to do. We are always complaining that our days are few, and acting as though there would be no end to them." –-Seneca (BC 3-65AD) Roman philosopher/dramatist/statesman
"The greatest weakness of most humans is their hesitancy to tell others how much they love them while they’re still alive." –-O.A. Battista
"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." --Victor Borge
"Don't throw anyone out of your heart." --Neem Karoli Baba
"To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance." --Oscar Wilde
Check out the Quotes Archive
And these will always be here... because I see them as, like, cool, 'n stuff.
These are selections from Flaubert's Parrot, a novel by Julian Barnes. This is my all-time favorite book. The exerpts borrowed from this book explain a lot about my views on English literature, American existence, and life in general. Enjoy! I realize there's a lot here. But they're all good, I assure you. This book asks so many questions and provides no answers. It really makes you think.
There aren't many modern novels that can truly capture the reader, and daunt, mystify, and drive the poor reader mad, and keep him coming back for more. This is one of those few...
"How do we seize the past? Can we ever do so? When I was a medical student some pranksters at an end-of-term dance released into the hall a piglet which had been smeared with grease. It squirmed between legs, evaded capture, squealed a lot. People fell over trying to grasp it, and we were made to look ridiculous in the process. The past often seems to behave like that piglet."
"I pigeon-hole my life, and keep everything in its place; I'm as full of drawers and compartments as an old travelling trunk, all roped up and fastened with three big leather straps."
"As you get older, the heart sheds its leaves like a tree. You cannot hold out against certain winds. Each day tears away a few more leaves; and then there are the storms which break off several branches at one go. And while nature's greenery grows back again in the spring, that of the heart never grows back."
"Tears are to the heart what water is to a fish."
"Language is like a cracked kettle on which we beat out tunes for bears to dance to, while all the time we long to move the stars to pity."
"The point at which you suspect too much is being read into a story is when you feel most vulnerable, isolated, and perhaps stupid."
"You can have your cake and eat it; the only trouble is, you get fat."
"Next to not living with those one loves, the worst torture is living with those one doesn't love."
"The secret of happiness... is to be happy already."
"...Women scheme when they are weak, they lie out of fear. Men scheme when they are strong, they lie out of arrogance."
"What makes us want to know the worst? Is it that we tire of preferring to know the best? Does curiosity always hurdle self-interest? Or is it, more simply, that wanting to know the worst is love's favourite perversion?"
"Does the world progress? Or does it merely shuttle back and forth like a ferry?"
The following exerpt reminds me of Shakespeare-- the famous
MacBeth speech ("Tomorrow and tomorrow and
tomorrow..."), after he learns that Lady MacBeth has died.
What do you think?
"Don't look at me, that's misleading. If you want to know what I'm like, wait until we're in a tunnel, and then study my reflection in the window. You wait, and look, and catch a face against a shifting background of sooty walls, cables and sudden brickwork. The transparent shape flickers and jumps, always a few feet away. You become accustomed to its existence, you move with its movements; and though you know its presence is conditional, you feel it to be permanent. Then there is a wail from ahead, a roar and a burst of light; the face is gone forever."
"Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren't. I'm not surpirsed some people prefer books. Books make sense of life. The only problem is that the lives they make sense of are other people's lives, never your own."
"People like us must have the religion of despair. By dint of saying 'That is so! That is so!' and gazing down into the black pit at one's feet, one remains calm."
Now, I'd like to switch gears a little bit and provide some exerpts from another favorite novel of mine, A River Runs Through It by Norman Maclean. This is another truly wonderful story, told with such simplistic eloquence. It leaves me feeling very peaceful and composed.
"I could find words but not sentences they could fit."
"'Help,' he said, 'is giving part of yourself to somebody
who comes to accept it willingly and needs it badly.
'So it is,' he said, using an old homiletic transition, 'that we can seldom help anybody. Either we don't know what part to give or maybe we don't like to give any part of ourselves. Then, more often than not, the part that is needed is not wanted. And even more often, we do not have the part that is needed. It is like the auto-supply shop over town where they always say, 'Sorry, we are just out of that part.''"
"Big clumsy flies bumped into my face, swarmed on my neck and wiggled in my underwear. Blundering and soft-bellied, they had been born before they had brains. They had spent a year under water on legs, had crawled out on a rock, had become flies and copulated with the ninth and tenth segments of their abdomens, and then had died as the first light wind blew them into the water where the fish circled excitedly. They were a fish's dream come true-- stupid, succulent, and exhausted from copulation. Still, it would be hard to know what gigantic portion of human life is spent in this same ratio of years under water on legs to one premature, exhausted moment on wings."
"'All there is to thinking,' he said, 'is seeing something noticeable which makes you see something you weren't noticing which makes you see something that isn't even visible.'"
"...You can love completely without complete understanding."
"It is those we live with and love and should know who
Now nearly all those I loved and did not understand when I was young are dead, but I still reach out to them.
Of course, now I am too old to be much of a fisherman, and now of course I usually fish the big waters alone, although some friends think I shouldn't. Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise.
Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's greatest flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs.
I am haunted by waters."
And finally, a true Classic. When I was a senior in high school, we studied Shakespeare's MacBeth. When we got to this part of the play, my English teacher said something I will never forget: "I hope that none of you will ever reach a point in your lives where you feel this way. There is always hope, there is always something worthwhile around the corner. Please don't ever give up." It stuck with me.
"Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow
creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
to the last syllable of recorded time,
and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death. Out, out brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a
poor player, that struts and frets his
hour upon the stage and then is heard
no more. It is a tale told
by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
MacBeth, Act V Scene 5
So what do you think? Why don't you let me know.