I write about situations that are common, universal might be more correct, in which my characters are involved and from which only faith can redeem them, though often the actual manner of the redemption is not immediately clear. They sin, but there is no limit to God's mercy and because this is important, there is a difference between not confessing in fact, and the complacent and the pious may not realize it.
write quotessituations quotescommon quotesuniversal quotescorrect quotescharacters quotesinvolved quotesfaith quotesredeem quotesactual quotesmanner quotesredemption quotesimmediately quotesclear quotessin quoteslimit quotesgods quotesmercy quotesimportant quotesdifference quotesconfessing quotesfact quotescomplacent quotespious quotesrealize quotes
I could have waited years, now that I knew the end of the story. I was cold and wet and very happy. I could even look with charity towards the altar and the figure dangling there. She loves us both, I thought, but if there is to be a conflict between an image and a man, I know who will win. I could put my hand on her thigh or my mouth on her breast; he was imprisoned behind the altar and couldn't move to plead his cause.
waited quotesyears quotesknew quotesend quotesstory quotescold quoteswet quoteshappy quotescharity quotesaltar quotesfigure quotesdangling quotesloves quotesthought quotesconflict quotesimage quotesman quoteswin quotesput quoteshand quotesthigh quotesmouth quotesbreast quotesimprisoned quotesmove quotesplead quotes
Nobody here could ever talk about a heaven on earth. Heaven remained rigidly in its proper place on the other side of death, and on this side flourished the injustices, the cruelties, the meanness that elsewhere people so cleverly hushed up. Here you could love human beings nearly as God loved them, knowing the worst: you didn't love a pose, a pretty dress, a sentiment artfully assumed.
talk quotesheaven quotesearth quotesheaven quotesremained quotesrigidly quotesproper quotesplace quotesside quotesdeath quotesflourished quotesinjustices quotescruelties quotesmeanness quotespeople quotescleverly quoteshushed quoteslove quoteshuman quotesbeings quotesgod quotesloved quotesknowing quotesworst quotespose quotespretty quotesdress quotessentiment quotesartfully quotesassumed quotes
One never knows enough about characters in real life to put them into novels. One gets started and then, suddenly, one can not remember what toothpaste they use; what are their views on interior decoration, and one is stuck utterly. No, major characters emerge; minor ones may be photographed.
How often the priest had heard the same confession--Man was so limited: he hadn't even the ingenuity to invent a new vice: the animals knew as much. It was for this world that Christ had died: the more evil you saw and heard about you, the greater the glory lay around the death; it was too easy to die for what was good or beautiful, for home or children or civilization--it needed a God to die for the half-hearted and the corrupt.
priest quotesheard quotesconfessionman quoteslimited quotesingenuity quotesinvent quotesvice quotesanimals quotesknew quotesworld quoteschrist quotesdied quotesevil quotesgreater quotesglory quoteslay quotesdeath quoteseasy quotesdie quotesgood quotesbeautiful quoteshome quoteschildren quotescivilizationit quotesneeded quotesgod quoteshalfhearted quotescorrupt quotes
One's life is more formed, I sometimes think, by books than by human beings: it is out of books one learns about love and pain at second hand. Even if we have the happy chance to fall in love, it is because we have been conditioned by what we have read, and if I had never known love at all, perhaps it was because my father's library had not contained the right books.
Perhaps the sexual life is the great test. If we can survive it with charity to those we love and with affection to those we have betrayed, we needn't worry so much about the good and the bad in us. But jealousy, distrust, cruelty, revenge, recrimination ... then we fail. The wrong is in that failure even if we are the victims and not the executioners. Virtue is no excuse.
sexual quoteslife quotesgreat quotestest quotessurvive quotescharity quoteslove quotesaffection quotesbetrayed quotesneednt quotesworry quotesgood quotesbad quotesjealousy quotesdistrust quotescruelty quotesrevenge quotesrecrimination quotesfail quoteswrong quotesfailure quotesvictims quotesexecutioners quotesvirtue quotesexcuse quotes
But you do believe, don't you, " Rose implored him, "you think it's true?" "Of course it's true, " the Boy said. "What else could there be?" he went scornfully on. "Why, " he said, "it's the only thing that fits. These atheists, they don't know nothing. Of course there's Hell. Flames and damnation, " he said with his eyes on the dark shifting water and the lightning and the lamps going out above the black struts of the Palace Pier, "torments." "And Heaven too, " Rose said with anxiety, while the rain fell interminably on. "Oh, maybe, " the Boy said, "maybe.
rose quotesimplored quotestrue quotestrue quotesboy quotesscornfully quotesthing quotesfits quotesatheists quoteshell quotesflames quotesdamnation quoteseyes quotesdark quotesshifting quoteswater quoteslightning quoteslamps quotesblack quotesstruts quotespalace quotespier quotestorments quotesheaven quotesanxiety quotesrain quotesfell quotesinterminably quotes
Death was the only absolute value in my world. Lose life and one would lose nothing again for ever. I envied those who could believe in a God and I distrusted them. I felt they were keeping their courage up with a fable of the changeless and the permanent. Death was far more certain than God, and with death there would be no longer the daily possibility of love dying. The nightmare of a future of boredom and indifference would lift. I could never have been a pacifist. To kill a man was surely to grant him an immeasurable benefit. Oh yes, people always, everywhere, loved their enemies. It was their friends they preserved for pain and vacuity.
death quotesabsolute quotesworld quoteslose quoteslife quoteslose quotesenvied quotesgod quotesdistrusted quotesfelt quoteskeeping quotescourage quotesfable quoteschangeless quotespermanent quotesgod quotesdeath quoteslonger quotesdaily quotespossibility quoteslove quotesdying quotesnightmare quotesfuture quotesboredom quotesindifference quoteslift quotespacifist quoteskill quotesman quotessurely quotesgrant quotesimmeasurable quotesbenefit quotespeople quotesloved quotesenemies quotesfriends quotespreserved quotespain quotesvacuity quotes
Oh, ' the priest said, 'that's another thing altogether - God is love. I don't say the heart doesn't feel a taste of it, but what a taste. The smallest glass of love mixed with a pint pot of ditch-water. We wouldn't recognize that love. It might even look like hate. It would be enough to scare us - God's love. It set fire to a bush in the desert, didn't it, and smashed open graves and set the dead walking in the dark. Oh, a man like me would run a mile to get away if he felt that love around.
quotespriest quotesthats quotesthing quotesaltogether quotesgod quoteslove quotesheart quotesfeel quotestaste quotestaste quotessmallest quotesglass quoteslove quotesmixed quotespint quotespot quotesditchwater quotesrecognize quoteshate quotesscare quotesgods quotesset quotesfire quotesbush quotesdesert quotessmashed quotesopen quotesgraves quotesdead quoteswalking quotesdark quotesman quotesrun quotesmile quotesfelt quotes
He had in those days imagined himself capable of extraordinary heroisms and endurances which would make the girl he loved forget the awkward hands and the spotty chin of adolescence. Everything had seemed possible. One could laugh at daydreams, but so long as you had the capacity to daydream there was a chance that you might develop some of the qualities of which you dreamed. It was like the religious discipline: words however emptily repeated can in time form a habit, a kind of unnoticed sediment at the bottom of the mind, until one day to your own surprise you find yourself acting on the belief you thought you didn't believe in.
days quotesimagined quotescapable quotesextraordinary quotesheroisms quotesendurances quotesmake quotesgirl quotesloved quotesforget quotesawkward quoteshands quotesspotty quoteschin quotesadolescence quoteslaugh quotesdaydreams quoteslong quotescapacity quotesdaydream quoteschance quotesdevelop quotesqualities quotesdreamed quotesreligious quotesdiscipline quoteswords quotesemptily quotesrepeated quotestime quotesform quoteshabit quoteskind quotesunnoticed quotessediment quotesbottom quotesmind quotesday quotessurprise quotesfind quotesacting quotesbelief quotesthought quotes
The woman had gone down on her knees and was shuffling slowly across the cruel ground towards the group of crosses: the dead baby rocked on her back. When she reached the tallest cross she unhooked the child and held the face against the wood and afterwards the loins: then she crossed herself, not as ordinary Catholics do, but in a curious and complicated pattern which included the nose and ears. Did she expect a miracle? And if she did, why should it not be granted her? the priest wondered. Faith, one was told, could move mountains, and here was faith-faith in the spittle that healed the blind man and the voice that raised the dead. The evening star was out: it hung low down over the edge of the plateau: it looked as if it was within reach: and a small hot wind stirred. The priest found himself watching the child for some movement. When none came, it was as if God had missed an opportunity. The woman sat down, and taking a lump of sugar from her bundle, began to eat, and the child lay quiet at the foot of the cross. Why, after all, should we expect God to punish the innocent with more life?
woman quotesknees quotesshuffling quotesslowly quotescruel quotesground quotesgroup quotescrosses quotesdead quotesbaby quotesrocked quotesback quotesreached quotestallest quotescross quotesunhooked quoteschild quotesheld quotesface quoteswood quotesloins quotescrossed quotesordinary quotescatholics quotescurious quotescomplicated quotespattern quotesincluded quotesnose quotesears quotesexpect quotesmiracle quotesgranted quotespriest quoteswondered quotesfaith quotestold quotesmove quotesmountains quotesfaithfaith quotesspittle quoteshealed quotesblind quotesman quotesvoice quotesraised quotesdead quotesevening quotesstar quoteshung quoteslow quotesedge quotesplateau quoteslooked quotesreach quotessmall quoteshot quoteswind quotesstirred quotesfound quoteswatching quotesmovement quotesgod quotesmissed quotesopportunity quotessat quotestaking quoteslump quotessugar quotesbundle quotesbegan quoteseat quoteslay quotesquiet quotesfoot quotescross quotespunish quotesinnocent quoteslife quotes
If only it were possible to love without injury - fidelity isn't enough: I had been faithful to Anne and yet I had injured her. The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation. In a way I was glad that my wife had struck out at me again - I had forgotten her pain for too long, and this was the only kind of recompense I could give her. Unfortunately the innocent are always involved in any conflict. Always, everywhere, there is some voice crying from a tower.
love quotesinjury quotesfidelity quotesfaithful quotesanne quotesinjured quoteshurt quotesact quotespossession quotessmall quotesmind quotesbody quotespossess quotesperson quotespride quotespossessed quoteshumiliation quotesglad quoteswife quotesstruck quotesforgotten quotespain quoteslong quoteskind quotesrecompense quotesgive quotesinnocent quotesinvolved quotesconflict quotesvoice quotescrying quotestower quotes
Despair is the price one pays for setting oneself an impossible aim. It is, one is told, the unforgivable sin, but it is a sin the corrupt or evil man never practices. He always has hope. He never reaches the freezing-point of knowing absolute failure. Only the man of goodwill carries always in his heart this capacity for damnation.
despair quotesprice quotespays quotessetting quotesoneself quotesimpossible quotesaim quotestold quotesunforgivable quotessin quotessin quotescorrupt quotesevil quotesman quotespractices quoteshope quotesreaches quotesfreezingpoint quotesknowing quotesabsolute quotesfailure quotesgoodwill quotescarries quotesheart quotescapacity quotesdamnation quotes
I had been afraid of the primitive, had wanted it broken gently, but here it came on us in a breath, as we stumbled up through the dung and the cramped and stinking huts to our lampless sleeping place among the rats. It was the worst one need fear, and it was bearable because it was inescapable.
the sense of a small courageous community barely existing above the desert of trees, hemmed in by a sun too fierce to work under and a darkness filled with evil spirits - love was an arm round the neck, a cramped embrace in the smoke, wealth a little pile of palm-nuts, old age sores and leprosy, religion a few stones in the centre of the village where the dead chiefs lay, a grove of trees where the rice birds, like yellow and green canaries, built their nests, a man in a mask with raffia skirts dancing at burials. This never varied, only their kindness to strangers, the extent of their poverty and the immediacy of their terrors. Their laughter and their happiness seemed the most courageous things in nature
sense quotessmall quotescourageous quotescommunity quotesbarely quotesexisting quotesdesert quotestrees quoteshemmed quotessun quotesfierce quoteswork quotesdarkness quotesfilled quotesevil quotesspirits quoteslove quotesarm quotesround quotesneck quotescramped quotesembrace quotessmoke quoteswealth quotespile quotespalmnuts quotesage quotessores quotesleprosy quotesreligion quotesstones quotescentre quotesvillage quotesdead quoteschiefs quoteslay quotesgrove quotestrees quotesrice quotesbirds quotesyellow quotesgreen quotescanaries quotesbuilt quotesnests quotesman quotesmask quotesraffia quotesskirts quotesdancing quotesburials quotesvaried quoteskindness quotesstrangers quotesextent quotespoverty quotesimmediacy quotesterrors quoteslaughter quoteshappiness quotesthings quotesnature quotes
A black boy brought Wilson's gin and he sipped it very slowly because he had nothing else to do except to return to his hot and squalid room and read a novel - or a poem. Wilson liked poetry, but he absorbed it secretly, like a drug. The Golden Treasury accompanied him wherever he went, but it was taken at night in small doses - a finger of Longfellow, Macaulay, Mangan: 'Go on to tell how, with genius wasted, Betrayed in friendship, befooled in love... ' His taste was romantic. For public exhibition he has his Wallace. He wanted passionately to be indistinguishable on the surface from other men: he wore his moustache like a club tie - it was his highest common factor, but his eyes betrayed him - brown dog's eyes, a setter's eyes, pointing mournfully towards Bond Street.
black quotesboy quotesbrought quoteswilsons quotesgin quotessipped quotesslowly quotesreturn quoteshot quotessqualid quotesroom quotesread quotespoem quoteswilson quotespoetry quotesabsorbed quotessecretly quotesdrug quotesgolden quotestreasury quotesaccompanied quotesnight quotessmall quotesdoses quotesfinger quoteslongfellow quotesmacaulay quotesmangan quotesgo quotesgenius quoteswasted quotesbetrayed quotesfriendship quotesbefooled quoteslove quotes quotestaste quotesromantic quotespublic quotesexhibition quoteswallace quoteswanted quotespassionately quotesindistinguishable quotessurface quotesmen quoteswore quotesmoustache quotesclub quotestie quoteshighest quotescommon quotesfactor quoteseyes quotesbetrayed quotesbrown quotesdogs quoteseyes quotessetters quotespointing quotesmournfully quotesbond quotesstreet quotes
For a moment he came near to sharing their incredible belief-it would do no harm to mutter a prayer of thanks to the God of his childhood, the God of the Common and the castle, that no ill had yet come to Sarah's child. Then a sonic boom scattered the words of the hymn and shook the old glass of the west window and rattled the crusader's helmet which hung on a pillar, and he was reminded again of the grown-up world. He went quickly out and bought the Sunday papers. The Sunday Express had a headline on the front page-"Child's Body Found in Wood.
moment quotessharing quotesincredible quotesbeliefit quotesharm quotesmutter quotesprayer quotesgod quoteschildhood quotescommon quotescastle quotesill quotessarahs quoteschild quotessonic quotesboom quotesscattered quoteswords quoteshymn quotesshook quotesglass quoteswest quoteswindow quotesrattled quotescrusaders quoteshelmet quoteshung quotespillar quotesreminded quotesgrownup quotesworld quotesquickly quotesbought quotessunday quotespapers quotesexpress quotesheadline quotesfront quotespagechilds quotesbody quotesfound quoteswood quotes
Death never mattered at those times - in the early days I even used to pray for it: the shattering annihilation that would prevent for ever the getting up, the putting on of clothes, the wathchign her torch trail across to the opposite side of the common like the tail-light of a low car driving away.
Fun... human nature... does no one any harm... Regular as clockwork the old excuses came back into the alert, sad and dissatisfied brain-nothing ever matched the deep excitement of the regular desire. Men always failed you when it came to the act. She might just as well have been to the pictures.
I want men to admire me, but that's a trick you learn at school-a movement of the eyes, a tone of voice, a touch of the hand on the shoulder or the head. If they think you admire them, they will admire you because of your good taste, and when they admire you, you have an illusion for a moment that there's something to admire.