Loneliness is a hard thing to handle. I feel it, sometimes. When I do, I want it to end. Sometimes, when you're near someone, when you touch them on some level that is deeper than the uselessly structured formality of casual civilized interaction, there's a sense of satisfaction in it. Or at least, there is for me. It doesn't have to be someone particularly nice. You don't have to like them. You don't even have to want to work with them. You might even want to punch them in the nose. Sometimes just making that connection is its own experience, its own reward.
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The characters within a book were, from a certain point of view, identical on some fundamental level "' there weren't any images of them, no physical tangibility whatsoever. They were pictures in the reader's head, constructs of imagination and ideas, given shape by the writer's work and skill and the reader's imagination. Parents, of a sort.
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Life is full of toil, sacrifice, and pain, and from the time we stop growing, we know that we've begun dying. We watch helplessly as year by year, our bodies age and fail, while our survival instincts compel us to keep on going-which means living with the terrifying knowledge that ultimately death is inescapable.
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Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you're alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.
Love is another kind of power, which shouldn't surprise you. Magic comes from emotions, among other things. And when two people are together, in that intimacy, when they really, selflessly love each other it changes them both. It lingers on in the energy of their lives, even when they are apart.
Magic is a kind of energy. It is given shape by human thoughts and emotions, by imagination. Thoughts define that shape""and words help to define those thoughts. That's why wizards usually use words to help them with their spells. Words provide a sort of insulation as the energy of magic burns through a spell caster's mind.
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All things pass in time. We are far less significant than we imagine ourselves to be. All that we are, all that we have wrought, is but a shadow, no matter how durable it may seem. One day, when the last man has breathed his last breath, the sun will shine, the mountains will stand, the rain will fall, the streams will whisper""and they will not miss him.
... They paid some madman who thought he was a decorator a lot of money to make the place look hip and unique. May be it's my lack of fashion sense talking, but I thought they should have held out for one of those gorillas who has learned to paint. The results would have been of similar quality, and they could have paid in fresh produce. - Harry Dresden, Small Favor, Jim Butcher
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Passion has overthrown tyrants and freed prisoners and slaves. Passion has brought justice where there was savagery. Passion has created freedom where there was nothing but fear. Passion has helped souls rise from the ashes of their horrible lives and build something better, stronger, more beautiful.
Every soul is special. They're all beautiful. They're all far more significant than anyone on this rock realizes. I think when people are at their best, they're acting in accordance with their soul. The ones who have gone bad don't have bad souls. They've just given up on keeping in touch with them.
Oh," the girl said, shaking her head. "Don't be so simple. People adore monsters. They fill their songs and stories with them. They define themselves in relation to them. You know what a monster is, young shade? Power. Power and choice. Monsters make choices. Monsters shape the world. Monsters force us to become stronger, smarter, better. They sift the weak from the strong and provide a forge for the steeling of souls. Even as we curse monsters, we admire them. Seek to become them, in some ways." Her eyes became distant. "There are far, far worse things to be than a monster.
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I found him in a Dumpster one day when he was a kitten and he promptly adopted me. Despite my struggles, Mister had been an understanding soul, and I eventually came to realize that I was a part of his little family, and by his gracious consent was allowed to remain in his apartment. Cats. Go figure.
Anyway, my office is small - one room, but on the corner, with a couple of windows. The sign on the door reads, simply, HARRY DRESDEN, WIZARD. Just inside the door is a table, covered with pamphlets with titles like: Magic and You, and Why Witches Don't Sink Any Faster Than Anyone Else - a Wizard's Perspective. I wrote most of them. I think it's important for we practitioners of the Art to keep up a good public image. Anything to avoid another Inquisition.
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But you'd get arguments from all kinds of people that the Bible has got to be perfect. That God would not permit such errors to be made in the Holy Word." "I thought God gave everyone free will. Which would presumably - and evidently - include the freedom to be incorrect when translating one language into another." "Stop making me think. I'm believing over here.
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No one just starts giggling and wearing black and signs up to become a villainous monster. How the hell do you think it happens? It happens to people. Just people. They make questionable choices, for what might be very good reasons. They make choice after choice, and none of them is slaughtering roomfuls of saints, or murdering hundreds of baby seals, or rubber-room irrational. But it adds up. And then one day they look around and realized that they're so far over the line that they can't remember where it was.
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It's a shadelight, " Grimm said quietly. "Some of my men put one up whenever I lose a member of the crew. To light his shade's way back to his bunk, so he can rest." "A bit heathen of them, I suppose, " Benedict said. "It's a tradition, " Grimm said. "Were traditions rational, they'd be procedures.
Well, I never been to much school, you understand, but it seems to me that you're assuming something you shouldn't assume... that God sees the world like you do; one thing at a time, from just one spot. Seems to me that he's supposed to be everywhere, know everything... Think about that; he knows what you're feeling, how you're hurting. Feels my pain, your pain like it was his own. Hell son, the question isn't how God could care about just one person; question is, how could he not?
They don't make morgues with windows. In fact, if the geography allows for it, they hardly ever make morgues above the ground. I guess it's partly because it must be eisier to refrigerate a bunch of coffin-sized chambers in a room insulated by the earth. But that can't be all there is to it. Under the earth means a lot more than relative altitude. It's where dead things fit. Graves are under the earth. So are Hell, Gehenna, Hades, and a dozen other reported afterlives. Maybe it says somthing about people. Maybe for us, under the earth is a subtle and profound statement. Maybe ground level provides us with a kind of symbolic boundary marker, an artificial construct that helps us remember that we are alive. Mabye it helps us push death's shadow back from our lives. I live in a basement apartment and like it. What does that say about me? Probably that I overanalyze things.
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I'm not a Wiccan. I'm not big on churches of any kind, despite the fact that I've spoken, face-to-face, with an archangel of the Almighty. But there were some things I believed in. Some things I had faith in. And faith isn't about perfect attendance to services, or how much money you put on the little plate. It isn't about going skyclad to the Holy Rites, or meditating each day upon the divine. Faith is about what you do. It's about aspiring to be better and nobler and kinder than you are. It's about making sacrifices for the good of others-even when there's not going to be anyone telling you what a hero you are. Faith is a power of its own, and one even more elusive and difficult to define than magic.
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On the whole, we're a murderous race. According to Genesis, it took as few as four people to make the planet too crowded to stand, and the first murder was a fratricide. Genesis says that in a fit of jealous rage, the very first child born to mortal parents, Cain, snapped and popped the first metaphorical cap in another human being. The attack was a bloody, brutal, violent, reprehensible killing. Cain's brother Abel probably never saw it coming. As I opened the door to my apartment, I was filled with a sense of empathic sympathy and intuitive understanding. For freaking Cain.
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Sure, we'd faced some things as children that a lot of kids don't. Sure, Justin had qualified for his Junior de Sade Badge in his teaching methods for dealing with pain. We still hadn't learned, though, that growing up is all about getting hurt. And then getting over it. You hurt. You recover. You move on. Odds are pretty good you're just going to get hurt again. But each time, you learn something. Each time, you come out of it a little stronger, and at some point you realize that there are more flavors of pain than coffee. There's the little empty pain of leaving something behind - gradutaing, taking the next step forward, walking out of something familiar and safe into the unknown. There's the big, whirling pain of life upending all of your plans and expecations. There's the sharp little pains of failure, and the more obscure aches of successes that didn't give you what you thought they would. There are the vicious, stabbing pains of hopes being torn up. The sweet little pains of finding others, giving them your love, and taking joy in their life they grow and learn. There's the steady pain of empathy that you shrug off so you can stand beside a wounded friend and help them bear their burdens. And if you're very, very lucky, there are a very few blazing hot little pains you feel when you realized that you are standing in a moment of utter perfection, an instant of triumph, or happiness, or mirth which at the same time cannot possibly last - and yet will remain with you for life. Everyone is down on pain, because they forget something important about it: Pain is for the living. Only the dead don't feel it. Pain is a part of life. Sometimes it's a big part, and sometimes it isn't, but either way, it's a part of the big puzzle, the deep music, the great game. Pain does two things: It teaches you, tells you that you're alive. Then it passes away and leaves you changed. It leaves you wiser, sometimes. Sometimes it leaves you stronger. Either way, pain leaves its mark, and everything important that will ever happen to you in life is going to involve it in one degree or another.
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I don't want to live in a world where the strong rule and the weak cower. I'd rather make a place where things are a little quieter. Where trolls stay the hell under their bridges and where elves don't come swooping out to snatch children from their cradles. Where vampires respect the limits, and where the faeries mind their p's and q's. My name is Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden. Conjure by it at your own risk. When things get strange, when what goes bump in the night flicks on the lights, when no one else can help you, give me a call. I'm in the book.
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Life can be confusing. Good God, and how. Sometimes it seems like the older I get, the more confused I become. That seems ass-backwards. I thought I was supposed to be getting wiser. Instead, I just keep getting hit over the head with my relative insignificance in the greater scheme of the universe. Confusing, life. But it beats the hell out of the alternative.
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Sometimes the most remarkable things seem commonplace. I mean when you think about it jet travel is pretty freaking remarkable. You get in a plane it defies the gravity of a entire planet by exploiting a loophole with air pressure and it flies across distances that would take months or years to cross by any means of travel that has been significant for more than a century or three. You hurtle above the earth at enough speed to kill you instantly should you bump into something and you can only breathe because someone built you a really good tin can that seems tight enough to hold in a decent amount of air. Hundreds of millions of man-hours of work and struggle and research blood sweat tears and lives have gone into the history of air travel and it has totally revolutionized the face of our planet and societies. But get on any flight in the country and I absolutely promise you that you will find someone who in the face of all that incredible achievement will be willing to complain about the drinks.
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No one is an unjust villain in his own mind. Even - perhaps even especially - those who are the worst of us. Some of the cruelest tyrants in history were motivated by noble ideals, or made choices that they would call 'hard but necessary steps' for the good of their nation. We're all the hero of our own story.
But... all I said was that I was scared." After what you got to experience? That's smart, kid, " I said. "I'm scared, too. Every time something like this happens, it scares me. But being strong doesn't get you through. Being smart does. I've beaten people and things who were stronger than I was, because they didn't use their heads, or because I used what I had better than they did. It isn't about muscle, kiddo, magical or otherwise. It's about your attitude. About your mind." She nodded slowly and said, "About doing things for the right reasons." You don't throw down like this just because you're strong enough to do it, " I said. "You do it because you don't have much choice. You do it because it's unacceptable to walk away, and still live with yourself later." She stared at me for a second, and then her eyes widened. "Otherwise, you're using power for the sake of using power." I nodded. "And power tends to corrupt. It isn't hard to love using it, Molly. You've got to go in with the right attitude or... " Or the power starts using you, " she said. She'd heard the argument before, but this was the first time she said the words slowly, thoughtfully, as if she'd actually understood them, instead of just parroting them back to me. Then she looked up. "That's why you do it. Why you help people. You're using the power for someone other than yourself.
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You already beat yourself up for enough things that aren't your fault. People who care don't want to add to that." He paused, and then added gently, "But you assumed it was about you." I finished the beer and sighed. "Arrogance, " I said."I feel stupid." "Good, " Michael said. "It's good for everyone to feel that way sometimes. It helps remind you how much you still have to learn.
The human mind isn't a terribly logical or consistent place. Most people, given the choice to face a hideous or terrifying truth or to conveniently avoid it, choose the convenience and peace of normality. That doesn't make them strong or weak people, or good or bad people. It just makes them people.
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A ship's captain was her master and the right hand of God in Heaven Himself, and concerned with matters of such grave importance that minor issues like food for the mortals in his command were entirely beneath him. "I'll get someone else to take this duty, sir, " Creedy said stoutly. "The nonessential personnel are already on leave, XO, " Grimm replied. "All the remaining hands are fully engaged in installing the new systems and making repairs. You know that." "But, sir, " Creedy said. "What will the crew say?" "What they won't say, Byron, is anything like 'my captain allowed me to go hungry while demanding that I work without cease, '" Grimm said.
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Sometimes I forget how much I like riding the bike." Most chicks do, " I said. "Roar of the engine and so on." Murphy's blue eyes glittered with annoyance and anticipation. "Pig. You really enjoy dropping all women together in the same demographic, don't you?" It's not my fault all women like motorcycles, Murph. They're basically huge vibrators. With wheels.
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You need to know where to go, ' Sanya said. 'Yes, ' 'And you are going to consult four large pizzas for guidance.' 'Yes, ' I said... 'There is, I think, humour here which does not translate well from English into sanity.' 'That's pretty rich coming from the agnostic Knight of the Cross with a holy Sword who takes his orders from an archangel.' I said. - Harry Dresden & Sanya, Changes, Jim Butcher
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Paranoia is a survival trait when you run in my circles. It gives you something to do in your spare time, coming up with solutions to ridiculous problems that aren't ever going to happen. Except when one of them does, at which point you feel way too vindicated. - Harry Dresden, Changes, Jim Butcher