There's not a lot of room for un-ironic emotion in contemporary culture. I think that irony is an important tool in dealing with the world as we find it. It's a tool of protection, but it can also be a tool of incision to get to some truth. But along the way maybe we've lost some of what I think of as the power of straightforward emotion and earnestness and seriousness.
According to Maslow, I was stuck on the second level of the pyramid, unable to feel secure in my health and therefore unable to reach for love and respect and art and whatever else, which is, utter horseshit: The urge to make art or contemplate philosophy does not go away when you are sick. Those urges just become transfigured by illness. Maslow's pyramid seemed to imply I was less human than other people, and most people seemed to agree with him.
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I never really understood that massive collaboration involving hundreds of people is what makes movies possible, and it's also why I would agree that curiosity is not the most important human trait; the urge to collaborate is. Heck . . . only we have the ability to cooperate to make like online communities and space telescopes and imaginariums and movies. So the great thrill of this whole experience [my novel being made into a movie] for me was . .. .seeing humanity do what it's best at, which ultimately is not competing but cooperating.
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In these pages, and in my memories, she reminds me that a short life can also be a good and rich life, that it is possible to live with depression without being consumed by it, and that meaning in life is found together, in family and friendship that transcends and survives all manner of suffering. As the poet wrote in the Bible's Song of Solomon, 'Love is strong as death.' Or perhaps even stronger.
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This fear bears no analogy to any fear I knew before. This is the basest of all possible emotions, the feeling that was with us before we existed, before this building existed, before the earth existed. This is the fear that made fish crawl out onto dry land and evolve lungs, the fear that teaches us to run, the fear that makes us bury our dead.
Finally, I decided that the proper strategy was to stare back. Boys do not have a monopoly on the Staring Business, after all. So I looked him over and soon it was a staring contest. After a while the boy smiled, and then finally his blue eyes glanced away. When he looked back at me, I flicked my eyebrows up to say, I win. He shrugged
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Whether the author intended a symbolic resonance to exist in her book is irrelevant. All that matters is whether it's there. Because the book does not exist for the benefit of the author, the book exists for the benefit of YOU. If we as readers can have a bigger and richer experience with the world as a result of reading a symbol and that symbol wasn't intended by the author, WE STILL WIN.
I was blind and heart broken and didn't want to do anything and Gus burst into my room and shouted, "I have wonderful news!" And I was like, "I don't really want to hear wonderful news right now," and Gus said, "This is wonderful news you want to hear," and I asked him, "Fine, what is it?" and he said, "You are going to live a good and long life filled with great and terrible moments that you cannot even imagine yet!
Nothing (at least that can be done by humans) immortalizes anyone. The Fault in Our Stars will hopefully have a long and wonderful life, but it will eventually go out of print, and eventually the last person ever to read it will die, and then the characters will no longer live in any consciousness.Also, that is okay. That is good, actually. That is how it should be. One of the things the characters in this novel have to grapple with is the reality of temporaryness. What Gus in particular must reconcile himself to is that being temporary does not mean being unimportant or meaningless.
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You could hear the wind in the leaves, and on that wind traveled the screams of the kids on the playground in the distance, the little kids figuring out how to be alive, how to navigate a world that was not built for them by navigating a playground that was. . . Who am I to say that these things might not be forever? Who is Pete Van Houten to assert as fact the conjecture that our labor is temporary? All I know of heaven and all I know of death is in this park: an elegant universe in ceaseless motion, teeming with ruined ruins and screaming children.
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She didn't understand why it was happening," he said. "I had to tell her she would die. Her social worker said I had to tell her. I had to tell her she would die, so I told her she was going to heaven. She asked if I would be there, and I said that I would not, not yet. But eventually, she said, and I promised that yes, of course, very soon. And I told her that in the meantime we had great family up there that would take care of her. And she asked me when I would be there, and I told her soon. Twenty-two years ago.
Gus: "It tastes like..." Me: "Food." Gus: "Yes, precisely. It tastes like food, excellently prepared. But it does not taste, how do I put this delicately...?" Me: "It does not taste like God Himself cooked heaven into a series of five dishes which were then served to you accompanied by several luminous balls of fermented, bubbly plasma while actual and literal flower petals floated down around your canal-side dinner table." Gus: "Nicely phrased." Gus's father: "Our children are weird." My dad: "Nicely phrased."
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There were five others before they got to him. He smiled a little when his turn came. His voice was low, smoky, and dead sexy. "My name is Augustus Waters," he said. "I'm seventeen. I had a little touch of osteosarcoma a year and a half ago, but I'm just here today at Isaac's request." "And how are you feeling?" asked Patrick. "Oh, I'm grand." Augustus Waters smiled with a corner of his mouth. "I'm on a roller coaster that only goes up, my friend.
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Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, / The muttering retreats / Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels / And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: / Streets that follow like a tedious argument / Of insidious intent / To lead you to an overwhelming question.../ Oh, do not ask, 'What is it?' / Let us go and make our visit"' 'I'm in love with you,' he said quietly.
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I found myself thinking about President William McKinley, the third American president to be assassinated. He lived for several days after he was shot, and towards the end, his wife started crying and screaming, "I want to go too! I want to go too!" And with his last measure of strength, McKinley turned to her and spoke his last words: "We are all going.
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