Why can't I believe? she asked the darkness. Behind her eyelids she saw an animal. It was golden colour, with gentle green eyes and canine teeth, and curly wool instead of fur. It opened its mouth, but it did not speak. Instead, it yawned.It gazed at her. She gazed at it. "You are the effect of a carefully calibrated blend of plant toxins," she told it.Then she fell asleep.
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We're facing growing climate change, more floods, more droughts, more crisis on a planetary level, and the systems we put in place in the twentieth century are just not going to work. We've run out of stuff. Our big problems are going to be energy supplies and food supplies. This is not a right-left issue. It's a people issue, and it cuts across all our categories.
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This has been her problem all her life: picturing other people's responses. She's too good at it. She can picture the response of anyone--other people's reactions, their emotions, their criticisms, their demands--but somehow they don't reciprocate. Maybe they can't. Maybe they lack the gift, if it is one.
Money as such is, as Oscar Wilde said, perfectly useless. You can't eat it, drink it, shelter yourself from the cold with it, wear it, or make love with it unless deeply disturbed. In and of itself, it has no emotions, no mind, and no conscience. It doesn't put out flowers or have children, and it makes a lousy pet. It has meaning only when it circulates, and is exchanged for other things; and money doesn't do that for itself. People do that, using money as a symbolic token.
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When faced with the inevitable, you always have a choice.... As I learned during my liberal arts education, any symbol can have, in the imaginative context, two versions, a positive and a negative. If you spill your milk, you're left with a glass which is either half empty or half full.... You may not be able to alter reality, but you can alter your attitude towards it, and this, paradoxically, alters reality. Try it and see.
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It's a critical fallacy of our times ... that a writer should 'grow,' 'change,' or 'develop.' This fallacy causes us to expect from children or radishes: 'grow,' or there's something wrong with you. But writers are not radishes. If you look at what most writers actually do, it resembles a theme with variations more than it does the popular notion of growth.
But I keep going on with this sad and hungry and sordid, this limping and mutilated story, because after all I want you to hear it, as I will hear yours too if I ever get the chance, if I meet you or if you escape, in the future or in heaven or in prison or underground, some other place. What they have in common is that they're not here. By telling you anything at all I'm at least believing in you, I believe you're there, I believe you into being. Because I'm telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are.
In Heaven, there are no debts - all have been paid, one way or another - but in Hell there's nothing but debts, and a great deal of payment is exacted, though you can't ever get all paid up. You have to pay, and pay, and keep on paying. So Hell is like an infernal maxed-out credit card that multiplies the charges endlessly.
I think the main thing is: Just do it. Plunge in! Being Canadian, I go swimming in icy cold lakes, and there is always that dithering moment. "Am I really going to do this? Won't it hurt?" And at some point you just have to flop in there and scream. Once you're in, keep going. You may have to crumple and toss, but we all do that. Courage! I think that is what's most required.
Whatever the scientists may come up with, writers and artists will continue to portray altered mental states, simply because few aspects of our nature fascinate people so much. The so-called mad person will always represent a possible future for every member of the audience - who knows when such a malady may strike?
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I myself discovered many authors through school reading lists and through school anthologies. The positives are: young readers can find the world opening up to them through books they study. The negatives may include bad experiences kids have - if they don't like the book or the teacher, or the way the book is taught.
It's impossible to say a thing exactly the way it was, because of what you say can never be exact, you always have to leave something out, there are too many parts, sides, crosscurrents, nuances; too many gestures, which could mean this or that, too many shapes which can never be fully described, too many flavors, in the air or on the tongue, half-colors, too many.
Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away a stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. If you can't go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.
Either I'm alive or I'm dying, she said to Daniel. Please don't feel you can't tell me. Which is it? Which does it feel like? said Daniel. He patted her hand. You're not dead yet. You're a lot more alive than many people. This isn't good enough for Rennie. She wants something definite, the real truth, one way or the other. Then she will know what she should do next. It's this suspension, hanging in a void, this half-life she can't bear. She can't bear not knowing. She doesn't want to know.
Communications technology changes possibilities for communication, but that doesn't mean it changes the inherited structure of the brain. So you may think that you're addicted to online reading, but as soon as it isn't available anymore, your brain will pretty immediately adjust to other forms of reading. It's a habit like all habits.
As all historians know, the past is a great darkness, and filled with echoes. Voices may reach us from it; but what they say to us is imbued with the obscurity of the matrix out of which they come; and try as we may, we cannot always decipher them precisely in the clearer light of our day.
Anything that suffers and dies instead of us is Christ; if they didn't kill birds and fish they would have killed us. The animals die that we may live, they are substitute people, hunters in the fall killing the deer, that is Christ also. And we eat them, out of cans or otherwise; we are eaters of death, dead Christ-flesh resurrecting inside us, granting us life. Canned Spam, canned Jesus, even the plants must be Christ.
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All Creatures know that some must die That all the rest may take and eat; Sooner or later, all transform Their blood to wine, their flesh to meat. But Man alone seeks Vengefulness, And writes his abstract Laws on stone; For this false Justice he has made, He tortures limb and crushes bone. Is this the image of a god? My tooth for yours, your eye for mine? Oh, if Revenge did move the stars Instead of Love, they would not shine.
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We want to get there faster. Get where? Wherever we are not. But a human soul can only go as fast as a man can walk, they used to say. In that case, where are all the souls? Left behind. They wander here and there, slowly, dim lights flickering in the marshes at night, looking for us. But they're not nearly fast enough, not for us, we're way ahead of them, they'll never catch up. That's why we can go so fast: our souls don't weigh us down.
Glenn used to say the reason you can't really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, 'I'll be dead,' you've said the word I, and so you're still alive inside the sentence. And that's how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul - it was a consequence of grammar.
We all know that a book is not really a person. It isn't a human being. But if you are a lover of books as books "" as objects, that is "" and ignore the human element in them "" that is, their voices "" you will be committing an error of the soul, because you will be an idolator, or else a fetishist.
Nature full strength is more than we can take, Adam One used to say. It's a potent hallucinogen, a soporific, for the untrained Soul. We're no longer at home in it. We need to dilute it. We can't drink it straight. And God is the same. Too much God and you overdose. God needs to be filtered.
A Paradox, the doughnut hole. Empty space, once, but now they've learned to market even that. A minus quantity; nothing, rendered edible. I wondered if they might be used-metaphorically, of course-to demonstrate the existence of God. Does naming a sphere of nothingness transmute it into being?
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Glenn used to say the reason you can't really imagine yourself being dead was that as soon as you say, 'I'll be dead, ' you've said the word I, and so you're still alive inside the sentence. And that's how people got the idea of the immortality of the soul - it was a consequence of grammar.
The Chorus Line: A Rope-Jumping Rhyme we are the maids the ones you killed the ones you failed we danced in air our bare feet twitched it was not fair with every goddess, queen, and bitch from there to here you scratched your itch we did much less than what you did you judged us bad you had the spear you had the word at your command we scrubbed the blood of our dead paramours from floors, from chairs from stairs, from doors, we knelt in water while you stared at our bare feet it was not fair you licked our fear it gave you pleasure you raised your hand you watched us fall we danced on air the ones you failed the ones you killed
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Two-thirty comes during Testifying. It's Janine, telling about how she was gang-raped at fourteen and had an abortion.But whose fault was it? Aunt Helena says, holding up one plump finger. Her fault, her fault, her fault. We chant in unison. Who led them on? She did. She did. She did. Why did God allow such a terrible thing to happen? Teach her a lesson. Teach her a lesson. Teach her a lesson.
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It is very odd to be standing in a locked room in the Penitentiary, speaking with a strange man about France and Italy and Germany. A travelling man. He must be a wanderer, like Jeremiah the peddler. But Jeremiah travelled to earn his bread, and these other sorts of men are rich enough already. They go on voyages because they are curious. They amble around the world and stare at things, they sail across the oceans as if there's nothing to it at all, and if it goes ill with them in one place they simply pick up and move along to another.
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I stand in the dark, start to unbutton. Then I hear something inside my body. I've broken, something has cracked, that must be it. Noise is coming up, coming out, of the broken place, in my face. Without warning: I wasn't thinking about here or there or anywhere. If I let the noise get out into the air it will be laughter, too loud, too much of it, someone is bound to hear.
The male frog, in mating season, " said Crake, "makes as much noise as it can. The females are attracted to the male frog with the biggest, deepest voice because it suggests a more powerful frog, one with superior genes. Small male frogs - it's been documented - discover that if they position themselves in empty drainpipes, the pipe acts as a voice amplifier, and the small frog appears much larger than it really is." "So?" "So that's what art is, for the artist, " said Crake. "An empty drainpipe. An amplifier. A stab at getting laid." "Your analogy falls down when it comes to female artists, " said Jimmy. "They're not in it to get laid. They'd gain no biological advantage from amplifying themselves, since potential mates would be deterred rather than attracted by this sort of amplification. Men aren't frogs, they don't want women who are ten times bigger than them." "Female artists are biologically confused, " said Crake.
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Variation on the Word Sleep I would like to watch you sleeping, which may not happen. I would like to watch you, sleeping. I would like to sleep with you, to enter your sleep as its smooth dark wave slides over my head. and walk with you through that lucent wavering forest of bluegreen leaves with its watery sun & three moons towards the cave where you must descend, towards your worst fear I would like to give you the silver branch, the small white flower, the one word that will protect you from the grief at the center of your dream, from the grief at the center. I would like to follow you up the long stairway again & become the boat that would row you back carefully, a flame in two cupped hands to where your body lies beside me, and you enter it as easily as breathing in I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed & that necessary.
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Then there's the two of us. This word is far too short for us, it has only four letters, too sparse to fill those deep bare vacuums between the stars that press on us with their deafness. It's not love we don't wish to fall into, but that fear. This word is not enough but it will have to do. It's a single vowel in this metallic silence, a mouth that says O again and again in wonder and pain, a breath, a finger grip on a cliffside. You can hold on or let go.
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It's simple, ' Kat told them. 'You bombard them with images of what they ought to be, and you make them feel grotty for being the way they are. You're working with the gap between reality and perception. That's why you have to hit them with something new, something they've never seen before, something they aren't. Nothing sells like anxiety.
Her face is silting up, like a pond; layers are accumulating. Every once in a while, when she can afford the time, she spends a few days at a spa north of the city, drinking vegetable juice and having ultrasound treatments, in search of her original face, the one she knows is under there somewhere; she comes back feeling toned up and virtuous, and hungry.
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You believed you could transcend the body as you aged, she tells herself. You believed you could rise above it, to a serene, nonphysical realm. But it's only through ecstasy you can do that, and ecstasy is achieved through the body itself. Without the bone and sinew of wings, no flight. Without that ecstasy you can only be dragged further down by the body, into its machinery. Its rusting, creaking, vengeful, brute machinery.
Today I speak to my bones as I would speak to a dog. I want to go up the stairs, I tell them. Up, up, up, with one leg dragging. Is the ache deep in the bones, this elusive pain? Does that mean it will rain? Good bones, good bones, I coax, wondering how to reward them; if they will sit up for me, beg, roll over, do one more trick, once more. There. We're at the top. Good bones! Good bones! Keep on going.