The True Man of ancient times knew nothing of loving life, knew nothing of hating death. He emerged without delight; he went back in without a fuss. He came briskly, he went briskly, and that was all. He didn't forget where he began; he didn't try to find out where he would end. He received something and took pleasure in it; he forgot about it and handed it back again.
It's hard to walk briskly at this time of year; the accelerating pace of unfolding spring slows my own. I repeatedly stop- to watch what's moving. Soon the torrent of migrants will completely overwhelm my ability to keep up with all the changes. But it's easy to revel in the exuberance and the sense of rebirth, renewal.
The butterfly's attractiveness derives not only from colors and symmetry: deeper motives contribute to it. We would not think them so beautiful if they did not fly, or if they flew straight and briskly like bees, or if they stung, or above all if they did not enact the perturbing mystery of metamorphosis: the latter assumes in our eyes the value of a badly decoded message, a symbol, a sign.
Well then," Roen said briskly, "are you sleeping?" "Yes." "Come now. A mother can tell when her son lies. Are you eating?" "No," Brigan said gravely. "I've not eaten in two months. It's a hunger strike to protest the spring flooding in the south." "Gracious," Roen said, reaching for the fruit bowl. "Have an apple, dear.
Well then, " Roen said briskly, "are you sleeping?" "Yes." "Come now. A mother can tell when her son lies. Are you eating?" "No, " Brigan said gravely. "I've not eaten in two months. It's a hunger strike to protest the spring flooding in the south." "Gracious, " Roen said, reaching for the fruit bowl. "Have an apple, dear.
In the days when the keepers of the house shall tremble, and the strong men shall bow themselves, and the grinders cease because they are few, and those that look out of the windows be darkened, I know one boy who won't be sweating. I intend to raise my coffin-lid briskly, throw a few things into an overnight bag, and, whistling something appropriate, prepare to meet my Maker.
The appearance of Professor Benjamin Peirce, whose long gray hair, straggling grizzled beard and unusually bright eyes sparkling under a soft felt hat, as he walked briskly but rather ungracefully across the college yard, fitted very well with the opinion current among us that we were looking upon a real live genius, who had a touch of the prophet in his make-up.
William Elwood Byerly
Mind you, physical training doesn't necessarily mean going to an expert for advice. One doesn't have to make a mountain out of a molehill. Get out in the fresh air and walk briskly - and don't forget to wear a smile while you're at it. Don't over-do. Take it easy at first and build on your effort day by day.
Moony, Wormtail, Padfoot, and Prongs, ' sighed George, patting the heading of the map. 'We owe them so much.' 'Noble men, working tirelessly to help a new generation of lawbreakers, ' said Fred solemnly. 'Right, ' said George briskly. 'Don't forget to wipe it after you've used it -' '- or anyone can read it, ' Fred said warningly.[Prisoner of Azkaban, Chapter 10]
Fred and George Weasley
When I take photographs, my body inevitably enters a trancelike state. Briskly weaving my way through the avenues, every cell in my body becomes as sensitive as radar, responsive to the life of the streets... If I were to give it words, I would say: "I have no choice... I have to shoot this... I can't leave this place for another's eyes... I have to shoot it... I have no choice." An endless, murmuring refrain.
The novella is at once the most elegant and demanding form: a writer must balance the looseness of a novel with the concision of a short story, a feat that only the bravest and most talented of us can manage. In Brazil, Jesse Lee Kercheval proves, yet again, that she is exactly the right writer for the job. A wild American picaresque, Brazil snaps along briskly, yet feels full-fleshed, and brims with a sly wit and grace.
I wouldn't care to speculate about what it is in Westlake's psyche that makes him so good at writing about Parker, much less what it is that makes me like the Parker novels so much. Suffice it to say that Stark/Westlake is the cleanest of all noir novelists, a styleless stylist who gets to the point with stupendous economy, hustling you down the path of plot so briskly that you have to read his books a second time to appreciate the elegance and sober wit with which they are written.
I think the reason the stories are briskly paced, when they are, is that I like story. I like stories where things happen and there are surprises and reversals, in addition to vivid characters and a memorable voice. So those are the kinds of stories I try to write. And it turns out that's pretty much the only kind of writing that works for TV. It's a medium that just devours story, demands surprises and reversals. So my sensibility is suited to TV storytelling, at least as we think of it today.
Narrative should flow as flows the brook down through the hills and the leafy woodlands...a brook that never goes straight for a minute, but goes and goes briskly, sometimes ungrammatically, and sometimes fetching a horseshoe of ¾ of a mile around and at the end of the circuit flowing within a yard of the path that it traversed an hour before; but always going and always following at least one law, always loyal to that law, the law of narrative, which has no law. Nothing to do but make the trip; the how of it is not important, so that the trip is made.
And so taking the long way home through the market I slow my pace down. It doesn't come naturally. My legs are programmed to trot briskly and my arms to pump up and down like pistons, but I force myself to stroll past the stalls and pavement cafes. To enjoy just being somewhere, rather than rushing from somewhere, to somewhere. Inhaling deep lungfuls of air, instead of my usual shallow breaths. I take a moment to just stop and look around me. And smile to myself. For the first time in a long time, I can, quite literally, smell the coffee.
Did you like question ten, Moony?" asked Sirius as they emerged into the entrance hall. "Loved it," said Lupin briskly. "Give five signs that identify the werewolf. Excellent question." "D'you think you managed to get all the signs?" said James in tones of mock concern. "Think I did," said Lupin seriously, as they joined the crowd thronging around the front doors eager to get out into the sunlit grounds. "One: He's sitting on my chair. Two: He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...
J. K. Rowling
Did you like question ten, Moony?" asked Sirius as they emerged into the entrance hall. "Loved it, " said Lupin briskly. "Give five signs that identify the werewolf. Excellent question." "D'you think you managed to get all the signs?" said James in tones of mock concern. "Think I did, " said Lupin seriously, as they joined the crowd thronging around the front doors eager to get out into the sunlit grounds. "One: He's sitting on my chair. Two: He's wearing my clothes. Three: His name's Remus Lupin...
What have you to trade for my silence?"... He opened his mouth to beckon the men, but Eleri moved like lightning. With her right arm restrained, she couldn't cut him. However, her weapon of choice caught him completely off-guard. Her lips sealed to his, cutting off his voice in a hard kiss... Bracing his back against the gnarled tree branches, he relaxed for more, but the kiss ended as briskly as it had begun... Blood surging through his body, Warren grinned and lowered his face over hers. "Not the price I had in mind, but... um, shall we see what else you have to offer?
Suddenly she felt strong and happy. She was not afraid of the darkness or the fog and she knew with a singing in her heart that she would never fear them again. No matter what mists might curl around her in the future, she knew her refuge. She started briskly up the street toward home and the blocks seemed very long. Far, far too long. She caught up her skirts to her knees and began to run lightly. But this time she was not running from fear. She was running because Rhett's arms were at the end of the street.
I had a dog who loved flowers. Briskly she went through the fields, yet paused for the honeysuckle or the rose, her dark head and her wet nose touching the face of every one with its petals of silk with its fragrance rising into the air where the bees, their bodies heavy with pollen hovered - and easily she adored every blossom not in the serious careful way that we choose this blossom or that blossom the way we praise or don't praise - the way we love or don't love - but the way we long to be - that happy in the heaven of earth - that wild, that loving.
Did you kiss?" asked Hermione briskly. Ron sat up so fast that he sent his ink bottle flying all over the rug. Disregarding this completely he stared avidly at Harry. "Well?" he demanded. Harry looked from Ron's expression of mingled curiosity and hilarity to Hermione's slight frown, and nodded. "HA!" Ron made a triumphant gesture with his fist an went into a raucous peal of laughter that made several timid-looking second years over beside the window jump. A reluctant grin spread over Harry's face as he watched Ron rolling around on the hearthrug. Hermione gave Ron a look of deep disgust and returned to her letter.
The door suddenly opened. A leggy young brunette took two steps into the office and stopped short. Her brown eyes widened, she hastily excused herself and turned to leave. Perez's jaw dropped as he looked up at her high heels and ankles. He crawled out from under the desk and turned questioningly to his partner. Thorne didn't hesitate. He took one swift stride from behind, clamped a hand tightly over her mouth, and pulled her back into the room, disregarding her wildly flailing legs and frantic attempts to claw his hands away. He shut the door with a backward thrust of his foot. "What do we do now?" Perez whined. "Observe." Thorne spoke calmly, as would a professor demonstrating a familiar operation to a beginner. Using both hands, he briskly snapped her neck. She stopped struggling.
Reading Aloud to My Father I chose the book haphazard from the shelf, but with Nabokov's first sentence I knew it wasn't the thing to read to a dying man: The cradle rocks above an abyss, it began, and common sense tells us that our existence is but a brief crack of light between two eternities of darkness. The words disturbed both of us immediately, and I stopped. With music it was the same - Chopin's Piano Concerto - he asked me to turn it off. He ceased eating, and drank little, while the tumors briskly appropriated what was left of him. But to return to the cradle rocking. I think Nabokov had it wrong. This is the abyss. That's why babies howl at birth, and why the dying so often reach for something only they can apprehend. At the end they don't want their hands to be under the covers, and if you should put your hand on theirs in a tentative gesture of solidarity, they'll pull the hand free; and you must honor that desire, and let them pull it free.
On a distant hilltop, twinkling like an early evening star, a white light was flashing. Blouse lowered his telescope. 'They're repeating "CQ", ' he said. 'And I believe those longer pauses are when they're aiming their tube in different directions. They're looking for their spies. "Seek You", see? Private Igor?' 'Thur?' 'You know how that tube works, don't you?' 'Oh, yeth, thur. You jutht light a flare in the box, and then it'th just point and click.' 'You're not going to answer it, are you, sir?' said Jackrum, horrified. 'I am indeed, sergeant, ' said Blouse briskly. 'Private Carborundum, please assemble the tube. Manickle, please bring the lantern. I shall need to read the code book.' 'But that'll give away our position!' said Jackrum. 'No, sergeant, because although this term may be unfamiliar to you I intend to what we call "lie", ' said Blouse. 'Igor, I'm sure you have some scissors, although I'd rather you didn't attempt to repeat the word.' 'I have thome of the appliantheth you mention, thur, ' said Igorina stiffly.
When does a job feel meaningful? Whenever it allows us to generate delight or reduce suffering in others. Though we are often taught to think of ourselves as inherently selfish, the longing to act meaningfully in our work seems just as stubborn a part of our make-up as our appetite for status or money. It is because we are meaning-focused animals rather than simply materialistic ones that we can reasonably contemplate surrendering security for a career helping to bring drinking water to rural Malawi or might quit a job in consumer goods for one in cardiac nursing, aware that when it comes to improving the human condition a well-controlled defibrillator has the edge over even the finest biscuit. But we should be wary of restricting the idea of meaningful work too tightly, of focusing only on the doctors, the nuns of Kolkata or the Old Masters. There can be less exalted ways to contribute to the furtherance of the collective good... An endeavor endowed with meaning may appear meaningful only when it proceeds briskly in the hands of a restricted number of actors and therefore where particular workers can make an imaginative connection between what they have done with their working days and their impact upon others.
Alain de Botton
You asked what my intentions are, Mrs. Brenner, and I would like to answer your question.' Dibs opened his mouth as if preparing to argue and she glared at him from across the table. Did he really think not to let her state her case in front of his family? He snapped his mouth shut and briskly rubbed a palm across his forehead before tossing that same hand in the air. 'My intentions are these.' She gathered her thoughts, folding her hands in her lap. 'When David is sad, I intend to make him happy. When he is ill, I intend to make him well. When he is angry or upset, I intend to listen and find the words to make him feel better. When he is depressed, I intend to bring him joy, and when he is hurt, I intend to find the source of his pain and take it away from him.' She bridged the distance to Dibs's devoted gaze, and radiant love crested the last barricade surrounding her heart. 'You see, Mr. and Mrs. Brenner, I'm in love with your son. But I don't want anything from him. You don't need to worry because my only intention is to give to him. That's the way it's supposed to be when you love someone, isn't it? To think only of their needs, instead of your own?' She broke off from Dibs and faced his mother. 'Those are my intentions, Mrs. Brenner. I hope you find them satisfactory.
I will not mention the name (and what bits of it I happen to give here appear in decorous disguise) of that man, that Franco-Hungarian writer... I would rather not dwell upon him at all, but I cannot help it- he is surging up from under my pen. Today one does not hear much about him; and this is good, for it proves that I was right in resisting his evil spell, right in experiencing a creepy chill down my spine whenever this or that new book of his touched my hand. The fame of his likes circulates briskly but soon grows heavy and stale; and as for history it will limit his life story to the dash between two dates. Lean and arrogant, with some poisonous pun ever ready to fork out and quiver at you, and with a strange look of expectancy in his dull brown veiled eyes, this false wag had, I daresay, an irresistible effect on small rodents. Having mastered the art of verbal invention to perfection, he particularly prided himself on being a weaver of words, a title he valued higher than that of a writer; personally, I never could understand what was the good of thinking up books, of penning things that had not really happened in some way or other; and I remember once saying to him as I braved the mockery of his encouraging nods that, were I a writer, I should allow only my heart to have imagination, and for the rest rely upon memory, that long-drawn sunset shadow of one's personal truth. I had known his books before I knew him; a faint disgust was already replacing the aesthetic pleasure which I had suffered his first novel to give me. At the beginning of his career, it had been possible perhaps to distinguish some human landscape, some old garden, some dream- familiar disposition of trees through the stained glass of his prodigious prose... but with every new book the tints grew still more dense, the gules and purpure still more ominous; and today one can no longer see anything at all through that blazoned, ghastly rich glass, and it seems that were one to break it, nothing but a perfectly black void would face one's shivering soul. But how dangerous he was in his prime, what venom he squirted, with what whips he lashed when provoked! The tornado of his passing satire left a barren waste where felled oaks lay in a row, and the dust still twisted, and the unfortunate author of some adverse review, howling with pain, spun like a top in the dust.
As Sarah watched them (Abraham and Isaac) move briskly along, she thought of the whole journey behind her. Her childhood in the Ur-of-the North, the temple of Asherah, her father's house, the Euphrates in flood and in a dry season. She thought of Abraham arriving with his extravagant dowry of impossibly large herds, and then of those early years as they watched the drought deplete their animals and their hope. The journey to Egypt, and the fear she felt when they were told to lie about who she was. She thought of Pharaoh and of Sehtepibre, of the great game they weere playing on the magnificient stage of the most ancient and lofty kingdom in the world - and how petty and mean it turned out to be. She thought of Hagar in those early years together, when Sarah thought of her as almost a friend, they grew so close. The nastiness she set aside; there was no reason to dwell on that. But two sons had been born to Abraham, one by each of these women. That made them sisters, of a kind, even if they could not be friends. And thinking of sisters reminded her of Qira, and her tragic blindness to anything that mattered. Qira was almost as blessed as I was, thought Sarah, but she never knew it, and ketp trying to get joy from those who had none to give, and rejecting it from the only ones who knew how it could be obtained. And she died because she couldn't let go of the very things that the dead always leave behind, and couldn't hold to the only things that the dead can carry with them. The love of a good man for a good woman. The love of good friends for each other. The love of parents for children, and children for parents. The love of brothers and sisters. The memory of joy and grief, which all becomes joy when enough time has passed. This is the treasure that I have won through all the years of my journey through this life, thought Sarah. And every bit of it I'll take with me beyond the grave. I'll meet God then, Abraham promises I will, and I will take all these treasures and lay them out before his feet, for God can see them easily even if mortal men cannot. And I'll kneel before the treasures and say, 'Oh God, I thank thee for giving these to me during my life on Earth. No daughter has been better loved than I, nor any wife, nor any mother. I never deserved them. They were not mine by right. But I hope that, having been given such gift so undeservingly, I used them well, and gave back to thee a life that was worthy.' She had the thought of saying these things to God just as Abraham went out of sight, with Isaac walking beside him. They carry my treasures in their hearts, too, small treasures I suppose, but the best I had to give them. The stars are great hot fires in a distant sky, so bright a figt from God that they can be seen by everyone on Earth. But when you take my love out of your secret hiding place, my husband, my son, and look at it, you'll see that even though it's as small and dull as a pebble compared to the stars, I have polished my love so long and fervently, and you hold it now so close, that surely, surely it must shine.
Orson Scott Card