Artists have a habit of becoming what they practice on the canvas. Who knows when it began? When he discovered that the sky, filtered through a ghostly veil, would prove so profoundly right? I admit I feel the power of his paintings, can clearly see how they symbolize just what he claims, but why is it that an artist is expected to match their expression, as if the painting itself is just a distillation of the man? That man across the ramshackle table, warnings from his friends to stop drinking, pools of sauces in white plates we'd cleared in hopes we could lift another glass, felt as far away as any ocean horizon, seemed void of what I'd hoped to find in him. I saw what I presumed art can do to a broken person, what it can do, perhaps, to a broken generation: The painting itself can fortify the isolation that painting brings, the muted colors on canvas leading the artist to believe that he, too, is only worthy if muted. I felt so sure I was right about him, but hoped I wasn't. I drank to it, a sickly prayer.
I was in way too deep. I was cut in so many places that I felt like I was bleeding out from every part of my body. Being outside and watching people live their normal lives took me out of my head, but the minute I stepped back into the apartment, I was muted inside. No words, no actions, no me. - Unsettled
Cinema is a thankless industry where sometimes to appear on the cinematic scenery is a thing for late bloomers and people who are very patient. The places are accounted, and the space is often unwelcoming. Money is rare, and independent voices are muted by the almost complete absence of risk takers.
What really fueled me, and maybe infuriated me, is that nobody believed in me. Nobody. I don't even think I believe in myself. Part of what I was trying to do was to make the decision to go into business and find the guts to see it through. I was told that when I went in to see the bankers that I was supposed to be very muted, that I was supposed to blend in, that I was supposed to have the typical drab suit on.
It was not hard to persuade people that the market was sound; as always in such times they asked only that the dispiriting voices of doubt be muted and that there should be tolerably frequent expressions of confidence. Just a month before the crash, Irving Fisher was saying: "There may be a recession in stock prices, but not anything in the nature of a crash".
John Kenneth Galbraith
O truly enjoy... [a university], the individual-student or faculty-must harbor a well-calibrated sense of annoyance at the institution, entering into a muted adversarial relationship...both in order to move the institution just that little bit away from what is was to what it could become, and also to assure at least the sense if not the reality of independence.
The Noonday Demon explores the subterranean realms of an illness which is on the point of becoming endemic, and which more than anything else mirrors the present state of our civilization and its profound discontents. As wide-ranging as it is incisive, this astonishing work is a testimony both to the muted suffering of millions and to the great courage it must have taken the author to set his mind against it.
W. G. Sebald
Everyone was eating, talking softly, glancing at me, hugging me, eating. It was as if someone had turned the volume down. Everything looked normal, but the sound was muted. Death did this, set all this weirdness in motion, made people appear out of nowhere carrying casseroles, saying 'I'm sorry' over and over, death muffled their voices.
Every Day Is for the Thief, by turns funny, mournful, and acerbic, offers a portrait of Nigeria in which anger, perhaps the most natural response to the often lamentable state of affairs there, is somehow muted and deflected by the author's deep engagement with the country: a profoundly disenchanted love. Teju Cole is among the most gifted writers of his generation.
A river is nearly the ultimate symbol for the very essence of change itself. It flows unceasingly from one point of being to another, yet continuously occupies the same bed or pathway, and accommodates life's endings with the same musical grace with which it accommodates life's beginnings, along with all the muted and explosive moments that surface between the two extremes.
Back in the 1930s, when men with handlebar moustaches played football in long johns and tails, and the ball was a spherical clod of bitumen, did fans weep in the stands when their team lost? No. They limited their responses to a muttered 'blast' or a muted 'hurrah' before going home to smoke a pipe and lean on the mantelpiece.
Tranquillizers do not change our environment, nor do they change our personalities. They merely reduce our responsiveness to stimuli. They dull the keen edge of the angers, fears, or anxiety with which we might otherwise react to the problems of living. Once the response has been dulled, the irritating surface noise of living muted or eliminated, the spark and brilliance are also gone.
Somewhere, things must be beautiful and vivid. Somewhere else, life has to be beautiful and vivid and rich. Not like this muted palette -a pale blue bedroom, washed out sunny sky, dull green yellow brown of the fields. Here, I know ever twist of every road, every blade of grass, every face in this town, and I am suffocating.
Lisa Ann Sandell
My "heart". Does that pitiful organ still represent anything? It lies motionless in my chest, pumping no blood, serving no purpose, and yet my feelings still seem to originate inside its cold walls. My muted sadness, my vague longing, my rare flickers of joy. They pool in the center of my chest and seep out of there, diluted and faint, but real.
I'm definitely a big believer in the notion that a heightened style can get you closer to an authentic human experience than so-called realism on film. There are films I love that have kind of a muted or realistic style, but for me on any given day I have more moments during the course of a day that feel like a Fellini movie than I do a Cassavettes movie.
Errors and exaggerations do not matter. What matters is boldness in thinking with a strong-pitched voice, in speaking out about things as one feels them in the moment of speaking; in having the temerity to proclaim what one believes to be true without fear of the consequences. If one were to await the possession of the absolute truth, one must be either a fool or a mute. If the creative impulse were muted, the world would then be stayed on its march.
Jose Clemente Orozco
The fatigue I've gathered year after year and stored inside now heaves a muted cry of helplessness. Nothing but fatigue, rounding my shoulders, heavier than ever on this late autumn day with a useless sun, a world of unforgiving disasters. So many struggles and tragedies, so much sorrow and egotism in this dark, in this rotting century of hate.
People don't realize that the Obama Administration has been, if anything, harder on whistleblowers than the Bush Administration. Part of the reason is that they know that the response will be more muted because the traditional constituency supporting whistleblowers just happen to be the same constituency as Obama's.
To love a swamp, however, is to love what is muted and marginal, what exists in the shadows, what shoulders its way out of mud and scurries along the damp edges of what is most commonly praised. And sometimes its invisibility is a blessing. Swamps and bogs are places of transition and wild growth, breeding grounds, experimental labs where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being out of the spotlight, where the imagination can mutate and mate, send tendrils into and out of the water.
There is light in the shadow just as there is shadow in the light and although many disclaim these shadows as everything unpleasant in the world, it cannot be so, it is not so. Just as there is beauty in the light, the shadow hold it's own muted allure and of both shades, there are songs and dances and revelry and sorrow. They are one and the same, different sides of the same coin, a mirror image looking at itself. The only thing that sets them apart, and will continue to divide these two spectrums, is our perception of the 'fact' that one is light and one is shadow.
Kensi Brianne Smith
The Good Quality Snob, or wearer of muted tweeds, cut almost exactly the same from year to year, often with a hat of the same material, [is] native to the Boston North Shore, the Chicago North Shore, the North Shore of Long Island, to Westchester County, the Philadelphia Main Line and the Peninsula area of San Francisco.
Grief does not end and love does not die and nothing fills its graven place. With grace, pain is transmuted into the gold of wisdom and compassion and the lesser coin of muted sadness and resignation; but something leaden of it remains, to become the kernel arond which more pain accretes (a black pearl): one pain becomes every other pain ... unless one strips away, one by one, the layers of pain to get to the heart of the pain - and this causes more pain, pain so intense as to feel like evisceration.
Barbara Grizzuti Harrison
I believe in your kiss... your touch and the way you make me feel. I believe in your eyes... that make me see the good in most. I believe in your mouth... and your sweet taste... and the softness of the words that flow from you. I believe your love has taken me places, I never dreamed possible. I believe in your laughter... your tears of caring and your muted look of understanding. I believe that your love has made me a better human being. I believe your compassion and patience have enriched all who have come to know you. I believe because of you, I'm the luckiest person on the face of the earth. I believe in you... in everything you say and do. I believe... that you have made this world a better place
The color palette grew as the story progressed. The 1920's sharecroppers were muted and neutrals, the 30's and 40's introduced burgundy to the neutral palette. The 1950's introduced green, black and denim blue, the 1960's introduced orange and heavier more saturated color, the 1970's introduced more primaries, and the fashion palette became more recognizable as a contemporary one from there.
Ruth E. Carter
Without a thorough and deeply rooted understanding of the biblical view of truth as revealed, objective, absolute, universal, eternally engaging, antithetical and exclusive, unified and systematic, and as an end in itself, the Christian response to postmodernism will be muted by the surrounding culture or will make illicit compromises with the truth-impoverished spirit of the age. The good news is that truth is still truth, that it provides a backbone for witness and ministry in postmodern times, and that God's truth will never fail.
I sit on the steps in the heat of the sun and listen as one by one these car alarms extinguish themselves until once more only the muted roar of the city is audible, and the city, bathed in sunlight, once again resumes dreaming its collective dream. Cars roll down the city's roads, plants grow from its soil, wealth is generated in its rooms, hope is created and lost and recreated in the minds and souls of its inhabitants, and the city continues its dream and searches for those ideas that will make it strong.
Because mothers make us, because they map our emotional terrain before we even know we are capable of having an emotional terrain, they know just where to stick the dynamite. With a few small power plays - a skeptical comment, the withholding of approval or praise - a mother can devastate a daughter. Decades of subtle undermining can stunt a daughter, or so monopolize her energy that she in effect stunts herself. Muted, fearful, riddled with self-doubt, she can remain trapped in daughterhood forever, the one place she feels confident she knows the rules.
With ferocity and extraordinary craft, Lizzie Harris has made a book of poems that resonates far beyond the personal stories it tells. Stop Wanting reveals, in every lyric, its author's profound metaphorical gifts. In its ironies and intensities, it brings to mind a writer like the young Sylvia Plath, though what is startling about Harris' s work is the way it combines those gifts with a muted, deft self-awareness. Most of all, these are wonderfully shaped, powerful, and surprising poems-a startling debut.
She quickly realized she had an affinity for the older books and their muted scents of past dinners and foreign countries, the tea and chocolate stains coloring the phrases. You could never be certain what you would find in a book that has spent time with someone else. As she has rifled through the pages looking for defects, she had discovered an entrance ticket to Giverny, a receipt for thirteen bottles of champagne, a to-do list that included, along with groceries and dry cleaning, the simple reminder, 'buy a gun.' Bits of life tucked like stowaways in between the chapters. Sometimes she couldn't decide which story she was most drawn to.
People in coats and ties were milling around the Talley gallery, and on the wall were the minimally rendered still lifes by Giorgio Morandi, most of them no bigger than a tea tray. Their thin browns, ashy grays, and muted blues made people speak softly to one another, as if a shouted word might curdle one of the paintings and ruin it. Bottles, carafes, and ceramic whatnots sat in his paintings like small animals huddling for warmth, and these shy pictures could easily hang next to a Picasso or Matisse without feeling inferior.
The will to truth is enshrined in the mind. It is undeniable, inescapable, mutable only if one's humanity itself is rejected, itself muted. Yet the form of this truth, whether it be elaborate, simple, exclusive and regulatory or comprehensive and positive... this is a matter of aesthetics, taste... It is all inherently meaningless, the puzzle just as much as the pieces themselves, ephemeral. Yet more than this it is concrete, eternal, heavy and inescapable, a preponderous amalgam of things small and large, the actuality of which is imminent, the meaning of which is too great to acknowledge, let alone comprehend. So we tell stories. We read stories, write them, consider them and like them, or not. Simply ways, simple ways, to limit the All to that which can be understood.
The steel door of the incinerator went up and the muted hum of the eternal fire became a red roaring. The heat lunged out at them like a famished beast. Then Rahel's Ammu was fed to it. Her hair, her skin, her smile. Her voice. They way she used Kipling to love her children before putting them to bed: We be of one blood, though and I. Her goodnight kiss. The way she held their faces steady with one hand (squashed-cheeked, fish-mouthed) while she parted and combed their hair with the other. The way she held knickers out for Rahel to climb into. Left leg, right leg. All this was fed to the beast, and it was satisfied. She was their Ammu and their Baba and she had loved them Double.
The abiding western dominology can with religion sanction identify anything dark, profound, or fluid with a revolting chaos, an evil to be mastered, a nothing to be ignored. 'God had made us master organizers of the world to establish system where chaos reigns. He has made us adept in government that we may administer government among savages and senile peoples.' From the vantage point of the colonizing episteme, the evil is always disorder rather than unjust order; anarchy rather than control, darkness rather than pallor. To plead otherwise is to write 'carte blanche for chaos.' Yet those who wear the mark of chaos, the skins of darkness, the genders of unspeakable openings - those Others of Order keep finding voice. But they continue to be muted by the bellowing of the dominant discourse.
For if in careless summer days In groves of Ashtaroth we whored, Repentant now, when winds blow cold, We kneel before our rightful lord; The lord of all, the money-god, Who rules us blood and hand and brain, Who gives the roof that stops the wind, And, giving, takes away again; Who spies with jealous, watchful care, Our thoughts, our dreams, our secret ways, Who picks our words and cuts our clothes, And maps the pattern of our days; Who chills our anger, curbs our hope, And buys our lives and pays with toys, Who claims as tribute broken faith, Accepted insults, muted joys; Who binds with chains the poet's wit, The navvy's strength, the soldier's pride, And lays the sleek, estranging shield Between the lover and his bride.
Carroll was eleven years old when he saw The Haunting in The Oregon Theater. He had gone with his cousins, but when the lights went down, his companions were swallowed by the dark and Carroll found himself essentially alone, shut tight into his own suffocating cabinet of shadows. At times, it required all his will not to hide his eyes, yet his insides churned with a nervous-sick frisson of pleasure. When the lights finally came up, his nerve endings were ringing, as if he had for a moment grabbed a copper wire with live current in it. It was a sensation for which he had developed a compulsion. Later, when he was a professional and it was his business, his feelings were more muted - not gone, but experienced distantly, more like the memory of an emotion than the thing itself. More recently, even the memory had fled, and in its place was a deadening amnesia, a numb disinterest when he looked at the piles of magazines on his coffee table. Or no - he was overcome with dread, but the wrong kind of dread. ("Best New Horror")
8 April 1891 The obscenity of nostrils and mouths; the ignominious cupidity of smiles and women encountered in the street; the shifty baseness on every side, as of hyenas and wild beasts ready to bite: tradesmen in their shops and strollers on their pavements. How long must I suffer this? I have suffered it before, as a child, when, descending by chance to the servant's quarters, I overheard in astonishment their vile gossip, tearing up my own kind with their lovely teeth. This hostility to the entire race, this muted detestation of lynxes in human form, I must have rediscovered it later while at school. I had a repugnance and horror for all base instincts, but am I not myself instinctively violent and lewd, murderous and sensual? Am I any different, in essence, from the members of the riotous and murderous mob of a hundred years ago, who hurled the town sergeants into the Seine and cried, 'String up the aristos!' just as they shout 'Down with the army!' or 'Death to the Jews!
Some people think mental illness is a matter of mood, a matter of personality. They think depression is simply a form of being sad, that OCD is a form of being uptight. They think the soul is sick, not the body. It is, they believe, something that you have some choice over. I know how wrong this is. When I was a child, I didn't understand. I would wake up in a new body and wouldn't comprehend why things felt muted, dimmer. Or the opposite-I'd be supercharged, unfocused, like a radio at top volume flipping quickly from station to station. Since I didn't have access to the body's emotions, I assumed the ones I was feeling were my own. Eventually, though, I realized these inclinations, these compulsions, were as much a part of the body as its eye color or its voice. Yes, the feelings themselves were intangible, amorphous, but the cause of the feelings was a matter of chemistry, biology. It is a hard cycle to conquer. The body is working against you. And because of this, you feel even more despair. Which only amplifies the imbalance. It takes uncommon strength to live with these things. But I have seen that strength over and over again.
The city which lay below was a charnel house built on multi-layered bones centuries older than those which lay beneath the cities of Hamburg or Dresden. Was this knowledge part of the mystery it held for her, a mystery felt most strongly on a bell-chimed Sunday on her solitary exploration of its hidden alleys and squares? Time had fascinated her from childhood, its apparent power to move at different speeds, the dissolution it wrought on minds and bodies, her sense that each moment, all moments past and those to come, were fused into an illusory present which with every breath became the unalterable, indestructible past. In the City of London these moments were caught and solidified in stone and brick, in churches and monuments and in bridges which spanned the grey-brown ever-flowing Thames. She would walk out in spring or summer as early as six o'clock, double-locking the front door behind her, stepping into a silence more profound and mysterious than the absence of noise. Sometimes in this solitary perambulation it seenmed that her own footsteps were muted, as if some part of her were afraid to waken the dead who had walked thse streets and had known the same silence.
Silence is another element we find in classic fairy tales - girls muted by magic or sworn to silence in order to break enchantment. In "The Wild Swans, " a princess is imprisoned by her stepmother, rolled in filth, then banished from home (as her older brothers had been before her). She goes in search of her missing brothers, discovers that they've been turned into swans, whereupon the young girl vows to find a way to break the spell. A mysterious woman comes to her in a dream and tells her what to do: 'Pick the nettles that grow in graveyards, crush and spin them into thread, then weave them into coats and throw them over your brothers' backs.' The nettles burn and blister, yet she never falters: picking, spinning, weaving, working with wounded, crippled hands, determined to save her brothers. All this time she's silent. 'You must not speak, ' the dream woman has warned, 'for a single world will be like a knife plunged into your brothers' hearts.' You must not speak. That's what my stepfather said: don't speak, don't cry, don't tell. That's what my mother said as well, as we sat in hospital waiting rooms - and I obeyed, as did my brothers. We sat as still and silent as stone while my mother spun false tales to explain each break and bruise and burn. Our family moved just often enough that her stories were fresh and plausible; each new doctor believed her, and chided us children to be more careful. I never contradicted those tales. I wouldn't have dared, or wanted to. They'd send me into foster care. They'd send my young brothers away. And so we sat, and the unspoken truth was as sharp as the point of a knife.
And it was in that moment of distress and confusion that the whip of terror laid its most nicely calculated lash about his heart. It dropped with deadly effect upon the sorest spot of all, completely unnerving him. He had been secretly dreading all the time that it would come - and come it did. Far overhead, muted by great height and distance, strangely thinned and wailing, he heard the crying voice of Defago, the guide. The sound dropped upon him out of that still, wintry sky with an effect of dismay and terror unsurpassed. The rifle fell to his feet. He stood motionless an instant, listening as it were with his whole body, then staggered back against the nearest tree for support, disorganized hopelessly in mind and spirit. To him, in that moment, it seemed the most shattering and dislocating experience he had ever known, so that his heart emptied itself of all feeling whatsoever as by a sudden draught. 'Oh! oh! This fiery height! Oh, my feet of fire! My burning feet of fire... ' ran in far, beseeching accents of indescribable appeal this voice of anguish down the sky. Once it called - then silence through all the listening wilderness of trees. And Simpson, scarcely knowing what he did, presently found himself running wildly to and fro, searching, calling, tripping over roots and boulders, and flinging himself in a frenzy of undirected pursuit after the Caller. Behind the screen of memory and emotion with which experience veils events, he plunged, distracted and half-deranged, picking up false lights like a ship at sea, terror in his eyes and heart and soul. For the Panic of the Wilderness had called to him in that far voice - the Power of untamed Distance - the Enticement of the Desolation that destroys. He knew in that moment all the pains of someone hopelessly and irretrievably lost, suffering the lust and travail of a soul in the final Loneliness. A vision of Defago, eternally hunted, driven and pursued across the skyey vastness of those ancient forests fled like a flame across the dark ruin of his thoughts... It seemed ages before he could find anything in the chaos of his disorganized sensations to which he could anchor himself steady for a moment, and think... The cry was not repeated; his own hoarse calling brought no response; the inscrutable forces of the Wild had summoned their victim beyond recall - and held him fast. ("The Wendigo")
LITTLE BOY WAR He stands alone On a vacant road, Hands shaking from the cold. His heart is aching from the untold. Under his right arm Is a tattered bag, Which he holds tightly As if it were filled with gold. He's just six, Going on seven. And it's past ten, Going on eleven. He takes another toke From his cowboy smoke, And wishes he too Could have died with his brother And taken the ride to Heaven. His tummy rumbles and grumbles. He feels faint and tries hard not to stumble. His eyes scream with muted cries, Too loud for his tired soul to conjure enough energy To even mumble. Little kid scared, Alone in the middle of a war zone somewhere, Past curfew and without a clue As to what to do or to go where. He is just standing there with A shark's glazed and Lifeless stare. And yet, His eyes reveal a whirlpool of disaster, Just another tragic kid Who can't help growing up any faster. The streets are dark and it's just him, Standing in the shadow of a blinking ATM. He now thinks of his worn mother, And how she once took his torn shirt And lovingly sewn its hem back together. He never understood Why she had always told him: 'Buckle your sandals!' She used to call, 'Buckle them good So you walk right and Stand taller than them all!' So why did he feel so small? And why does he feel like he's about to fall? He kicks his little sandals At the sand Trying to understand What Uncle Sam And his freedom plan Had done to his once beautiful land. Babylon is crashing. In front of him, memories are flashing - Rubble, ash, blood, and dust, An empire once fueled with beauty and gust Now buried under artillery, bones, and rust. In the corner of his eye, He sees a tank suddenly appear He tries to focus on its lights Like a lost and rampant deer Then that chilling electric sound Cuts and pierces through his ears The tank stops. A lady emerges from its top, And examines the boy and sneers. She asks him what he is doing outside by himself And warns him that there are now new rules That all must adhere. But Little Boy War Glares without A drip of fear. He swings his precious bag high up in the air And cries: 'I'm not alone! Look! My mother is in here!' I watched from a distance Then turn away to disappear My heart felt like a cold rock And I couldn't control my tears. Behind my back And in my mind The little boy's Words echo forever So loud And clear: 'In here and always near. Her hands and heart are right here!