Success is as dangerous as failure. Hope is as hollow as fear. What does it mean that success is a dangerous as failure? Whether you go up the ladder or down it, you position is shaky. When you stand with your two feet on the ground, you will always keep your balance. What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear? Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don't see the self as self, what do we have to fear? See the world as your self. Have faith in the way things are. Love the world as your self; then you can care for all things.
It's a strange feeling, when you hear a good piece of music. It starts out kind of shaky, this hot, heavy knot in your chest. At first it's tiny, like a spot of light in a dark room, but then it builds, pouring through you. And the next thing you know, everything from your forehead down to your fingers and toes is on fire. You feel like the hot, heavy knot in your chest is turning into a bubble. It's full of everything good in the world, and if you don't do something-if you don't run or dance or shout to everyone in the world about this music you've just heard-it'll explode.
After a fairly shaky start to the day, Arthur's mind was beginning to reassemble itself from the shell-shocked fragments the previous day had left him with. He had found a Nutri-Matic machine which had provided him with a plastic cup filled with a liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea. The way it functioned was very interesting. When the Drink button was pressed it made an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject's taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject's metabolism and then sent tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centers of the subject's brain to see what was likely to go down well. However, no one knew quite why it did this because it invariably delivered a cupful of liquid that was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.
Do you think there's somewhere else, some other place to go after this one?' Mandy blurted out. 'You mean when you die, where will you end up?' Alecto asked her. '... I wouldn't know... back to whatever void there is, I suppose.' 'I've thought about it... every living thing dies alone, it'll be lonely after death, ' Mandy sighed sadly. 'That freaks me out, does it scare you?' 'I don't want to be alone, ' Alecto replied wearily. 'We won't be, though. We'll be dead, so we'll just be darkness, not much else, just memories, nostalgia and darkness.' 'I don't want to be any of that either though, ' Mandy exclaimed, bursting into tears and crying, keeping her eyes to the floor, her voice shaky as she spoke to him. 'When we die, we'll still be nothing, the world will still be nothing, everything'll just be nothing!' 'You're real though, at least that's something, ' Alecto pointed out, holding his hand out in front of her. Smiling miserably, Mandy took his hand in her own and sat there beside him quietly.
I mean, by such flightiness, something that feels unsatisfied at the center of my life - that makes me shaky, fickle, inquisitive, and hungry. I could call it a longing for home and not be far wrong. Or I could call it a longing for whatever supersedes, if it cannot pass through, understanding. Other words that come to mind: faith, grace, rest. In my outward appearance and life habits I hardly change - there's never been a day that my friends haven't been able to say, and at a distance, 'There's Oliver, still standing around in the weeds. There she is, still scribbling in her notebook.' But, at the center: I am shaking; I am flashing like tinsel. Restless. I read about ideas. Yet I let them remain ideas. I read about the poet who threw his books away, the better to come to a spiritual completion. Yet I keep my books. I flutter; I am attentive, maybe I even rise a little, balancing; then I fall back.
Quote from MOONLIGHT MAYHEM - pg 224 'Hero Intercedes': His hands flickered upward, and before I knew it, they were cupping my face. So, damnably fast now. Demonic-like fast. Trent reeled me closer. Our foreheads joined. He held me, while I trembled in his arms. I was vaguely aware of Evans and Maxwell watching, although it didn't seem important. Nothing seemed important whenever he did this. It felt like we were enclosed in our own personal bubble made only for the two of us. Trent murmured something in my ear. We stood like that until my shaky legs gradually regained strength. I shut my eyes and pretended my body wasn't sizzling with heat-lightning because Trent stood so close. My hormones always decided to rebel whenever he put his arms around me. And it wasn't totally awkward and uncomfortable. No, it felt like the best thing I'd experienced since before Dad's death. And that's saying a lot.
If you'll kiss me back, " he whispered huskily, brushing his lips along the curve of her jaw, "I'll make it six million. If you'll go to bed with me tonight, " he continued, losing himself in the scent of her perfume and the softness of her skin, "I'll give you the world. But if you'll move in with me, " he continued, dragging his mouth across her cheek to the corner of her lips, "I'll do much better than that." Unable to turn her face farther because his arm was in the way, and unable to turn her body because his body was in the way, Meredith tried to infuse disdain in her voice and simultaneously ignore the arousing touch of his tongue against her ear. "Six million dollars and the whole world!" she said in a slightly shaky voice. "What else could you possibly give me if I move in with you?" "Paradise." Lifting his head, Matt took her chin between his thumb and forefinger and forced her to meet his gaze. In an aching, solemn voice he said, "I'll give you paradise on a gold platter. Anything you want- everything you want. I come with it, of course. It's a package deal." Meredith wallowed audibly, mesmerized by the melting look in his silver eyes and the rich timbre of his deep voice. "We'll be a family, " he continued, describing the paradise he was offering while he bent his head to her again. "We'll have children... I'd like six, " he teased, his lips against her temple. "But I'll settle for one. You don't have to decide now." She drew in a ragged breath and Matt decided he'd pushed matters as far as he dared for one night. Straightening abruptly, he chucked her under her chin. "Think about it, " he suggested with a grin.
MOTHER - By Ted Kooser Mid April already, and the wild plums bloom at the roadside, a lacy white against the exuberant, jubilant green of new grass and the dusty, fading black of burned-out ditches. No leaves, not yet, only the delicate, star-petaled blossoms, sweet with their timeless perfume. You have been gone a month today and have missed three rains and one nightlong watch for tornadoes. I sat in the cellar from six to eight while fat spring clouds went somersaulting, rumbling east. Then it poured, a storm that walked on legs of lightning, dragging its shaggy belly over the fields. The meadowlarks are back, and the finches are turning from green to gold. Those same two geese have come to the pond again this year, honking in over the trees and splashing down. They never nest, but stay a week or two then leave. The peonies are up, the red sprouts, burning in circles like birthday candles, for this is the month of my birth, as you know, the best month to be born in, thanks to you, everything ready to burst with living. There will be no more new flannel nightshirts sewn on your old black Singer, no birthday card addressed in a shaky but businesslike hand. You asked me if I would be sad when it happened and I am sad. But the iris I moved from your house now hold in the dusty dry fists of their roots green knives and forks as if waiting for dinner, as if spring were a feast. I thank you for that. Were it not for the way you taught me to look at the world, to see the life at play in everything, I would have to be lonely forever.
Take this message to your people, you obsequious little worm, ' I murmured. 'Anyone who lays a hand on Jordan Amador will have to answer to me. Now do me a favor and go to hell.' I removed my sword from his hand and then decapitated him. His severed head tumbled across the floor like a wayward bowling ball. Good riddance. I set my sword aside, found a stool in the corner, and climbed up in front of Jordan. Her handcuffs were attached to a huge meat hook bolted into the ceiling. I lifted her off of it with great care, unsure if she had the strength to stand. As soon as her arms were free, she looped them around my shoulders and pressed her face against my neck. She was trembling, but not crying. I sank to the floor and cradled her in my lap, breathing out the last of my anger now that she was safe. ''M sorry, ' she mumbled in a small voice. 'I'm so sorry, Michael.' I snorted. 'What the hell do you have to apologize for? You got kidnapped. Pretty sure that's not your fault.' She shook her head, her words partially muffled as she pressed her face against my shirt. 'Should've been stronger. I could've gotten you killed.' 'By Heckle and Jeckle here? Not likely.' A shaky laugh rattled through her. She slid her fingers into the hairs along the nape of my neck and hugged me tighter. I knew from experience she didn't want me to see her face because she knew she was only seconds away from breaking down. No one would ever accuse Jordan Amador of being a crybaby, not if she could help it. It was a ridiculous notion at best, but I indulged her anyway. 'Thank you.' 'Just doing my job. But you're welcome.' I smoothed the sweaty hairs away from her forehead enough to kiss it. She didn't move away. We stayed there for a while without speaking, just clinging to each other until we felt strong enough to separate.
Perception requires imagination because the data people encounter in their lives are never complete and always equivocal. For example, most people consider that the greatest evidence of an event one can obtain is to see it with their own eyes, and in a court of law little is held in more esteem than eyewitness testimony. Yet if you asked to display for a court a video of the same quality as the unprocessed data catptured on the retina of a human eye, the judge might wonder what you were tryig to put over. For one thing, the view will have a blind spot where the optic nerve attaches to the retina. Moreover, the only part of our field of vision with good resolution is a narrow area of about 1 degree of visual angle around the retina's center, an area the width of our thumb as it looks when held at arm's length. Outside that region, resolution drops off sharply. To compensate, we constantly move our eyes to bring the sharper region to bear on different portions of the scene we wish to observe. And so the pattern of raw data sent to the brain is a shaky, badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately the brain processes the data, combining input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. The result - at least until age, injury, disease, or an excess of mai tais takes its toll - is a happy human being suffering from the compelling illusion that his or her vision is sharp and clear. We also use our imagination and take shortcuts to fill gaps in patterns of nonvisual data. As with visual input, we draw conclusions and make judgments based on uncertain and incomplete information, and we conclude, when we are done analyzing the patterns, that out 'picture' is clear and accurate. But is it?
America is a leap of the imagination. From its beginning, people had only a persistent idea of what a good country should be. The idea involved freedom, equality, justice, and the pursuit of happiness; nowadays most of us probably could not describe it a lot more clearly than that. The truth is, it always has been a bit of a guess. No one has ever known for sure whether a country based on such an idea is really possible, but again and again, we have leaped toward the idea and hoped. What SuAnne Big Crow demonstrated in the Lead high school gym is that making the leap is the whole point. The idea does not truly live unless it is expressed by an act; the country does not live unless we make the leap from our tribe or focus group or gated community or demographic, and land on the shaky platform of that idea of a good country which all kinds of different people share. This leap is made in public, and it's made for free. It's not a product or a service that anyone will pay you for. You do it for reasons unexplainable by economics-for ambition, out of conviction, for the heck of it, in playfulness, for love. It's done in public spaces, face-to-face, where anyone is free to go. It's not done on television, on the Internet, or over the telephone; our electronic systems can only tell us if the leap made elsewhere has succeeded or failed. The places you'll see it are high school gyms, city sidewalks, the subway, bus stations, public parks, parking lots, and wherever people gather during natural disasters. In those places and others like them, the leaps that continue to invent and knit the country continue to be made. When the leap fails, it looks like the L.A. riots, or Sherman's March through Georgia. When it succeeds, it looks like the New York City Bicentennial Celebration in July 1976 or the Civil Rights March on Washington in 1963. On that scale, whether it succeeds or fails, it's always something to see. The leap requires physical presence and physical risk. But the payoff-in terms of dreams realized, of understanding, of people getting along-can be so glorious as to make the risk seem minuscule.