Nothing which is at all times and in every way agreeable to us can have objective reality. It is of the very nature of the real that it should have sharp corners and rough edges, that it should be resistant, should be itself. Dream-furniture is the only kind on which you never stub your toes or bang your knee.
C. S. Lewis
When I was a kid just starting out on the radio, I would always watch people. And I'd see the interest they'd have in trying to get a photo with an artist or get a ticket stub signed. I guess, to me, that's the ultimate thing - to know that what you've done is important enough to other people that they want to take a picture with you.
She said that you-" "I don't care what she said." I stand up. "Everyone lies." "Hey, " he says softly. "It's just a code." "No. Everyone lies." I stub the cigarette out. "It's just another language you have to learn." Then he delicately adds, "I think you need some coffee, dude." Pause. "Why are you so angry?
Bret Easton Ellis
Hope is that tiny light that the gods have given us so that we can find our way through our darkest hours. And while we might stub our toes and bruise our knees, if we keep moving forward, even when our progress is slow and painful, we will overcome and be made better by our journey. ... No misery or bad situation is ever infinite or final until we make a conscious decision for it to be so.
Every lord's mansion stands on the foundation of your bones, soldier, every field has been saturated with your sweat, and you, peasant, even if you worked your arms down to the stub, if you won a hundred battles, and faithfully gave the last drop of your blood for your country, you would always be a slave. There is no land for you, no heaven, no shelter, not even a doghouse where you could rest your poor head. You are the last before God and before people, the last one.
Wladyslaw Stanislaw Reymont
Your youth is the most important thing you will ever have. It's when you will connect to music like a primal urge, and the memories attached to the songs will never leave you. Please hold on to everything. Keep every note, mix tape, concert ticket stub, and memory you have of music from your youth. It'll be the one thing that might keep you young, even if you aren't anymore.
[Elephants] are less agile and physically less adaptable than ourselves - Nature having developed their bodies in one direction and their brains in another, while human beings, on the other hand, drew from Mr. Darwin's lottery of evolution both the winning ticket and the stub to match it. This, I suppose, is why we are so wonderful and can make movies and electric razors and wireless sets - and guns with which to shoot the elephant, the hare, clay pigeons, and each other.
And then came the three-toed sloth. Stupid sloth. It was a crazy-looking beastie, all arms and bristling grey fur; its body was a blob, the kind of shape a six-year-old would draw for a pig, and its face was flattened like a racoon that had run full tilt into a brick wall. A triangular stub of a nose jutted out at an angle beneath a fringe that must have been difficult to see through. In fact, from side-on it looked disturbingly like John Lennon.
Tony James Slater
If you had to pack your whole life into a suitcase-not just the practical things, like clothing, but the memories of the people you had lost and the girl you had once been-what would you take? The last photograph you had of your mother? A birthday gift from your best friend-a bookmark embroidered by her? A ticket stub from the traveling circus that had come through town two years ago, where you and your father held your breath as jeweled ladies flew through the air, and a brave man stuck his head in the mouth of a lion? Would you take them to make wherever you were going feel like home, or because you needed to remember where you had come from?
In my mind, I gave the woman gifts. I gave her a candle stub. I gave her a box of wooden kitchen matches. I gave her a cake of Lifebuoy soap. I gave her a ceilingful of glow-in-the-dark planets. I gave her a bald baby doll. I gave her a ripe fig, sweet as new wood, and a milkdrop from its stem. I gave her a peppermint puff. I gave her a bouquet of four roses. I gave her fat earthworms for her grave. I gave her a fish from Roebuck Lake, a vial of my sweat for it to swim in.
About the library, " he whispered. He took out the pencil stub from his pocket and poised it over the page. "Will you write like Mr. Blake or like yourself?" I inquired. He wrote and whispered the words aloud as he did. "I am in the library. It smells like old stuff." "It smells familiar, " I suggested. "It smells like words." Because his left side was to me, I couldn't easily take his hand to write. "Books are boring, " James said as he wrote. "They line the walls like a thousand leather doorways to be opened into worlds unknown, " I offered. He thought about this and then wrote with a smile, "I hate books.
Yet in recent years I have witnessed a new phenomenon among filmgoers, especially those considered intelligent and perceptive. I have a name for this phenomenon: the Instant White-out. People are closeted in cozy darkness; they turn off their mobile phones and willingly give themselves, for ninety minutes or two hours, to a new film that got a fourstar rating in the newspaper. They follow the pictures and the plot, understand what is spoken either in the original tongue or via dubbing or subtitles, enjoy lush locations and clever scenes, and even if they find the story superficial or preposterous, it is not enough to pry them from their seats and make them leave the theatre in the middle of the show. But something strange happens. After a short while, a week or two, sometimes even less, the film is whitened out, erased, as if it never happened. They can't remember its name, or who the actors were, or the plot. The movie fades into the darkness of the movie house, and what remains is at most a ticket stub left accidentally in one's pocket.
Abraham B. Yehoshua
What about you, Snipes?" Dunbar asked. "You think there to be mountain lions up here or is it just folks' imaginings?" Snipes pondered the question a few moments before speaking. They's many a man of science would claim there aint because you got no irredeemable evidence like panther scat or fur or tooth or tail. In other words, some part of the animal in questions. Or better yet having the actual critter itself, the whole think kit and caboodle head to tail, which all your men of science argue is the best proof of all a thing exists, whether it be a panther, or a bird, or even a dinosaur." To put it another way, if you was to stub your toe and tell the man of science what happened he'd not believe a word of it less he could see how it'd stoved up or was bleeding. But your philosophers and theologians and such say there's things in the world that's every bit as real even though you can't see them.' Like what?' Dunbar asked. Well,' Snipes said. 'They's love, that's one. And courage. You can't see neither of them, but they're real. And air, of course. That's one of your most important examples. You wouldn't be alive a minute if there wasn't air, but nobody's ever seen a single speck of it.' ... 'All I'm saying is there is a lot more to this old world than meets the eye.' ... 'And darkness. You can't see it no more than you can see air, but when its all around you sure enough know it.' (Serena, 65-66)
It doesn't happen to me anymore, because a fresh generation of Africans and Asians has arisen to take over the business, but in my early years in Washington, D.C., I would often find myself in the back of a big beat-up old cab driven by an African-American veteran. I became used to the formalities of the mise-en-sce¨ne: on some hot and drowsy Dixie-like afternoon I would flag down a flaking Chevy. Behind the wheel, leaning wa-aay back and relaxed, often with a cigar stub in the corner of his mouth (and, I am not making this up, but sometimes also with a genuine porkpie hat on the back of his head) would be a grizzled man with the waist of his pants somewhere up around his armpits. I would state my desired destination. In accordance with ancient cabdriver custom, he would say nothing inresponse but simply engage the stickshift on his steering wheel and begin to cruise in a leisurely fashion. There would be a pause. Then: 'You from England?' I would always try to say something along the lines of 'Well, I'm in no position to deny it.' This occasionally got me a grin; in any case, I always knew what was coming next. 'I was there once.' 'Were you in the service?' 'I sure was.' 'Did you get to Normandy?' 'Yes, sir.' But it wasn't Normandy or combat about which they wanted to reminisce. (With real combat veterans, by the way, it almost never is.) It was England itself. 'Man did it know how to rain... and the warm beer. Nice people, though. Real nice.' I would never forget to say, as I got out and deliberately didn't overtip (that seeming a cheap thing to do), how much this effort on their part was remembered and appreciated.
If peace comes from seeing the whole, then misery stems from a loss of perspective. We begin so aware and grateful. The sun somehow hangs there in the sky. The little bird sings. The miracle of life just happens. Then we stub our toe, and in that moment of pain, the whole world is reduced to our poor little toe. Now, for a day or two, it is difficult to walk. With every step, we are reminded of our poor little toe. Our vigilance becomes: Which defines our day-the pinch we feel in walking on a bruised toe, or the miracle still happening? It is the giving over to smallness that opens us to misery. In truth, we begin taking nothing for granted, grateful that we have enough to eat, that we are well enough to eat. But somehow, through the living of our days, our focus narrows like a camera that shutters down, cropping out the horizon, and one day we're miffed at a diner because the eggs are runny or the hash isn't seasoned just the way we like. When we narrow our focus, the problem seems everything. We forget when we were lonely, dreaming of a partner. We forget first beholding the beauty of another. We forget the comfort of first being seen and held and heard. When our view shuts down, we're up in the night annoyed by the way our lover pulls the covers or leaves the dishes in the sink without soaking them first. In actuality, misery is a moment of suffering allowed to become everything. So, when feeling miserable, we must look wider than what hurts. When feeling a splinter, we must, while trying to remove it, remember there is a body that is not splinter, and a spirit that is not splinter, and a world that is not splinter.
Traveling on, the shaft of his light reached now a great, dully shining oblong, and he stopped, surprised. Then, through the glass sides, he saw bright shapes of fish wheel in schools down the opaque water, startled by the illumination. Coming at last, and so suddenly, on life like his own, Mr. Lecky moved closer. The fixed flood of his light enveloped these small fish dimly, glowed back on him. They came sliding, drifting, mouths in motion, gills rippling, up the light, against the glass. Their senseless round eyes stared at Mr. Lecky. Idling with great grace, the extravagant products of selective breeding - fringetails, Korean, calico - passed, swayed about, came languidly back. Moving faster, stub-finned, crop-tailed danios from the Malabar coast appeared, hovered, taking the light on their fat flanks, now spotted, now iridescent pearl or opal. Seeing so many of them, so eager and attentive, Mr. Lecky felt an unexpected compunction. He was their only proprietor; and soon, trapped unnaturally here in the big tank, they would starve to death. His light went back to a counter he had just passed, showing him again the half-noticed packages - food for birds and pet animals, food, too, for fish. Returning to the tank, his light found many of the fish still waiting, the rest rushing back. He went and took a package, tore the top off, and poured the contents onto the rectangle of open water. It would perhaps postpone the time when, having eaten each other, the sick remainder must die anyway.
James Gould Cozzens
Honest to God, I hadn't meant to start a bar fight. 'So. You're the famous Jordan Amador.' The demon sitting in front of me looked like someone filled a pig bladder with rotten cottage cheese. He overflowed the bar stool with his gelatinous stomach, just barely contained by a white dress shirt and an oversized leather jacket. Acid-washed jeans clung to his stumpy legs and his boots were at least twice the size of mine. His beady black eyes started at my ankles and dragged upward, past my dark jeans, across my black turtleneck sweater, and over the grey duster around me that was two sizes too big. He finally met my gaze and snorted before continuing. 'I was expecting something different. Certainly not a black girl. What's with the name, girlie?' I shrugged. 'My mother was a religious woman.' 'Clearly, ' the demon said, tucking a fat cigar in one corner of his mouth. He stood up and walked over to the pool table beside him where he and five of his lackeys had gathered. Each of them was over six feet tall and were all muscle where he was all fat. 'I could start to examine the literary significance of your name, or I could ask what the hell you're doing in my bar, ' he said after knocking one of the balls into the left corner pocket. 'Just here to ask a question, that's all. I don't want trouble.' Again, he snorted, but this time smoke shot from his nostrils, which made him look like an albino dragon. 'My ass you don't. This place is for fallen angels only, sweetheart. And we know your reputation.' I held up my hands in supplication. 'Honest Abe. Just one question and I'm out of your hair forever.' My gaze lifted to the bald spot at the top of his head surrounded by peroxide blonde locks. 'What's left of it, anyway.' He glared at me. I smiled, batting my eyelashes. He tapped his fingers against the pool cue and then shrugged one shoulder. 'Fine. What's your question?' 'Know anybody by the name of Matthias Gruber?' He didn't even blink. 'No.' 'Ah. I see. Sorry to have wasted your time.' I turned around, walking back through the bar. I kept a quick, confident stride as I went, ignoring the whispers of the fallen angels in my wake. A couple called out to me, asking if I'd let them have a taste, but I didn't spare them a glance. Instead, I headed to the ladies' room. Thankfully, it was empty, so I whipped out my phone and dialed the first number in my Recent Call list. 'Hey. He's here. Yeah, I'm sure it's him. They're lousy liars when they're drunk. Uh-huh. Okay, see you in five.' I hung up and let out a slow breath. Only a couple things left to do. I gathered my shoulder-length black hair into a high ponytail. I looped the loose curls around into a messy bun and made sure they wouldn't tumble free if I shook my head too hard. I took the leather gloves in the pocket of my duster out and pulled them on. Then, I walked out of the bathroom and back to the front entrance. The coat-check girl gave me a second unfriendly look as I returned with my ticket stub to retrieve my things-three vials of holy water, a black rosary with the beads made of onyx and the cross made of wood, a Smith and Wesson.9mm Glock complete with a full magazine of blessed bullets and a silencer, and a worn out page of the Bible. I held out my hands for the items and she dropped them on the counter with an unapologetic, 'Oops.' 'Thanks, ' I said with a roll of my eyes. I put the Glock back in the hip holster at my side and tucked the rest of the items in the pockets of my duster. The brunette demon crossed her arms under her hilariously oversized fake breasts and sent me a vicious sneer. 'The door is that way, Seer. Don't let it hit you on the way out.' I smiled back. 'God bless you.' She let out an ugly hiss between her pearly white teeth. I blew her a kiss and walked out the door. The parking lot was packed outside now that it was half-past midnight. Demons thrived in darkness, so I wasn't surprised. In fact, I'd been counting on it.