"Fiction is a kind of compassion-generating machine that saves us from sloth. Is life kind or cruel? Yes, Literature answers. Are people good or bad? You bet, says Literature. But unlike other systems of knowing, Literature declines to eradicate one truth in favor of another; rather, it teaches us to abide with the fact that, in their own way, all things are true, and helps us, in the face of this terrifying knowledge, continually push ourselves in the direction of Open the Hell Up."
"I wanted to do something real American, about what it’s like to live in America around the millennium.” He continued, “There’s something particularly sad about it, something that doesn’t have very much to do with physical circumstances, or the economy, or any of the stuff that gets talked about in the news. It’s more like a stomach-level sadness. I see it in myself and my friends in different ways. It manifests itself as a kind of lostness. Whether it’s unique to our generation I really don’t know."
David Foster Wallace on his novel Infinite Jest
"This is what it’s like to be alive without you here: some fall out of the world. I fall back into what I was. Days go by when I do nothing but underline the damp edge of myself.
What I want is what I’ve always wanted. What I want is to be changed."
Mary Szybist, from “To Gabriela at the Donkey Sanctuary” (via renegadetongue)
"The primary challenges of the theatre should not always be getting people to give a shit about it. The primary challenge should be to produce plays that reach out to people and change their lives. Theatre is not an event, like a hayride or a junior prom—it’s an artistic, emotional experience in which people who have privately worked out their stories share them with a group of people who are, without their knowledge, their friends, their peers, their equals, their partners on a remarkable ride."
It was a sudden revelation, a tinge like a blush which one tried to check and then, as it spread, one yielded to its expansion, and rushed to the farthest verge and there quivered and felt the world come closer, swollen with some astonishing significance, some pressure of rapture, which split its thin skin and gushed and poured with an extraordinary alleviation over the cracks and sores! Then, for that moment, she had seen an illumination; a match burning in a crocus; an inner meaning almost expressed. But the close withdrew; the hard softened. It was over — the moment.
When something is festering in your memory or your imagination, laws of silence don’t work, it’s just like shutting a door and locking it on a hose on fire in hope of forgetting that the house is burning. But not facing a fire doesn’t put it out. Silence about a thing just magnifies it. It grows and festers in silence, becomes malignant…
All day the stars watch from long ago
my mother said I am going now
when you are alone you will be all right
whether or not you know you will know
look at the old house in the dawn rain
all the flowers are forms of water
the sun reminds them through a white cloud
touches the patchwork spread on the hill
the washed colors of the afterlife
that lived there long before you were born
see how they wake without a question
even though the whole world is burning
There many pages keep the impression
where a sharp nail has made a dent.
On these, with something like obsession,
the girl’s attentive eyes are bent.
Tatyana sees with trepidation
what kind of thought, what observation,
had drawn Eugene’s especial heed
and where he’d silently agreed.
Her eyes along the margin flitting
pursue his pencil. Everywhere
Onegin’s soul encountered there
declares itself in ways unwitting —
terse words or crosses in the book,
or else a query’s wondering hook.
And so, at last, feature by feature,
Tanya begins to understand
more thoroughly, thank God, the creature
for whom her passion has been planned
by fate’s decree: this freakish stranger,
who walks with sorrow, and with danger,
whether from heaven or from hell,
this angel, this proud devil, tell,
what is he? Just an apparition,
a shadow, null and meaningless,
a Muscovite in Harold’s dress,
a modish second-hand edition,
a glossary of smart argot…
a parodistic raree-show?