We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. —Henry James
It did not occur to Arthur that he should try to relieve her guilt or offer to share the blame. Nor did it occur to Eleanor that she had just repeated the mistake of all women since the beginning of time. She had not only forgiven a man his ways, but had taken responsibility for them as well. She closed her eyes and said goodbye to her female god. – from The Proposition (1998)
They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made… — F. Scott Fitzgerald
You can come share a tasty meal of bread, raisins, and fresh cheese. With that, and The Count of Monte Cristo, anyone can live to a hundred. — Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
I felt like lying down by the side of the trail and remembering it all. The woods do that to you, they always look familiar, long lost, like the face of a long-dead relative, like an old dream, like a piece of forgotten song drifting across the water, most of all like golden eternities of past childhood or past manhood and all the living and the dying and the heartbreak that went on a million years ago and the clouds as they pass overhead seem to testify (by their own lonesome familiarity) to this feeling. — Jack Kerouac
Because we don’t know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can’t even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps 20. And yet it all seems limitless. — Paul Bowles
I am pleased enough with the surfaces – in fact they alone seem to me to be of much importance. Such things for example as the grasp of a child’s hand in your own, the flavor of an apple, the embrace of a friend or lover, the silk of a girl’s thigh, the sunlight on the rock and leaves, the feel of music, the bark of a tree, the abrasion of granite and sand, the plunge of clear water into a pool, the face of the wind – what else is there? What else do we need? — Edward Abbey
Serves me right for putting all my eggs in one bastard. – Dorothy Parker
There is another physical law that teases me, too: the Doppler Effect. The sound of anything coming at you – a train, say, or the future – has a higher pitch than the sound of the same thing going away. If you have perfect pitch and a head for mathematics you can compute the speed of the object by the interval between its arriving and departing sounds. I have neither perfect pitch nor a head for mathematics, and anyway who wants to compute the speed of history? Like all falling bodies, it constantly accelerates. But I would like to hear your life as you heard it, coming at you, instead of hearing it as I do, a somber sound of expectations reduced, desires blunted, hopes deferred or abandoned, chances lost, defeats accepted, griefs borne. — Wallace Stegner
A thousand half-loves must be forsaken to take one whole heart home. – Rumi
The delicious breath of rain was in the air. — Kate Chopin
How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home. — William Faulkner
For after all, the best thing one can do when it is raining is let it rain. — Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Being a writer, in my experience, means putting up with an inner voice — a maker of sentences — that is always clamoring to be heard. More and more, I find myself listening for the moments when that voice lapses. After a dozen years on this farm, I can name most of the plants and nearly all the birds. But what’s the word for the wake the pileated woodpecker leaves as it dips, flying across the pasture? How can I imagine that land speaks in a language when I’m surrounded by animals whose wordless attention is at least as great as mine? All I can do is put a period to this sentence and hope I can live, for a while, in the pause that follows.
One thing: you have to walk, and create the way by your walking; you will not find a ready-made path. It is not so cheap, to reach to the ultimate realization of truth. You will have to create the path by walking yourself; the path is not ready-made, lying there and waiting for you. It is just like the sky: the birds fly, but they don’t leave any footprints. You cannot follow them; there are no footprints left behind. — Osho
The line of gray along the horizon is brighter now, and with the coming light I feel a certainty: that there is, despite our wild imaginings, only one life. The ghostly others, no matter how real they seem, no matter how badly we need them, are phantoms. The one life we’re left with is sufficient to fill and refill our imperfect hearts with joy, and then to shatter them. And it never, ever lets up. — Richard Russo, Bridge of Sighs
Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.
Our battered suitcases were piled on the sidewalk again; we had longer ways to go. But no matter, the road is life.
There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.
All he needed was a wheel in his hand and four on the road.
— all from Jack Kerouac, On the Road: The Original Scroll