“Her skin, the night, the grass, to be outside and then to be inside Carmen. He doesn’t know to want for more because nothing in his life has been as much as this. At the very moment he could have been taking her away, he is pulling her closer. Her hair is tangled around his neck. On that night he thinks that no one has ever had so much and only later will he know that he should have asked for more. His fingers slip into the soft indentations between her ribs, the delicate gullies carved out by hunger. He feels her teeth, takes her tongue. Carmen, Carmen, Carmen, Carmen. In the future, he will try to say her name enough, but he never can.”—Bel Canto, Ann Patchett
“You’re a hopeless romantic,” said Faber. “It would be funny if it were not serious. It’s not books you need, it’s some of the things that once were in books. The same things could be in the ‘parlor families’ today. The same infinite detail and awareness could be projected through the radios, and televisors, but are not. No,no it’s not books at all you’re looking for! Take it where you can find it, in old phonograph records, old motion pictures, and in old friends; look for it in nature and look for it in yourself. Books were only one type or receptacle where we stored a lot of things we were afraid we might forget. There is nothing magical in them at all. The magic is only in what books say, how they stitched the patches of the universe together into one garment for us. Of course you couldn’t know this, of course you still can’t understand what i mean when i say all this. You are intuitively right, that’s what counts.”—Ray Bradbury
“Gazing at the rain, I consider what it means to belong, to become part of something. To have someone cry for me. From someplace distant, so very distant. From, ultimately, a dream. No matter how far I reach out, no matter how fast I run, I’ll never make it. Why would anyone want to cry for me?”—Dance, Dance, Dance by Haruki Murakami
“If I had to tell you how humans made their way to Earth, it would go like this: In the beginning, there was nothing at all but the moon and the sun. And the moon wanted to come out during the day, but there was something so much brighter that seemed to fill up all those hours. The moon grew hungry, thinner and thinner, until she was just a slice of herself, and her tips were as sharp as a knife. By accident, because that is the way most things happen, she poked a hole in the night and out spilled a million stars, like a fountain of tears. Horrified, the moon tried to swallow them up. And sometimes this worked, because she got fatter and rounder.. But mostly it didn’t, because there were just so many. The stars kept coming, until they made the sky so bright that the sun got jealous. He invited the stars to his side of the world, where it was always bright. What he didn’t tell them, though, was that in the daytime, they’d never be seen. So the stupid ones leaped from the sky to the ground, and they froze under the weight of their own foolishness. The moon did her best. She carved each of these blocks of sorrow into a man or a woman. She spent the rest of her time watching out so that her other stars wouldn’t fall. She spent the rest of her time holding onto whatever scraps she had left.”—Jodi Picoult
“Here I am, a bundle of past recollections and future dreams, knotted up in a reasonably attractive bundle of flesh. I remember what this flesh had gone through; I dream of what it may go through. I record here the actions of optical nerves, of taste buds, of sensory perception. And, I think: I am but one more drop in the great sea of matter, defined, with the ability to realize my existence.”—Sylvia Plath
I’ve figured it out, something that was never clear to me before—how all creation transposes itself out of the world deeper and deeper into our inner world, and why birds cast such a spell on this path into us. The bird’s nest is, in effect, an outer womb given by nature; the bird only furnishes it and covers it rather than containing the whole thing inside itself. As a result, birds are the animals whose feelings have a very special, intimate familiarity with the outer world; they know that they share with nature their innermost mystery. That is why the bird sings its songs into the world as though it were singing into it inner self, that’s why we take a birdsong into our own inner selves so easily, it seems to us that we translate it fully, with no remainder, into our feelings; a birdsong can even, for a moment, make the whole world into a sky within us, because we feel that the bird does not distinguish between its heart and the world’s.