I was the youngest and weepiest of the family…. My own view of myself was that I was small and innocuous, a marshmallow compared to the others. I was a poor shot with a .22, for instance, and not very good with an axe. It took me a long time to figure out that the youngest in a family of dragons is still a dragon from the point of view of those who find dragons alarming.
from Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing
by Margaret Atwood
(Cambridge University Press, 2002)
We shouldn’t expect that learning to be content should be any easier than, say, learning the violin - or require any less practice.
When all candles be out, all cats be grey.
John Heywood (1497-1580)
Our culture thrives on black-and-white narratives, clearly defined emotions, easy endings, and so, this thrust into complexity exhausts.
Black-and-white always looks modern, whatever that word means.
I grew up with the sea, and poverty for me was sumptuous; then I lost the sea and found all luxuries gray and poverty unbearable.
However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names… It looks poorest when you are richest.
…for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.
[How can anyone] be silly enough to think himself better than other people, because his clothes are made of finer woolen thread than theirs. After all, those fine clothes were once worn by a sheep, and they never turned it into anything better than a sheep.
I could not resist opening my present, as a parcel of any shape or form has never been safe with me and I fear that William has also picked up this dreadful habit from his mother, as I find wrapping paper undone in the most extraordinary places!
Princess Diana in a letter to Janet Filderman
December 14, 1985
"Loretta, I love you. Not like they told you love is, and I didn’t know this either, but love don’t make things nice - it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die.”
Cher and Nicolas Cage in Moonstruck
(dir. Norman Jewison, MGM 1987)
We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.
It is by universal misunderstanding that all agree. For if, by ill luck, people understood each other, they would never agree.
All photographs are accurate. None of them is the truth.
You’d talk about something heavy and she’d answer with a song—‘I’m singing in the rain’ or ‘Good morning heartache.’ She liked bubbles. We were nightclubbers—we wore bubbles so well.
Guy Cuevas on Wallis Franken