life

You will remember when a bird crashed through the window and fell to the floor. You will remember, those of you who were there, how it jerked its wings before dying, and left a spot of blood on the floor after it was removed. But who among you was first to notice the negative bird it left in the window? Who first saw the shadow that the bird left behind, the shadow that drew blood from any finger that dared to trace it, the shadow that was better proof of the bird’s existence than the bird ever was?

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Try to live so that you can always tell the truth.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

Every widow wakes one morning, perhaps after years of pure and unwavering grieving, to realize she slept a good night’s sleep, and will be able to eat breakfast, and doesn’t hear her husband’s ghost all the time, but only some of the time. Her grief is replaced with a useful sadness. Every parent who loses a child finds a way to laugh again. The timbre begins to fade. The edge dulls. The hurt lessens. Every love is carved from loss. Mine was. Yours is. Your great-great-great-grandchildren’s will be. But we learn to live in that love.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

The bruises go away, and so does how you hate, and so does the feeling that everything you receive from life is something you have earned.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

It’s true, I am afraid of dying. I am afraid of the world moving forward without me, of my absence going unnoticed, or worse, being some natural force propelling life on. Is it selfish? Am I such a bad person for dreaming of a world that ends when I do? I don’t mean the world ending with respect to me, but every set of eyes closing with mine.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

I don’t think that there are any limits to how excellent we could make life seem.

Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated

We will never cease our critique of those persons who distort the past, rewrite it, falsify it, who exaggerate the importance of one event and fail to mention some other; such a critique is proper (it cannot fail to be), but it doesn’t count for much unless a more basic critique precedes it: a critique of human memory as such. For after all, what can memory actually do, the poor thing? It is only capable of retaining a paltry little scrap of the past, and no one knows why just this scrap and not some other one, since in each of us the choice occurs mysteriously, outside our will or our interests. We won’t understand a thing about human life if we persist in avoiding the most obvious fact: that a reality no longer is what it was when it was; it cannot be reconstructed. Even the most voluminous archives cannot help.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

To die; to decide to die; that’s much easier for an adolescent than for an adult. What? Doesn’t death strip an adolescent of a far larger portion of future? Certainly it does, but for a young person, the future is a remote, abstract, unreal thing he doesn’t really believe in.

Milan Kundera, Ignorance

They could not truly look dead, because they did not ever look alive.

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely convinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock-solid, unshakeably certain, that I was the most important thing in creation. There was nothing that was more important to me than I was.

Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

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