All of life is a foreign country.
There’s an old joke: Two elderly women are at a Catskill Mountain resort and one of them says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know, and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life.
Some vital impulse spared my needing to reiterate the world’s most frequent and pointless question in the face of disaster — Why? Why me? I never asked it; the only answer is, of course, Why not?
The only way into truth is through one’s own annihilation; through dwelling a long time in a state of extreme and total humiliation.
The unendurable is the beginning of the curve of joy.
Jane’s gift of an apple. The sweet apple I didn’t eat that day became the even sweeter apple I wouldn’t eat any day. A year later, it has shrunk to half its original size, the red skin now pinched up all about it, its color the brown of milk chocolate. A whiskey smell up close. An intoxicating idea at a distance: to keep something beyond its time is somehow to have kept it forever. No way now to throw it out. The shrunken, fermented apple is not a version of the apple it was. It is another thing, to another purpose. I myself am a version of all that I could never, not in a million years, have imagined I would become.
Truth should not be forced; it should simply manifest itself, like a woman who has in her privacy reflected and coolly decided to bestow herself upon a certain man.
I grew up to have my father’s looks, my father’s speech patterns, my father’s posture, my father’s opinions, and my mother’s contempt for my father.
If you’re able to be yourself, then you have no competition. All you have to do is get closer and closer to that essence.
I love the story about A. J. Muste, who, during the Vietnam War, stood in front of the White House night after night with a candle — sometimes alone. A reporter interviewed him one evening as he stood there in the rain. “Mr. Muste,” the reporter said, “do you really think you are going to change the policies of this country by standing out here alone at night with a candle?” A. J. responded, “Oh, I don’t do this to change the country. I do this so the country won’t change me.”
No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.
There are four legs to stand on. The first, be romantic. The second, be passionate. The third, be imaginative. And the fourth, never be rushed.
The term clinical depression finds its way into too many conversations these days. One has a sense that a catastrophe has occurred in the psychic landscape.
Since the concepts people live by are derived only from perceptions and from language, and since the perceptions are received and interpreted only in light of earlier concepts, man comes pretty close to living in a house that language built.
The world is not a prison-house but a kind of spiritual kindergarten where millions of bewildered infants are trying to spell God with all the wrong blocks.
“Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?”
“To the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime.”
“The dog did nothing in the nighttime.”
“That was the curious incident,” remarked Sherlock Holmes.