"People talk about the happy quiet that can exist between two loves, but this, too, was great; sitting between his sister and his brother, saying nothing, eating. Before the world existed, before it was populated, and before there were wars and jobs and colleges and movies and clothes and opinions and foreign travel — before all of these things there had been only one person, Zora, and only one place: a tent in the living room made from chairs and bed-sheets. After a few years, Levi arrived; space was made for him; it was as if he had always been. Looking at them both now, Jerome found himself in their finger joints and neat conch ears, in their long legs and wild curls. He heard himself in their partial lisps caused by puffy tongues vibrating against slightly noticeable buckteeth. He did not consider if or how or why he loved them. They were just love: they were the first evidence he ever had of love, and they would be the last confirmation of love when everything else fell away."
— Zadie Smith
, On Beauty
(2005) (This quote is one of the basis for my upcoming series/show in May. It will involve my brothers and notions as well as expressions of love. —TO)
"The brows were so drawn that there were two deep lines above the beaked nose, and the chin was thrust forward defiantly. It was as though the strain of life had been so sharp and bitter that death could not at once relax the tension and smooth the countenance into perfect peace—as though he were still guarding something precious, which might even yet be wrested from him"
"At the end of the day people won’t remember what you said or did, they will remember how you made them feel."
"I would rediscover the secret of great communications and great combustions. I would say storm. I would say river. I would say tornado. I would say leaf. I would say tree. I would be drenched by all rains, moistened by all dews. I would roll like frenetic blood on the slow current of the eye of words turned into mad horses into fresh children into clots into curfew into vestiges of temples into precious stones remote enough to discourage miners. Whoever would not understand me would not understand any better the roaring of a tiger."
"The French have a phrase for it. The bastards have a phrase for everything and they are always right. To say goodbye is to die a little."
"[With the spread of markets] there will come a time when everything that people consider as inalienable will become an object of exchange, of traffic, and can be alienated. This is the time when the very things which till then had been communicated, but never exchanged, given, but never sold, acquired but never bought - virtue, love, conviction, knowledge, conscience - when everything, in short, passed into commerce. It is the time of general corruption, of universal venality. It has left remaining no other nexus between man and man other than naked self-interest and callous cash payment."
"I speak of course, of Albert Camus, the ideal husband of contemporary letters. Being a contemporary, he had to traffic in the madmen’s themes: suicide, affectlessness, guilt, absolute terror. But he does so with such an air of reasonableness, measure, effortlessness, gracious impersonality, as to place him apart from the others. Starting from the premises of a popular nihilism, he moves the reader—solely by the power of his own tranquil voice and tone—to humanist and humanitarian conclusions in no way entailed by his premises. This illogical leaping of the abyss to nihilism is the gift for which readers are grateful to Camus. This is why he evoked feelings or real affection on the part of his readers. Kafka arouses pity and terror, Joyce admiration, Proust and Gide respect, but no modern writer that I can think of, except Camus, has aroused love."
"Consciousness is a much smaller part of our mental life than we are conscious of, because we cannot be conscious of what we are not conscious of.…It is like asking a flashlight in a dark room to search around for something that does not have any light shining upon it. The flashlight, since there is light in whatever direction it turns, would have to conclude that there is light everywhere. And so consciousness can seem to pervade all mentality when actually it does not."
"I have been thinking about Censors. How visionary figures admonish us… . If I say this So & So will think me sentimental. If that … will think me Bourgeois. All books now seem to me surrounded by a circle of invisible censors. Hence their self-consciousness, their restlessness."
— From the Diary of Virginia Woolf, entry dated Monday 7 August 1939.