Thursday, 25 July 2013

Words. Strange And Otherwise - Vol. 1

A Facebook status update triggered this blog post. 
Friends emailed and texted to ask who the excerpt belonged to and since I hadn't written here in a long, long time I decided to share something personal. 

I collect words like people collect stamps, shot glasses and coins (I hear it's different from just collecting money). 
I collect words, and if I had my way I'd put them into pretty boxes and play with them on rainy days. 
Ok let me rephrase, I hoard words- favourite sentences and paragraphs from books I've loved. I write them into a notebook (when I'm feeling indulgent or can locate a pen without having to get up) but mostly I type them into drafts on my phone/computer. Sharing them doesn't come easy or even naturally but it's a sign of maturity (it better be!)

So here they are, some of my favorite words. 
Are they reflective of the books they belong to? Some, not all. But that's never the point. 

I've added a link to each so you can buy the books if you like what you read. The list is arbid, I randomly picked the ones that spoke to me. On looking back it seems I haven't even shared the best ones yet, so a volume 2 might be in the works soon. 
There's Anais Nin, Junot Diaz and the wizard Rainer Maria Rilke (read his book if you haven't). You'll also notice E E Cummings crept his way in, when most of the list is prose. 
But how does anyone have any sort of list without E E Cummings being there? 


“In one of those stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night. And when your sorrow is comforted (time soothes all sorrows) you will be content that you have known me." 
~  Antoin De- Saint Exupery, The Little Prince.

“You ask everybody you know: How long does it usually take to get over it?

There are many formulas. One year for every year you dated. Two years for every year you dated. It's just a matter of will power: The day you decide it's over, it's over. You never get over it.”

― Junot Díaz, This is How You Lose Her

"If you have to ask what jazz is, you'll never know" 
~ Louis Armstrong

“Maybe we all live life at too high a pitch, those of us who absorb emotional things all day, and as mere consequence we can never feel merely content: we have to be unhappy, or ecstatically, head-over-heels happy, and those states are difficult to achieve within a stable, solid relationship.”  
~ Nick Hornby, High Fidelity.

“Her little shoulders drove me mad; I hugged her and hugged her. And she loved it.
'I love love,' she said, closing her eyes.
I promised her beautiful love. I gloated over her. Our stories were told; we subsided into silence and sweet anticipatory thoughts. It was as simple as that. You could have all your Peaches and Bettys and Marylous and Ritas and Camilles and Inezes in this world; this was my girl and my kind of girlsoul, and I told her that.”
~Jack Keouac, On The Road.

March Hare: “Imagine, just one birthday every year” | 

Mad Hatter: “But there are 364 unbirthdays.” 
~ Lewis Caroll, Alice in Wonderland.

(Preface from Junot's brilliant This is How You Lose Her)

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” 
~Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters To A Young Poet.

“Hopes were wallflowers. Hopes hugged the perimeter of a dance floor in your brain, tugging at their party lace, all perfume and hems and doomed expectation. They fanned their dance cards, these guests that pressed against the walls of your heart.”
~Karen Russell, Swamplandia!

"Greeting cards routinely tell us everybody deserves love. No. Everybody deserves clean water. Not everybody deserves love all the time."
~ Zadie Smith, On Beauty.

“All the variety, all the charm, all the beauty of life is made up of light and shadow.”
~ Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

"You will hear that she has left the country, that there was a gift she wanted you to have, but it is lost before it reaches you. Late one night the telephone will ring, and a voice that might be hers will say something that you cannot interpret before the connection crackles and is broken.
Several years later, from a taxi, you will see someone in a doorway who looks like her, but she will be gone by the time you persuade the driver to stop. You will never see her again.
Whenever it rains you will think of her. ” ~
~ Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things.

“Like most misery, it started with apparent happiness.”
~ Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“When you're young, you think everything you do is disposable. You move from now to now, crumpling time up in your hands, tossing it away. You're your own speeding car. You think you can get rid of things, and people too—leave them behind. You don't yet know about the habit they have, of coming back..”
~ Margaret Atwood, The Blind Assassin

“The love I felt for her on that train ride had a capital and provinces, parishes and a Vatican, an orange planet and many sullen moons -- it was systemic and it was complete.”
~Gary Shteyngart, Super Sad True Love Story.

“But cockteasing is also a metaphor: she is someone who will manipulate your inner self while holding hers back from you.”
~ Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending

"I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I cannot transform into something marvelous, I let go."
~ Anais Nin

“I thought the most beautiful thing in the world must be shadow, the million moving shapes and cul-de-sacs of shadow. There was shadow in bureau drawers and closets and suitcases, and shadow under houses and trees and stones, and shadow at the back of people's eyes and smiles, and shadow, miles and miles and miles of it, on the night side of the earth.” 
~ Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar

“It’s a very female thing, isn’t it, to take one boys’ night and snowball it into a marital infidelity that will destroy our marriage?”
~ Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl

“The window gave onto a view of dove-gray roofs and balconies, each one containing the same cracked flowerpot and sleeping feline. It was as if the entire city of Paris had agreed to abide by a single understated taste. Each neighbor was doing his or her own to keep up standards, which was difficult because the French ideal wasn't clearly delineated like the neatness and greenness of American lawns, but more of a picturesque disrepair. It took courage to let things fall apart so beautifully.”
~ Jeffrey Eugenides, The Marriage Plot.

“Sweet, crazy conversations full of half sentences, daydreams and misunderstandings more thrilling than understanding could ever be.” 
~ Toni Morisson, Beloved

“I don’t want to fade away, I want to flame away - I want my death to be an attraction, a spectacle, a mystery. A work of art.”
~ Jennifer Egan, A Visit From The Goon Squad.

“You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and—
Just tired.
So am I.”
~ E E Cummings.