Saturday, August 8, 2009
Lee’s hand shook as he filled the delicate cups. He drank his down in one gulp. “Don’t you see?” he cried. “The American Standard translation orders men to triumph over sin, and you can call sin ignorance. The King James translation makes a promise in ‘Thou shalt,’ meaning that men will surely triumph over sin. But the Hebrew word, the word timshel—’Thou mayest’— that gives a choice. It might be the most important word in the world. That says the way is open. That throws it right back on a man. For if ‘Thou mayest’—it is also true that ‘Thou mayest not.’ Don’t you see?”
~John Steinbeck, East of Eden
.Michaelangelo, Creation of Adam, detail from the Sistine Chapel
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
"Once there was a princess who was very beautiful. She shone as bright as the stars on a moonless night. But what difference did it make that she was beautiful? None. No difference."
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Like to a shell dishabited,
Then might He find thee on the ocean shelf,
And say, "This is not dead,"
And fill thee with Himself instead.
But thou art replete with very thou
And hast such shrewd activity,
That when He comes He says, "This is enow
unto itself--'twere better let it be,
It is so small and full, there is no room for Me."
in Madeleine L'Engle's A Ring of Endless Light
God is over all things; under all things; outside all; within, but not enclosed; without, but not excluded; above but not raised up; below, but not depressed; wholly above, presiding; wholly without, embracing; wholly within, filling.
~Hildevert of Lavardin, 1125
"My darling," she said at last, "are you sure you don't mind being a mouse for the rest of your life?"
"I don't mind at all," I said. "It doesn't matter who you are or what you look like so long as somebody loves you."
~Roald Dahl, The Witches
.via Google Images
"What do these children do without storybooks?" Naftali asked.
And Reb Zebulun replied: "They have to make do. Storybooks aren't bread. You can live without them."
"I couldn't live without them," Naftali said.
~Isaac Bashevis Singer, Naftali the Storyteller and His Horse, Sus
Finally, the sun set and the birds flew away. Edward hung by his ears and looked up at the night sky. He saw the stars. But for the first time in his life, he looked at them and felt no comfort. Instead, he felt mocked.
Monday, August 3, 2009
The mustard-pot got up and walked over to his plate on thin silver legs that waddled like the owl's...."Oh, I love the mustard pot!" cried the Wart. "Wherever did you get it?"
~T.H. White, The Sword in the Stone
There is no frigate like a book
To take us lands away,
Nor any courser like a page
Of prancing poetry.
This traverse may the poorest take
Without oppress of toll;
How frugal is the chariot
That bears a human soul!
~Emily Dickinson, The Poems of Emily Dickinson
Darkness always had its part to play. Without it, how would we know when we walked in the light? It's only when its ambitions become too grandiose that it must be opposed, disciplined, sometimes--if necessary--brought down for a time. Then it will rise again, as it must.
~Clive Barker, Abarat
The idea hovered and shivered delicately, like a soap bubble, and she dared not even look at it directly, in case it burst. But she was familiar with the ways of ideas, and she let it shimmer, looking away, thinking about something else.
~Philip Pullman, Northern Lights
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Egan stood uncertainly in the mist. The rain was easing off. There had been no sound from the Megrimum for many minutes now. A mumble of thunder complained from far away and then the clouds parted and the moon rode free. Instantly the mist was luminous, and Egan, with a gasp, felt as if he had suddenly been tucked inside a bubble. Looking up, he saw the moon as a shapeless radiance, like a candle seen through steamy glass. Each drop of moisture in the mist had become a tiny prism, filtering and fanning the dim light into a million pale rainbow of softest color. From a shrouded treetop nearby came the soft, clear notes of a bird's call and, with the faintest of rustles, a small red kneeknock bird floated through the mist ahead of him. Egan held his breath and stared at the magic world around him, a nighttime world bewitched into seeming morning by the wizard moon.
I visited a certain king
Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.
In the book it said: "Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewing it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion."
I pondered deeply, then, over the adventures of the jungle. And after some work with a colored pencil I succeeded in making my first drawing. My Drawing Number One. It looked something like this:
I showed my masterpiece to the grown-ups, and asked them whether the drawing frightened them.
But they answered: "Frighten? Why should any one be frightened by a hat?"
My drawing was not a picture of a hat. It was a picture of a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. But since the grown-ups were not able to understand it, I made another drawing: I drew the inside of a boa constrictor, so that the grown-ups could see it clearly. They always need to have things explained. My Drawing Number Two looked like this:
So then I chose another profession, and learned to pilot airplanes. I have flown a little over all parts of the world; and it is true that geography has been very useful to me. At a glance I can distinguish China from Arizona. If one gets lost in the night, such knowledge is valuable.
In the course of this life I have had a great many encounters with a great many people who have been concerned with matters of consequence. I have lived a great deal among grown-ups. I have seen them intimately, close at hand. And that hasn't much improved my opinion of them.
Whenever I met one of them who seemed to me at all clear-sighted, I tried the experiment of showing him my Drawing Number One, which I have always kept. I would try to find out, so, if this was a person of true understanding. But, whoever it was, he, or she, would always say:
"That is a hat."
Then I would never talk to that person about boa constrictors, or primeval forests, or stars. I would bring myself down to his level. I would talk to him about bridge, and golf, and politics, and neckties. And the grown-up would be greatly pleased to have met such a sensible man.
~Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Chapter I, Le Petit Prince