I know that books I have written will still resonate in 50 years - particularly 'My Sister's Keeper.' It has sold three million copies in the States alone. I strongly feel that, as a novelist, you have a platform and the ability to change people's minds.
Instead of plotting the demise of the traditional family, as some politicians and religious leaders would have you believe, gay people mow their lawns and watch 'American Idol' and video their children's concerts and have the same hopes and dreams that their straight counterparts do.
I consider myself spiritual and I'm married to a man who is both an atheist and a humanist, and my kids have been raised with the traditions of different religions, but they do not go to church or temple. My feeling is that everyone should be able to believe what they want or need to believe.
If you read a book that's fiction and you get caught in the characters and the plot, and swept away, really, by the fiction of it - by the non-reality - you sometimes wind up changing your reality as well. Often, when the last page is turned, it will haunt you.
Most people in America want an easy read. I call it McFiction - books which pass right through you without you even digesting them. I don't mean a book that has two-syllable words. I mean chapters you can read in a toilet break. Happy endings. We are more of a TV culture.
On a shelf above my computer are five letters that spell out W-R-I-T-E. Just in case I forget why I'm there. I also have 'Wonder Woman' paraphernalia from when I wrote five issues of the comic, and pictures of my husband and kids.
I feel I'm able to get rid of any demons lurking in my psyche through my writing, which leaves me free to create all of this and to enjoy our family life, stepping away from all the fictional traumas and the dramas. If I write about family in crisis, then I won't have to live through it, I guess.
I think many of my books, including 'Handle with Care,' including 'My Sister's Keeper,' circle back to how far are we willing to go for the people we love? I think love changes the way we think. It's the thing that takes you out of what your normal set of beliefs would be.
Every year I tell myself that I'm not going to read any reviews and then I do. We're all human and when I read something negative it hurts. I think when you write it's part of the game, you're going to get some good reviews and some bad reviews and that's how it goes. I don't write for the reviews.
Even though I don't write about things that come from my life because I'm lucky, and I live in a great place with great kids and, you know, a great husband, I think you can find threads of me in the characters, so that's really what being a writer is, probably.
I don't believe in writer's block. Think about it - when you were blocked in college and had to write a paper, didn't it always manage to fix itself the night before the paper was due? Writer's block is having too much time on your hands.
When was the last time someone read aloud to you? Probably when you were a child, and if you think back, you'll remember how safe you felt, tucked under the covers, or curled in someone's arms, as a story was spun around you like a web.
I wondered how long it took for a baby to become yours, for familiarity to set in. Maybe as long as it took a new car to lose that scent, or a brand-new house to gather dust. Maybe that was the process more commonly described as bonding: the act of learning your child as well as you know yourself.
Babies don't come with instruction booklets. You'd learn the same way we all do -- you'd read up on dinosaurs, you'd Google backhoes and skidders. And you don't need a penis to go buy a baseball glove.
What he did was wrong. He doesn't deserve your love. But he does deserve your forgiveness, because otherwise he will grow like a weed in your heart until it's choked and overrun. The only person who suffers, when you squirrel away all that hate, is you.
and he suddenly knew that if she killed herself, he would die. Maybe not immediately, maybe not with the same blinding rush of pain, but it would happen. You couldn't live for very long without a heart.
You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride.
Maybe you expected marriage to be perfect - I guess that's where you and I are different. See, I thought it would be all about making mistakes, but doing it with someone who's there to remind you what you learned along the way.
It's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. Someone falls in love first. Someone puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works hard to keep things rolling smoothly, someone else sails along for the ride. Someone who would do anything to keep it the way it was in the beginning.
But Katie knew it was a sin, had known from the moment she made the decision to lie with Adam. However, the transgression wasn't making love without the sanction of marriage. It was that for the first time in her life, Katie had put herself first. Put her own wants and needs above everything and everyone else.
Then you're the one. Allie blinked at him. The one what?The one who loves more. You know it's never fifty-fifty in a marriage. It's always seventy-thirty, or sixty-forty. Someone falls in love first. Someone always puts someone else up on a pedestal. Someone works very hard to keep things rolling smoothly; someone else sails along for the ride.
When you are a kid you have your own language, and unlike French or Spanish or whatever you start learning in fourth grade, this one you are born with, and eventually lose...Kids think with their brains cracked wide open; becoming an adult...is only a slow sewing it shut.
There is a magic to intimacy, a world built of sighs and skin that is thicker than brick, stronger than iron. There is only you, and him, so impossibly close that nothing can come between. Not the enemy, not your allies. In this safe haven, in this hallowed place and time, I could even ask the questions whose answers I feared.
But rules only work when everyone plays by them. What happens when someone doesn't, and the fallout bleeds right into his life? Whats stronger- the need to uphold the law, or the motive to turn one's back on it?"
It was not compassion that led to Daniel's change of heart, and it was not kindness. It was realizing that, against all odds, he had something in common with Jason Underhill. Like Daniel, Jason had learned the hard way that they we are never the people we think we are. We are the ones we pretend, with all our hearts, we can't become."
I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA."
But no one ever said yes to make sex consensual. You took hints from body language, from the way two people came together. Why...didn't a shake of the head or a hand pushing hard against a chest speak just as loudly? Why did you have to actually say the word no for it to be rape?"
There is a curious thing that happens with the passage of time: a calcification of character... Change isn't always for the worst; the shell that forms around a piece of sand looks to some people like an irritation, and to others, like a pearl."
Witness testimony is always flawed. It's better than circumstantial evidence, sure, but people aren't camcorders; they don't record every action and reaction, and the very act of remembering involves chosing words, actions and images. In other words, any witness who was supposed to be giving a court facts is really just giving them a version of fiction.
I leaned forward and kissed him. And again. As if I were passing him all those silent words I cound not say, the ones that explained my biggest secret: that I might not have OI but I knew how he (Adam) felt. That I was breaking apart, too, all the time."-Amelia
The English judged a person so that they'd be justified in casting her out. The Amish judged a person so that they'd be justified in welcoming her back. Where I'm from, if someone is accused of sinning, it's not so that others can place blame. It's so that the person can make amends and move on.
Yes, she is." He looks at me, his face carved in pain. "She is dying, Sara. She will die, either tonight or tomorrow or maybe a year from now if we're really lucky. You heard what Dr. Chance said. Arsenic's not a cure. It just postpones what's coming." My eyes fill up with tears. "But I love her," I say, because that is reason enough.
Turn around, and the people you thought you knew might change. Your little boy might now live half a world away. Your beautiful daughter might be sneaking out at night. Your ex-husband might by dying by degrees. This is the reason that dancers learn, early on, how to spot while doing pirouettes: we all want to be able to find the place where we started.
Why is it that only in the very beginnings of a relationship are you aware of the heat coming from inside a person, of the number of inches you would have to move for your shoulders to brush as if it were an accident?
Life sometimes gets so bogged down in the details, you forget you are living it. There is always another appointment to be met, another bill to pay, another symptom presenting, another uneventful day to be notched onto the wooden wall. We have synchronized our watches, studied our calendars, existed in minutes, and completely forgotten to step back and see what we've accomplished.
It's because of libraries that books like mine get recommended to book clubs and avid readers, who in turn pass them onto others looking to be whisked away from the world for a little while...and perhaps to learn a bit about themselves in the process.
Heroes didn't leap tall buildings or stop bullets with an outstretched hand; they didn't wear boots and capes. They bled, and they bruised, and their superpowers were as simple as listening, or loving. Heroes were ordinary people who knew that even if their own lives were impossibly knotted, they could untangle someone else's. And maybe that one act could lead someone to rescue you right back.
The reason I am still sitting at Josef's kitchen table is the same reason traffic slows after a car wreck- you want to see the damage; you can't let yourself pass without that mental snapshot. We are drawn to horror even as we recoil from it.
Words, for all they were flimsy and invisible, had great strength. They could be fortified as a castle wall and sharp as a foil. They could bite, slap, shock, wound. But unlike deeds, words couldn't really help you. No promise ever rescued a person; it was the carrying-through of it that brought about salvation.
Sometimes I think there's a beast that lives inside me, in the cavern that's where my heart should be, and every now and then it fills every last inch of my skin, so that I can't help but do something inappropriate. Its breath is full of lies; it smells of spite.
I don't know why it's called "getting lost." Even when you turn down the wrong street, when you find yourself at the dead end of a chain-link fence or a road that turnd to sand, you are somewhere. It just isn't where you expected to be.
Love is not an equation, it is not a contract, and it is not a happy ending. Love is the slate under the chalk, the ground that buildings rise, and the oxygen in the air. It is the place you come back to, no matter where your headed
Into the silence rips a sound that makes me let go of Max's hand and cover my ears. It is like the strafe of a bullet, nails on a chalkboard, promises being broken. It's a note I have never heard - this chord of pure pain - and it takes a moment to realize it is coming from me.
There is a curious thing that happens with the passage of time: a calcification of character... Change isn't always for the worst; the shell that forms around a piece of sand looks to some people like an irritation, and to others, like a pearl.
I can give or take elephants; I never can find the cheetah-but the zebras captivate me. They'd be one of the few things that would fit if we were lucky enough to live in a world that's black or white.
My high school guidance counselor, Mrs. Inverholl, once had me take an aptitude test to figure out my future. The number one job recommendation for my set of skills was an air traffic accident investigator, of which there are fewer than fifty in the world. The number two job was a museum curator for Chinese-American studies. The number three job was a circus clown.
When this is over...we will got to the rainforest, or a beach as white as bone. We will eat grapes from the vine, we will swim with sea turtles, we will walk miles on cobblestone streets. We will laugh and talk and confess. We will.
A place like this wears down everything, and tolerance is no exception. In here, coexistence passes for forgiveness. You do not learn to like something you abhor; you come to live with it...You live and let live, and eventually that becomes enough.
Things break all the time. Glass and dishes and fingernails. Cars and contracts and potato chips. You can break a record, a horse, a dollar. You can break the ice. There are coffee breaks and lunch breaks and prison breaks. Day breaks, waves break, voices break. Chains can be broken. So can silence, and fever... promises break. Hearts break.
It was no coincidence, that fear could move a person to extremes, just as seamlessly as love. They were the conjoined twins of emotion: If you didn't know what was at stake to lose, you had nothing to fight for.
For me it's more important that I outline all the facets of a controversial issue and let the reader make up his or her mind. I don't care if readers change their minds, but I would like readers to ask themselves why their opinion is what it is.
Crazy girls did this, girls who walked like zombies through YA novels. But. Trixie felt the sting of the skin as it split, the sweet welling rise of blood. It hurt, though not as much as everything else idd.
What was wrong with me? I had a decent life. I was healthy. I wasn't starving or maimed by a land mine or orphaned. Yet somehow, it wasn't enough. I had a hole in me, and everything I took for granted slipped through it like sand. I felt like I had swallowed yeast, like whatever evil was festering inside me had doubled in size.
Let me tell you this: if you meet a loner, no matter what they tell you, it's not because they enjoy solitude. It's because they have tried to blend into the world before, and people continue to disappoint them.
I think grief is like a really ugly couch. It never goes away. You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room-but eventually, you learn to live with it.
Families were never what you wanted them to be. We all wanted what we couldn't have: the perfect child, the doting husband, the mother who wouldn't let go. We live in our grown-up dollhouses completely unaware that, at any moment, a hand might come in and change around everything we'd become accustomed to.
Stupid English." "English isn't stupid," I say. "Well, my English teacher is." He makes a face. "Mr. Franklin assigned an essay about our favorite subject, and I wanted to write about lunch, but he won't let me." "Why not?" "He says lunch isn't a subject." I glance at him. "It isn't." "Well," Jacob says, "it's not a predicate, either. Shouldn't he know that?
History tells us that six million Jews disappeared during that war. If there was no Holocaust, where did they go?' She shakes her head. 'All of that, and the world didn't learn anything. Look around. There's still ethnic cleansing. There's discrimination.
Sometimes when you pick up your child you can feel the map of your own bones beneath your hands, or smell the scent of your skin in the nape of his neck. This is the most extraordinary thing about motherhood - finding a piece of yourself separate and apart that all the same you could not live without.
But rules only work when everyone plays by them. What happens when someone doesn't, and the fallout bleeds right into his life? Whats stronger- the need to uphold the law, or the motive to turn one's back on it?
there was not much distinction between losing a friend and a lover: it was all about intimacy. One moment, you had someone to share your biggest triumph, and fatal flaws with; the next minute, you had to keep them bottled inside.
I have the most devoted and loyal following. I could probably type up my grocery list and they'd all want to read it. I love that they're willing to let me go wherever I need to go as an author, and they're happy to come along for the ride as the reader.
You don't have to say I love you to say I love you," you said with a shrug. "All you have to do is say my name and I know." ..."Can't you hear it?" you said. "When you love someone, you say their name different. Like it's safe inside your mouth.
People in the real world would kill for a happily ever after, and you're willing to just throw it away ?" I look away from her. "It's hardly a happily ever after when you wind up right at the beginning.
and another claimed it was inherited through a parent who was a carrier of the defective gene. I had always assumed the latter was the case with Claire. After all, surely a child who grew out of grief would be born with a heavy heart.
I don't know the first thing about holding together a family, especially one that resembles an heirloom vase, shattered but glued back together for its beauty, and no one mentions that you can see the cracks as plain as day.
My chest feels full of glitter and helium, the way it used to when I was little and riding my father's shoulders at twilight, when I knew that if I held up my hands and spread my fingers like a net, I could catch the coming stars.
in nineteen minutes you can norder a pizza and have it delivered. You can read a story to a child or have your oil changed. You can walk a mile. You can sew a hem. In nineteen minutes you can get revenge.
Everyone knew that if you divided reality by expectation, you got a happiness quotient. But when you invert the equation - expectation divided by reality - you didn't get the opposite of happiness. What you got, Lewis realized, was hope.
It's a fallacy that writers have to shut themselves up in their ivory towers to write. I have all these interruptions, three of which I gave birth to. If I was thrown for a loop every time I was distracted I could never get anything done.
Chicken,' Josie said. 'Have you ever been in love?' Peter looked at Josie, and thought of how they had once tied a note with their addresses to a helium balloon and let it go in her backyard, certain it would reach Mars. Instead, they had received a letter from a widow who lived two blocks away. 'Yeah,' he said. 'I think so.
She suddenly remembered studying the brain in science class- how a steel rod pierced a man's skull, and he opened his mouth to speak Portuguese, a language he'd never studied. Maybe it would be like this, now, for Josie. Maybe her native tongue, from here on in, would be a string of lies.
Nobody, who looks at a shard of flint lying beneath a rock ledge, or who finds a splintered log by the side of the road would ever find magic in their solitude. But in the right circumstances, if you bring them together, you can start a fire that consumes the world.
You know, he told me once, completely exasperated, you've got one glass of water inside your head, with all the tears for a lifetime. If you waste them over nothing, then you won't be able to cry for real when you need to.
Mistakes are like the memories you hide in an attic: old love letters from relationships that tanked, photos of dead relatives, toys from a childhood you miss. Out of sight is out of mind, but somewhere deep inside you know they still exist. And you also know that you're avoiding them.
I learned a long time ago with you that folks who were trying to be kind would rather do it with a macaroni-and-cheese bake than any personal involvement. You hand off a serving dish and you've done your job - no need to get personally involved, and your conscience is clean. Food is the currency of aid.
In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn; color your hair; watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five. In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world; or you can just jump off it.
a guardian ad litem... GAL is appointed by a court to be a child's advocate during legal proceedings that involve a minor. You don't have to be a lawyer to be trained as a GAL, but you have to have a moral compass and a heart. Which, actually probably renders most lawyers unqualified for the job.
a public persona that might be different from what we truly feel inside... everyone wonders if they are good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, no matter how old they are. It is an archetypical moral dilemma - Do you act like yourself and risk becoming an outcast?
Music therapy, to me, is music performance without the ego. It's not about entertainment as much as its about empathizing. If you can use music to slip past the pain and gather insight into the workings of someone else's mind, you can begin to fix a problem.
A woman isn't all that different from a bonfire. A fire's a beautiful thing, right? Something you can't take your eyes off, when it's burning. If you can keep it contained, it'll throw light and heat for you. It's only when it gets out of control that you have to go on the offensive.
But I think half the battle is figuring out what works for you, and I am much better at being a mother than I ever would have been as a lawyer. I sometimes wonder if it is just me, or if there are other women who figure out where they are supposed to be by going nowhere." - My Sister's Keeper
she told me she'd be a phoenix." The image of the mythical creature rising from the ashes glitters in my mind. "They don't really exist." "She said that depends on whether or not there's someone who can see them.
I know that there will be other women, but they couldn't compare. Maybe I'll change, maybe love will change, but I think we were a once-in-a-lifetime. You could never leave me; that's why I am not more upset. You can't possibly break these feelings. They stretch, and they last.
Once, I asked my mom why stars shine. She said they were night-lights, so the angels could find their way around in Heaven. But when I asked my dad, he started talking about gas, and somehow I put it all together and figured that the food God served caused multiple trips to the bathroom in the middle of the night.
You know how every now and then, you have a moment where your whole life stretches out ahead of you like a forked road, and even as you choose one gritty path you've got your eyes on the other the whole time, certain that you're making a mistake.
You give her all your french fries, even when she won't give you back onion rings,' Sophie says. 'And when you say her name it sounds different.' How?' Sophie thinks. 'Like it's covered with blankets.
I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA.
I wondered about the explorers who'd sailed their ships to the end of the world. How terrified they must have been when they risked falling over the edge; how amazed to discover, instead, places they had seen only in their dreams.
The weapons an author has at her disposal are flawed. There are words that feel shapeless and overused. Love, for example. I could write the word love a thousand times and it would mean a thousand different things to different readers.
I woke up one morning thinking about wolves and realized that wolf packs function as families. Everyone has a role, and if you act within the parameters of your role, the whole pack succeeds, and when that falls apart, so does the pack.
Fiction is like that, once it is released into the world: contagious, persistent. Like the contents of Pandora's box, a story that's freely given can't be contained anymore. It becomes infectious, spreading from the person who created it to the person who listens, and passes it on.
Each memory is like a paper flower stowed up a magician's sleeve: invisible one moment and then so substantial and florid the next I cannot imagine how it stayed hidden all this time. And like those paper flowers, once they've been let loose in the world, the memories are impossible to tuck away again.
Life, it turns out, goes on. There is no cosmic rule that grants you immunity from the details just because you have come face-to-face with a catastrophe. The garbage can still overflow, the bills arrive in the mail, telemarketers, interrupt dinner.
You can run but you can't hide... but I can try. I feel air catch in my lungs and I get a cramp in my side and this pain, this wonderful physical pain that I can place, reminds me that after all I am still alive.
I don't base my books on my life (thank goodness) and I don't pick the topic first. In fact, the topic picks me - via a question I can't answer as a mom, a wife, a woman, an American. I find myself wondering "What if..." and it blossoms into a whole novel.
In my previous life I was a civil attorney. At one point I truly believed that was what I wanted to be- but that was before I'd been handed a fistful of crushed violets from a toddler. Before I understood that the smile of a child is a tattoo: indelible art.
I don't know what it is about death that makes it so hard. I suppose it's the one-sided communication; the fact that we never get to ask our loved one if she suffered, if she is happy wherever she is now...if she is somewhere. It's the question mark that comes with death that we can't face, not the period.
Peter was, simply, what a person would look like if you boiled down the most raw emotions and filtered them of any social contract. If you hurt, cry. If you rage, strike out. If you hope, get ready for a disappointment.
When we sat down on the couch again, you curled up against my side, like you used to when you were a toddler. What I wanted to say to you, but didn't, was this: Don't use me as your model. I'm the last person you should look up to.
We can't go into the room where Sophie's sleeping, so I haul her into the backseat of her rental car, parked two feet in front of us. It seems ridiculous, adolescent, and in a way, perfectly fitting. Our knees knock against the windows and our feet get in the way, and because it is Delia, we even laugh.
Forgiving isn't something you do for someone else. It's something you do for yourself. It's saying, 'You're not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.' It's saying, 'You don't get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.
Logically, I understand that it wasn't Edward's fault my family fell apart after he left. But when you're eleven years old, you don't give a flip about logic. You just really miss holding your big brother's hand.
Do you know how there are moments when the world moves so slowly you can feel your bones shifting, your mind tumbling? When you think that no matter what happens to you for the rest of your life, you will remember every last detail of that one minute forever?
The answer is that there is no good answer. So as parents, as doctors, as judges, and as a society, we fumble through and make decisions that allow us to sleep at night--because morals are more important than ethics, and love is more important than law.
People always say that, when you love someone, nothing in the world matters. But that's not true, is it? You know, and I know, that when you love someone, everything in the world matters a little bit more.
I love you," he whispered, and that was the moment he knew what he was going to do. When you loved someone, you put their needs before your own. No matter how inconceivable those needs were; no matter how fucked up; no matter how much it made you feel like you were ripping yourself into pieces.
The damage was permanent; there would always be scars. But even the angriest scars faded over time until it was difficult to see them written on the skin at all, and the only thing that remained was the memory of how painful it had been.
A lie, as you probably know, has a taste all its own. Blocky and bitter and never quite right, like when you pop a piece of fancy chocolate into your mouth expecting toffee filling and you get lemon zest instead.
So much of the language of love was like that: you devoured someone with your eyes, you drank in the sight of him, you swallowed him whole. Love was substance, broken down and beating through your bloodstream.
Dr. Keller begins pacing. "I don't think we've been hearing Faith just right. Her guard...the words..they sound alike."What do you mean?"Your daughter," Dr. Keller says flatly. "I think she's seeing God.
What is a parent, really, but somebody who picks up the things a child leaves behind - a trail made of stripped off clothing, orphaned shoes, tiny bright plastic game pieces, and nostalgia - and who hands back each of these when its needed?
I was starting to see that what looks like garbage from one angle might be art from another. Maybe it did take a crisis to get to know yourself; maybe you needed to get whacked hard by life before you understood what you wanted out of it.
Cara: I used to believe everything my brother told me, because he was older and I figured he knew more about the world. But as it turns out, being a grown-up doesn't mean you're fearless. It just means you fear different things.
There are so many things I can't believe. That people deserve what they get, both bad and good. That one day I'll live in a world where people are judged by what they do instead of who they are. That happy endings don't have contingencies and conditions.
If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask... with nothing beneath it~?
I closed my eyes and curled my fists around the things I knew for sure: That a scallop has thirty-five eyes, all blue. That a tuna will suffocate if it ever stops swimming. That I was loved. That this time, it was not me who broke
I watch her do the simplest things: brushing her hair into a ponytail, feeding the dog, tying Sophie's shoelaces, and I want to tell her what she means to me, but I never actually say the words. After all, to acknowledge Delia as a drug, I'd have to face the fact that one day I might have to go without her and this I can't do.
You are only as invincible as your smallest weakness, and those are tiny indeed - the length of a sleeping baby's eyelash, the span of a child's hand. Life turns on a dime, and - it turns out - so does one's conscience.
Shelby believed that love was like a solar eclipse - breathtakingly beautiful, absorbing, and capable of rendering you blind. She had not necessarily gone out of her way to avoid a relationship, but she hadn't wanted on either. It was called falling in love for a reason - because, inevitably, you crashed at the bottom.
As a child, what I was missing was so much bigger to me than what I had. My mother-mythic, imaginary-was a deity and a superhero and a comfort all at once. If only I'd had her, surely, she would have been the answer to every problem; if only I'd had her , she would have been the cure for everything that ever had gone wrong in my life.
But as he grew older, he learned that a word was a powerful thing. An insult didn't have to be shouted to bleed; a vow didn't have to be whispered to make you believe. Hold a thought in your head, and that was enough to change the actions of anyone and anything that crossed your path.
...as it turned out, growing up was just as she'd feared. One day when your alarm clock rang, you got up and realized you had someone else's thoughts in your head... or may be just your old ones, minus the hope.
If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask... with nothing beneath it?
She thought of death like the seam of a hem: each time you lose someone close, it unraveled a little. You could still go along with your life, but you'd be forever tripping over something you previously took for granted.
I told myself that if I didn't care, this wouldn't have hurt so much - surely that proved I was alive and human and all those touchy-feely things, for once and for all. But that wasn't a relief, not when I felt like a skyscraper with dynamite on every floor.
Dante believed God punished suicides by trapping the person's spirit in a tree trunk. On Judgment Day, they were the only sinners who didn't get their souls back, because they tried to get rid of them once before.
What I want, more than anything, is to turn back time a little. To become the kid I used to be, who believed whatever my mother said was one hundred percent true and right without looking hard enough to see the hairline crack.
Where did you go?" "To the end of the driveway," my mother says. "I was nine months pregnant; that was the maximum distance I could waddle without feeling as if my uterus was falling out." I wince. "Do you have to be quite so graphic?" "What would you like me to call it, Zoe? A fetal living room?
When you love someone more than he loves you, you'll do anything to switch the scales. You dress the way you think he'd like you to dress. You pick up his favorite figures of expression. You tell yourself that if you re-create yourself in his image, then he'll crave you in the same way you crave him.
People work too hard to figure out the meaning of their lives. Why me, why now. The truth is, sometimes things don't happen to you for a reason. Sometimes it's just about being in the right place at the right time for someone else.
In the space between yes and no, there's a lifetime. It's the difference between the path you walk and the one you leave behind; it's the gap between who you thought you could be and who you really are; its the legroom for the lies you'll tell yourself in the future.
I know what it's like to start something and have it suddenly grow out of control. And you want to get rid of it, because it's hurting you and everyone else around you, but every time you try to do that, it consumes you again.
As an American I wanted to explore... why are we the only first world country that still has capital punishment? Is it because we're too afraid to really examine the system, or is it because we really truly believe that this is the best way to deter future crime?
I'm the kind of person you want to kill. I had an incredibly happy childhood. I married a terrific guy when I was 23. I have great, well-adjusted kids. Sometimes my husband and I look at each other and do a little jig in the kitchen. This is the best life.
I'm not going to tell a person how to think, don't believe in that. What I want to do, when I write these books, is just to say don't be so sure of yourself. Let me pull the carpet out from underneath you, and let's see if you can still find the footing.
Writing is total grunt work. A lot of people think it's all about sitting and waiting for the muse. I don't buy that. It's a job. There are days when I really want to write, days when I don't. Every day I sit down and write.
If you read the first page of one of my novels, I can guarantee that you will read the last one. This isn't just social commentary. This is also about writing good page-turners. I want people to keep reading.
The ability to find sparks may be buried so deep in you that you stop believing there's a God. Until someone comes along, with so much light in her that you can't help but see your own, and when you're together,that light grows even brighter.
You can tell yourself that you would be willing to lose everything you have in order to get something you want. But it's a catch-22: all of those things you're willing to lose are what make you recognizable. Lose them, and you've lost yourself.
maybe there is more to a person than a body and a mind. maybe something else figures into the mix" not a soul, exactly, but a spirit that hints you might one day be greater, stronger than you are now. a promise; a potential.
Here are the things I know for sure: When you think you're right, you are most likely wrong. Things that break"be they bones, hearts, or promises"can be put back together but will never really be whole. And, in spite of what I said, you can miss a person you've never known. I learn this over and over again,
I know what love is. When you find the person you are supposed to love, bells ring and fireworks go off in your head and you can't find the words to speak and you think about him all the time. When you find the person you are supposed to love, you will know by staring deeply into their eyes.
What I mean is that those thoughts, they're human. And just because you turn out differently than everyone's imagined you would doesn't mean that you've failed in some way. A kid who gets teased in one school might move to a different one, and be the most popular girl there, just because no one has any other expectations of her. Or a person who goes to med school because his entire family is full of doctors might find out that what he really wants to be is an artist instead.
I'm grateful for my children, who are slowly emerging to become their own wonderful, interesting, compassionate young adults - which makes me believe that along the way I must have done something right.
I don't believe in God. But sitting there, in a room full of those who feel otherwise, I realize that I do believe in people. In their strength to help each other, and to thrive in spite of the odds, I believe that the extraordinary trumps the ordinary, any day. I believe that having something to hope for -- even if it's just a better tomorrow -- is the most powerful drug on this planet.
Someone real," I hear myself saying. "Someone who never has to pretend, and who I never have to pretend around. Someone who's smart, but knows how to laugh at himself. Someone who would listen to a symphony and start to cry, because he understands music can be too big for words. Someone who knows me better than I know myself. Someone I want to talk to first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Someone I feel like I've known my whole life, even if I haven't.
Here's a news flash for the ladies: for every one of you who thinks we all want a girl like Angelina Jolie, all skinny elbows and angles, the truth is, we'd rather curl up with someone like Charlotte - a woman who's soft when a guy wraps his arms around her; a woman who might have a smear of flour on her shirt the whole day and not notice or care, not even when she goes out to meet with the PTA; a woman who doesn't feel like an exotic vacation but is the home we can't wait to come back to.
When you finally start to write something, do not let yourself stop...even when you are convinced it's the worst garbage ever. This is the biggest caveat for beginning writers. Instead, force yourself to finish what you began, and THEN go back and edit it.
There are millions of people in the world, and the spirits will see that most of them you never have to meet. But there are one or two you are tied to, and the spirits will cross you back and forth, threading so many knots until they catch and you finally get it right.
I used to believe everything my brother told me, because he was older and I figured he knew more about the world. But as it turns out, being a grown-up doesn't mean you're fearless. It just means you fear different things.
I have loved before, but it didn't feel like this. I have kissed before, but it didn't burn me alive. Maybe it lasts a minute, and maybe it's an hour. All I know is that kiss, and how soft her skin is when it brushes against mine, and that, even if I did not know it until now, I have been waiting for this person forever.
There was no black or white. Someone who had been good her entire life could, in fact, do something evil. People were just as capable of committing murder, under the right circumstances, as any monster.
When you're pregnant, you can think of nothing but having your own body to yourself again; yet after giving birth you realize that the biggest part of you is now somehow external, subject to all sorts of dangers and disappearance, so you spend the rest of your life trying to figure out how to keep her close enough for comfort. That's the strange thing about being a mother: Until you have a baby, you don't even realize how much you were missing one.
You signed no contract to become a parent, but the responsibilities were written in invisible ink. There was a point when you had to support your child, even if no one else would. It was your job to rebuild the bridge, even if your child was the one who burned it in the first place.
Remember when you were a little kid and you'd fall asleep in the car? And someone would carry you out and put you into bed, so that when you woke up in the morning, you knew automatically you were home again? That's what I think it's like to die.
Africa - You can see a sunset and believe you have witnessed the Hand of God. You watch the slope lope of a lioness and forget to breathe. You marvel at the tripod of a giraffe bent to water. In Africa, there are iridescent blues on the wings of birds that you do not see anywhere else in nature. In Africa, in the midday heart, you can see blisters in the atmosphere. When you are in Africa, you feel primordial, rocked in the cradle of the world.
The thing that most people didn't understand, if they weren't in his line if work, was that a rape victim and a victim of a fatal accident were both gone forever. The difference was that the rape victim still had to go through the motions of being alive.
There are some things we do because we convince ourselves it would be better for everyone involved. We tell ourselves that it's the right thing to do, the altruistic thing to do. It's far easier than telling ourselves the truth.
Technically I've improved - I might turn a metaphor in five words now, where years ago, it would have taken me a paragraph. I can't say it was intentional - but you know what they say about practice making perfect...!
Tradionally, parents made decisions for a child, because presumably they are looking out for his or her best interests. But if they are blinded, instead, by the best interests of another one of their children, the system breaks down.
The optimist in me wants to believe sexuality will eventually become like handwriting: there's no right way and wrong way to do it. We're all just wired differently. It's also worth noting that when you meet someone, you never bother to ask if he's right or left-handed. After all: does it really matter to anyone other than the person holding the pen?
Was it the act of giving birth that made you a mother? Did you lose that label when you relinquished your child? If people were measured by their deeds, on the one hand, I had a woman who had chosen to give me up; on the other, I had a woman who'd sat up with me at night when I was sick as a child, who'd cried with me over boyfriends, who'd clapped fiercely at my law school graduation. Which acts made you more of a mother? Both, I realized. Being a parent wasn't just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life.
Nobody wants to admit to this, but bad things will keep on happening. Maybe that's beause it's all a chain, and a long time ago someone did the first bad thing, and that led someone else to do another bad thing, and so on. You know, like that game where you whisper a sentence into someone's ear, and that person whispers it to someone else, and it all comes out wrong in the end. But then again, maybe bad things happen because it's the only way we can keep remembering what good is supposed to look like.
There should be a statute of limitation on grief. A rulebook that says it is all right to wake up crying, but only for a month. That after 42 days you will no longer turn with your heart racing, certain you have heard her call out your name. That there will be no fine imposed if you feel the need to clean out her desk; take down her artwork from the refrigerator; turn over a school portrait as you pass - if only because it cuts you fresh again to see it. That it's okay to measure the time she has been gone, the way we once measured her birthdays.
I have a sister, so I know-that relationship, it's all about fairness: you want your sibling to have exactly what you have-the same amount of toys, the same number of meatballs on your spaghetti, the same share of love. But being a mother is completely different. You want your child to have more than you ever did. You want to build a fire underneath her and watch her soar. It's bigger than words.
You need to learn to write on demand, and to get critiqued without flinching. When someone can rip your work to shreds without it feeling as though your arm has been hacked off, you're ready to send your novel off to an agent.
She stares at me for a moment, and then she bursts out laughing. "You haven't seen his perfect little wife and his perfect little girls. Believe me, Oliver, I'm not the great love of his life, the one he'll never forget." "You are to me," I say.
No matter what Joe Hoffman and Wade Preston say, it's not gender that makes a family; it's love. You don't need a mother and a father; you don't necessarily even need two parents. You just need someone who's got your back.
All teenagers knew this was true. The process of growing up was nothing more than figuring out what doors hadn't yet been slammed in your face. For years, parents tell you that you can be anything, have anything, do anything. That was why she'd been so eager to grow up-until she got to adolescence and hit a big fat wall ofreality. As it turned out, she couldn't have anything she wanted. You didn't get to be pretty or smart or popular just because you wanted it. You didn't control your own destiny, you were too busy trying to fit in.
I think you can love a person too much. You put someone up on a pedestal, and all of a sudden, from that perspective, you notice what's wrong - a hair out of place, a run in a stocking, a broken bone. You spend all your time and energy making it right, and all the while, you are falling apart yourself. You don't even realize what you look like, how far you've deteriorated, because you only have eyes for someone else.
Some women are meant to change the world, while others are meant to hold it together. And then there are those of us who simply don't want to be in it, because we know no matter how much we struggle, we can't comfortably fit.
I'm telling you, if aliens landed on earth today and took a good hard look at why babies get born, they'd conclude that most people had children by accident, or because they drink too much on a certain night, or because birth control isn't one hundred percent, or for a thousand other reasons that really aren't very flattering.
Grief is a curious thing, when it happens unexpectedly. It is a Band-Aid being ripped away, taking the top layer off a family. And the underbelly of a household is never pretty, ours no exception. There were times I stayed in my room for days on end with headphones on, if only so that I would not have to listen to my mother cry. There were the weeks that my father worked round-the-clock shifts, so that he wouldn't have to come home to a house that felt too big for us.
[There's a] point where you have to leave the dough alone. It's silly to anthropomorphize bread, but I love the fact that it needs to sit quietly, to retreat from touch and noise and drama, in order to evolve. I have to admit, I often feel that way myself.
Change is a funny thing. We never are quite sure what we are becoming or even why. Then one day we look at ourselves and wonder who we are and how we got that way. Only one thing about change remains constant...it is always painful
Besides the obvious difference, there was not much distinction between losing a best friend and losing a lover: it was all about intimacy. One moment, you had someone to share your biggest triumphs and fatal flaws with; the next minute, you had to keep them bottled inside. One moment, you'd start to call her to tell her a snippet of news or to vent about your awful day before realizing you did not have that right anymore; the next, you could not remember the digits of her phone number.
I believed the reason there was a God was to prevent such atrocities from happening to the same person twice. But nothing prepared me for this: I have done what I've sworn I could never do; I have become my own nightmare... I have lost control.
I have always envied people who believe strongly in religion, people who could face a tragedy by praying and know that it would be all right. As unscientific as it seems, well, it would be nice to lay the responsibilities and pain on someone else's larger shoulders.
When you have been with your partner for so many years, they become the glove compartment map that you've worn dog-eared and white-creased, the trail you recogonize so well you could draw it by heart and for this very reason keep it with you on journeys at all times. And yet, when you least expect it, one day you open your eyes and there is an unfamiliar turnoff, a vantage point taht wasn't there before, and you have to stop and wonder if maybe this landmark isn't new at all, but rather something you have missed all along.
Ross believed in past lives. Moreover, he believed that the person you fell in love with in each life was the same person you fell in love with in the life before, and the one before that. Sometimes, you might miss her - she'd be reborn in post-World War I generation, and you wouldn't come back until the fifties. Sometimes, your paths would cross and you wouldn't recognize each other. Get it right - that is: fall madly, truly, deeply - and perhaps there'd be an eternity carved out solely for the two of you.
There are stars in the night sky that look brighter than the others, and when you look at them through a telescope you realize you are looking at twins. The two stars rotate around each other, sometimes taking nearly a hundred years to do it. They create so much gravitational pull there's no room around for anything else. You might see a blue star, for example, and realize only later that it has a white dwarf as a companion - that first one shines so bright, by the time you notice the second one, it's too late.
Once upon a time there was a girl who wanted to put her fist through a mirror. She would tell everyone it was so that she could see what was on the other side, but really, it was so that she wouldn't have to look at herself. That, and because she thought she might be able to steal a piece of glass when no one was looking, and use it to carve her heart out of her chest.
You know, Sage, Jesus didn't tell us to forgive everyone. He said turn the other cheek, but only if you the one who was hit. Even the Lord's Prayer says it loud and clear: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. Not others. What Jesus challenges us to do is to let go of the wrong done to you personally, not the wrong done to someone else. But most Christians incorrectly assume that this means that being a good christian means forgiving all sins, and the sinners.
Suddenly I realize that this is what I've been waiting for - a man who depends entirely on me... I dreamed for years of a man who couldn't live without me, a man who pictured my face when he closed his eyes, who loved me when I was a mess in the morning and when dinner was late and even when I overloaded the washing machine and burned out the motor. [My son] stares up at me as if I can do no wrong. I have always wanted someone who treats me the way he does; I just didn't know that I'd have to give birth to him.
When the news you don't want to hear is looming before you like Everest, two things can happen. Tragedy can run you through like a sword, or it can become your backbone. Either you fall apart and sob, or you say, 'Right. What's next?
But this is inaccurate. A runaway train is an accident. Me, I'll jump in front of the tracks. I'll even tie myself down in front of the speeding engine. There's some illogical part of me hat still believes if you want Superman to show up, first there's got to be someone worth saving.
Choices are funny things-ask a native tribe that's eaten grubs and roots forever if they're unhappy, and they'll shrug. But give them filet mignon and truffle sauce and then ask them to go back to living off the land, and they will always be thinking of that gourmet meal. If you don't know there's an alternative, you can't miss it.
I don't know what you think of me. And you certainly would never picture us together. But probably peanut butter was just peanut butter for a long time, before someone ever thought of pairing it with jelly. And there was salt, but it started to taste better when there was pepper. And what's the point of butter without bread? (Why are all these examples of FOODS?!!?!?!?!?!?!) Anyway by myself I'm nothing special. But with you I could be.
But I didn't frame it; I put into an envelope and sealed it and stuffed it far back into a corner drawer of a filing cabinet. It's there, just in case one of these days I start to lose her. There might be a morning when I wake up and her face isn't the first thing I see. Or a lazy August afternoon when I can't quite recall anymore where the freckles were on her right shoulders. Maybe one of these days, I will not be able to listen to the sound of snow falling and hear her footsteps.
If you're afraid of everyone leaving you, what do you do?" Make them stay." And if you can't do that, or don't know how to?" Ellie shrugged. "I don't know." Yes, you do. In fact, you've done it. You leave first," Coop said, "so you don't have to watch them walk away.
She stared at Peter, and she realized that in that one moment, when she hadn't been thinking, she knew exactly what he'd felt as he moved through the school with his backpack and his guns. Every kid in this school played a role: jock, brain, beauty, freak. All Peter had done was what they all secretly dreamed of: be someone, even for just nineteen minutes, who nobody else was allowed to judge.
Peter curled his hands into fists at his sides. 'Kiss me,' he said. She leaned towards him slowly, until her face was too close to be in focus. Her hair fell over Peter's shoulder like a curtain and her eyes closed. She smelled like autumn-like apple cider and slanting sun and the snap of the coming cold. He felt his heart scrambling, caught inside the confines of his own body. Josie's lips landed just on the edge of his, almost his cheek and not quite his mouth. 'I'm glad I wasn't stuck in here alone,' she said shyly, and he tasted the words, sweet as mint on her breath.
when you [lose someone], it feels like the hole in your gum when a tooth falls out. You can chew, you can eat, you have plenty of other teeth, but your tongue keeps going back to that empty place, where all nerves are still a little raw
If you had grown up with me, this is one of the things I would have tried to teach you: Marry a man who loves you more than you love him. Because I have both now, and when it is the other way around, there is no spell in the world that can even out the balance.
Most people who offer their help do it to make themselves feel better, not us. To be honest, I don't blame them. It's superstition: If you give assistance to the family in need... if you throw salt over your shoulder... if you don't step on the cracks, then maybe you'll be immune. Maybe you'll be able to convince yourself that this could never happen to you.
The woman who opens the door has a blue stain on her shirt and dark hair wound into a messy knot and the most beautiful eyes I have ever seen. They're pale, like a lioness's, nearly golden, but they also look like they've done their fair share of crying, and we all know that a sky with clouds in it is much more interesting than one that doesn't have any.
The night is falling down around us. Meteors rain like fireworks, quick rips in the seam of the dark... Every second, another streak of silver glows: parentheses, exclamation points, commas - a whole grammar made of light, for words too hard to speak.
Annie turned away, her eyes glittering. 'Here's what no one tells you,' she said. 'When you deliver a fetus, you get a death certificate, but not a birth certificate. And afterward, your milk comes in, and there's nothing you can do to stop it.' She looked up at me. 'You can't win. Either you have the baby and wear your pain on the outside, or you don't have the baby, and you keep that ache in you forever. I know I didn't do the wrong thing. But I don't feel like I did the right thing, either.
It was always easier for me to show love than to say it. The word reminded me of pralines: small, precious, almost unbearable sweet. I would light up in his presence; I felt like a sun in the constellation of his embrace. But trying to put what I felt for him into words diminished it somehow, like pinning a butterfly under glass, or videotaping a comet.
When you showed someone how you felt, it was fresh and honest. When you told someone how you felt, there might be nothing behind the words but habit or expectation. Those three words were what everyone used; simple syllables couldn't contain something as rare as what I felt for Sean. I wanted him to feel what I felt when I was with him: that incredible combination of comfort, decadence, and wonder; the knowledge that, with just a single taste of him, I was addicted.
I felt a splinter of guilt wedge into my heart. Charlotte had hurt me; in return, I'd hurt Rob. Maybe that's what we do to the people we love: take shots in the dark and realize too late we've wounded the people we're trying to protect.
Sometimes, mothers say and do things that seem like they don't want their kids... but when you look more closely, you realize that they're doing those kids a favor. They're just trying to give them a better life.
It was one thing to make a mistake; it was another thing to keep making it. I knew what happened when you let yourself get close to someone, when you started to believe they loved you: you'd be disappointed. Depend on someone, and you might as well admit you're going to be crushed, because when you really needed them, they wouldn't be there. Either that, or you'd confide in them and you added to their problems. All you ever really had was yourself, and that sort of sucked if you were less than reliable.
Once upon a time there were two sisters. One of them was really, really strong, and one of them wasn't.' You looked at me. 'Your turn.' I rolled my eyes. 'The strong sister went outside into the rain and realized the reason she was strong was because she was made out of iron, but it was raining and she rusted. The end.' No, because the sister who wasn't strong went outside into the rain when it was raining, and hugged her really tight until the sun came out again.
It was a strange thing, to still be in love with your wife and to not know if you liked her. What would happen when this was all over? Could you forgive someone if she hurt you and the people you love, if she truly believed she was only trying to help? I had filed for divorce, but that wasn't what I really wanted. What I really wanted was for all of us to go back two years, and start over. Had I ever really told her that?
Here's what I hadn't realized: the mother you haven't seen for almost thirty-six years isn't your mother, she's a stranger. Sharing DNA doesn't make you fast friends. This wasn't a joyous reunion. It was just awkward.
Betrayal was a stone beneath a mattress of thr bed you shared, something you felt digging into you no matter how you shifted position. What was the point of being able to forgive, when deep down, you both had to admit you'd never forget?
Words got in the way. The things we felt the hardest--like what it was like to have a boy touch you as if you were made of light, or what it meant to be the only person in the room who wasn't noticed--weren't sentences; they were knots in the wood of our bodies, places where our blood flowed backward. If you asked me, not that anyone ever did, the only words worth saying were I'm sorry.
But love wasn't about sacrifice, and it wasn't about falling short of someone's expectations. By definition, love made you better than good enough; it redefined perfection to include your traits, instead of excluding them. All any of us wanted, really, was to know that we counted. That someone else's life would not have been as rich without us here.
I realize then that we never have children, we receive them. And sometimes it's not for quite as long as we would have expected or hoped. But it is still far better than never having had those children at all.
Do you remember the summer we signed you up for camp? And the night before you left, you said you've changed your mind and wanted to stay home? I told you to to get a seat on the left side of the bus, so when you pulled away, you'd be able to look back and see me there waiting for you." I press her hand against my cheek, hard enough to leave a mark. "You get that same seat in Heaven. One where you can watch me, watching you.
There had been so many easy words between them that Daniel was guilty of nodding every now and then and tuning out the excess. He hadn't known, at the time, that he should have been hoarding these, like bits of sea glass hidden in the pocket of a winter coat to remind him that once it had been summer.
I don't understand why people never say what they mean. It's like the immigrants who come to a country and learn the language but are completely baffled by idioms. (Seriously, how could anyone who isn't a native English speaker 'get the picture,' so to speak, and not assume it has something to do with a photo or a painting?)
I know Mark,' I reply. 'And I don't like him.' 'But I do. And part of being social means being civil to someone you don't like.' 'That's stupid. It's a huge world. why not just get up and walk away?' 'Because that's rude,' Jess explains. 'I think it's rude to stick a smile on your face and pretend you like talking to someone when in reality you'd rather be sticking bamboo slivers under your fingernails.
Religion was supposed to be a blanket drawn up to your chin to keep you warm, a promise that when it came to the end, you wouldn't die alone - but it could just as easily leave you shivering out in the cold, if WHAT you believed became more important than the fact THAT you believed.
The best parenting advice I ever got was from a labor nurse who told me the following: 1. After your baby gets here, the dog will just be a dog. 2. The terrible twos last through age three. 3. Never ask your child an open-ended question, such as "Do you want to go to bed now?" You won't want to hear the answer, believe me. "Do you want me to carry you upstairs, or do you want to walk upstairs to go to bed?" That way, you get the outcome you want and they feel empowered.
You came back fighting and furious at me. You told me you'd been looking for mermaids, and I interrupted you. [...] I said that next time, you had to take me with you." "Was there a next time?" "Well, you tell me, you don't need water to feel like you're drowning, do you?
The nurses, I have already learned, are the ones who give us the answers we're desperate for. Unlike the doctors, who fidget like they need to be somewhere else, the nurses patiently answer us as if we are the first set of parents to ever have this kind of meeting with them, instead of the thousandth.
But mostly I wondered why the head could move so swiftly while the heart dragged its feet. I still loved him. It felt like anything else permanent that has gone missing; a lost tooth, a severed leg. You might know better, but that doesn't keep your tongue from poling at the hole in your gum, or your phantom limb from aching.
Somewhere along the line, organized religion stopped being about faith, and started being about who had the power to keep the faith. You said that the purpose of religion was to bring people together. But does it, really? Or does it-knowingly, purposefully, and intentionally--break them apart?
It's just like nurses in a hospital tend to know more than the doctors most of the time; if you really want to get the answers to a question about court, you should spend more time buttering up the clerks than the judges.
I'm not saying you did the wrong thing. I'm not even saying it wasn't something I'd thought of doing, myself. But even if it was the just thing to do, or the fitting thing, it still wasn't the right thing.
But what if your obsession has nothing to do with drugs or thrills or money? What if what you want most in the world is to recapture the way life was a week, a month, a year ago-and you are willing to do whatever it takes?
Real mothers don't just listen with humble embarrassment to the elderly lady who offers unsolicited advice in the checkout line when a child is throwing a tantrum. We take the child, dump him in the lady's cart, and say, "Great. Maybe you can do a better job." Real mothers know that it's okay to eat cold pizza for breakfast. Real mothers admit it is easier to fail at this job than to succeed.
Three months ago, if you asked me, I would have told you that if you really loved someone, you'd let them go. But now I look at you, and I dreamed about Maggie, and I see that I've been wrong. If you really love someone, Allie, I think you have to take them back.
Like Connor, Alex protected me -and he was the only person I let close enough to do it. Like Connor, Alex could finish my sentences before I did. But unlike Connor, for whom I had ultimately come too late, I was just in time to take care of Alex.
if i have gained anything over these months, it is the knowledge there is no starting over - only living with the mistakes you've made. but then, caleb taught me long ago you can't build anything without some sort of foundation. maybe we learn to live our lives by understanding, firsthand, how not to live them.
I learned a lot that night. For example, that part of being the magician's assistant means coming face-to-face with illusion. That invisibility is really just knotting your body in a certain way and letting the black curtain fall over you. That people don't vanish into thin air; that when you can't find someone, it's because you've been misdirected to look elsewhere.
by now you've already formed your own impression. you believe that an act committed a lifetime ago defines a man, or you believe that a person's past has nothing to do with his future. you think i am either a hero, or a monster. maybe knowning more about circumstances will make you think differently about me, but it won't change what happened twenty-eight years ago.
let me tell you what happens when you cook down the syrup of loss over the open fire of sorrow: it solidfies into something wlaw. not grief, like you'd expect, or even regret. no, it gets thick as paste, black as ash; yet it isn't until you dip a finger in and feel that sharp taste dissolving on your tounge that you realize this is angel in its purest form, unrefined; a substance to be weighed and measyred and spread.
when you want something so desperately, you shake with the need for it. you tell yourself that you don't need more than one sip, because it's just the taste you crave, and once it's on your tongue you will be able to make it last alifetime. you dream of it at night. you see a thousand mile-high obstacles between where you stand and what you want, and you convince yourself you have the power to hurdle them. you tell yourself this even when, leaping the first block, you wind up bruised and bloodied and flattened.
it it strange, suddenly having a memory come back out of nowhere. you think you're going crazy; you wonder where this recollection has been hiding all your life. you try to push it away, because you think you've hammered out the whole timeline of your life, but then you see that one extra moment, and suddendly you are breaking apart what you though was a solid segment, and seeing it for what it is: just a string of events, shoulder to shoulder, and a gap where there is room for one more.
Wheather it is conscious or not, you eventually make the decision to divide your life in half - before and after - with loss being that tight bubble in the middle. You can move around in spite of it; you can laugh and smile and carry on with your life, but all it takes is one slow range of motion, a doubling over, to be fully aware of the empty space at your center.
I think a persons life is supposed to be like a DVD. You can see the version everyone else sees, or you can choose the directors cut-the way he wanted you to see it, before everything else got in the way. There are menus, probably, so that you can start at the good spots and not have to relive the bad ones. You can measure your life by the number of scenes you've survived, or the minutes you've been stuck there. Probably, though, life is more like one of those dumb video surveillance tapes. Grainy, no matter how hard you stare at it. And looped: the same thing, over and over.
I am not a religious man. I have not attended a service for many years. But I do believe in God. My own practice of religion, you could say, it a nonpractice. I personally feel that it's just as worthy on a weekend to rake the lawns of an elderly neighbor or to climb a mountain and marvel at the beauty of this land we live in as it is to sing hosannas or go to Mass. In other words, I think every many finds his own church- and not all of them have four walls - Judge Haig (Page 399)
Ask a kid who's struggling in math if he likes being in a mixed-level class, and he'll tell you he feels like a moron. Ask the math genius if he likes being in a mixed-level class, and he'll tell you he's sick of doing all the work during group projects. Sometimes, it's better to sort like with like.
Ross was a firm believer that you could not force circumstance. You could buckle your seat belt, but still crash the car. You could throw yourself in front of an oncoming train, but somehow survive. You could wait for years to find a ghost, and then have one sneak up on you when you were too busy falling in love with a woman to pay attention. To that end, he made the conscious decision to stop waiting for Lia. When he least expected her, that was when she would show up.
The brain of a person in love will show activity in the amygdala, which is associated with gut feelings, and in the nucleus accumbens, an area associated with rewarding stimuli that tends to be active in drug abusers. Or, to recap: the brain of a person in love doesn't look like the brain of someone overcome by deep emotion. It looks like the brain of a person who's been snorting coke.
Eric understands that the world is rarelythe way it is supposed to be. And he knows that, given the chance, we don't have to wait for someone to make messes of our lives. We do a good enough job, ourselves.
We sit for a few more moments, although there's really nothing left to say. This is new to me, too, an entire conversation that takes place in silence, because the heart has its own language. I will remember what Eric says even though he doesn't say a word. I will tell it to her.
The first question she was asked was What do you do? as if that were enough to define you. Nobody ever asked you who you really were, because that changed. You might be a judge or a mother or a dreamer. You might be a loner or a visionary or a pessimist. You might be the victim, and you might be the bully. You could be the parent, and also the child. You might wond one day and heal the next.
And that was the greatest heartbreak of all- no matter how spectacular we want our children to be, no matter how perfect we pretend they are, they are bound to disappoint. As it turns out, kids are more like us than we think: damaged, through and through.
Imagine if you were the positive pole of a magnet, and you were told that under no circumstances were you allowed to touch that negative pole that was sucking you in like a black hole. Or if you crawled out of the desert and found a woman standing with a pitcher of ice water, but she held it out of your reach. Imagine jumping off a building, and then being told not to fall. That's what it feels like to want a drink.
The first time she kissed me, I truly thought I'd had an aneurysm - my pulse was thundering so loud and my senses were exploding. This, I remember thinking, the only word I could hold on to in a sea of feelings.
Summertime, I think, is a collective unconscious. We all remember the notes that made up the song of the ice cream man; we all know what it feels like to brand our thighs on a playground slide that's heated up like a knife in a fire; we all have lain on our backs with our eyes closed and our hearts beating across the surface of our lids, hoping that this day will stretch just a little longer than the last one, when in fact it's all going in the other direction.
Maybe if you spend your life pretending you're on a movie set, you don't ever have to admit that the walls are made out of paper and the food is plastic and the words in your mouth aren't really yours.
There's a cliff at the end point of a person's life; most us of peer over the edge of it, hanging on. That's why, when someone chooses to let go, it's so dramatically visible. The body will seem almost transparent. The eys will be looking at something the rest of us can't see.
It is so strange, to encounter an ex. It's as if you're in a foreign film, and what you're saying face-to-face has nothing to do with the subtitles flowing beneath you. We are so careful not to touch, although once upon a time, I slept plastered to him in our bed, like lichen on a rock. We are two strangers who knows every shameful secret, every hidden freckle, every fatal flaw in each other.
There was a fine line between love and hate you heard that cliche all the time. But no one told you that the moment you crossed it would be the one you least expected. You'd fall in love and crack open a secret door to let your soul mate in. You just never expected such closeness one day to feel like an intrusion.
On my license, it says I'm an organ donor, but the truth is I'd consider being an organ martyr. I'm sure I'm worth a lot more dead than alive - the sum of the parts equal more than the whole. I wonder who might wind up walking around with my liver, my lungs, even my eyeballs. I wonder what poor asshole would get stuck with whatever it is in me that passes for a heart.
You don't love someone because they're perfect," she says. "You love them in spite of the fact that they're not." I don't know how to respond to that; it's like being told after thirty-five years that the sky, which I've seen as a brilliant blue, is in fact rather green.
Life could take on any number of shapes while you were busy fighting your own demons. But if you were changing at the same rate as the person beside you, nothing else really mattered. You became each other's constant.
...because he believed that if you wanted to get rid of a hole, you filled it. He had not realized at the time that there were all sorts of filler that took up space, but had no substance. That made you feel just as empty.
There's got to be a moment when that baby [flying] squirrel looks from the end of one branch to the tree six feet away and thinks twice about making a leap. Falling in love is no different; it's the moment that we close our eyes and throw away everything that seems reasonable and hope to God there's someone or something waiting to catch us on the other side.
Do you know how, when you are on the verge of a breakdown, the world pounds in your ears; a rush of blood, of consequence? Do you now how it feels when the truth cuts your tongue to ribbons, and still you have to speak it?
Kid says to me, "You play baseball? What position? Left out?" and gets a big laugh from the rest of the class. Kid is only one person out of 6.792 billion humans on this planet. This planet is only one-eighth of the solar system, whose sun is one of two billion stars in the Milky Way galaxy. Put it that way, the comment loses it's importance.
The problem was, you couldn't have one without the other. There couldn't be a bad guy unless there was a good guy to create the standard. And there couldn't be a good guy until a bad guy showed just how far off the path he might stray.
What does it feel like?" he asked. "What does what feel like?" Peter thought for a moment. "Being at the top." Josie reached across him for another packet of material and fed it into the stapler. She did three of these, and Peter was certain that she was going to ignore him, but then she spoke. "Like if you take one wrong step," she said, "you're going to fall.
How do you tell someone that you weren't the person he thought you were? And more importantly, how did you tell him that you'd meant the things you'd said, when everything else about you turned out to be a lie.
The first time someone I loved left me behind...I didn't know how my family would balance. We had been such a sturdy little end table, four solid legs. I was sure we would now be off-kilter, always unstable. Until one day I looked more closely, and realized that we had simply become a stool.
That's because you've never been one. You haven't spent years wearing someone else's clothes, taking someone else's name, living in someone else's houses, and working someone else's job to fit in. And if you don't sell out, then you run away... proving you're the Gypsy they said you were all along.
The real power of a wolf isn't in its fearsome jaws, which can clench with fifteen hundred pounds of pressure per square inch. The real power of a wolf is having that strength, and knowing when not to use it.
I didn't think i could possibly love another baby as much as I loved the one I'd already had," I continue. "But the strangest thing happened when I held you for the first time. It was like my heart suddenly unfolded. Like there was this secret space I didn't even know existed, and there was room for both of you." I stare at her. "Once my feelings were stretched like that, there was no going back. Without you, it just would have felt empty.
There's an honesty to the wolf world that is liberating. There's no diplomacy, no decorum. You tell your enemy you hate him; you show your admiration by confessing the truth. That directness doesn't work with humans, who are masters of subterfuge. Does this dress make me look fat? Do you really love me? Did you miss me? When a person asks this, she doesn't want to know the real answer. She wants you to lie to her. After two years of living with wolves, I had forgotten how many lies it takes to build a relationship.
It just goes to show you: you can put nine insane miles between you and another person. You can make a vow to never speak his name. You can surgically remove someone from your life. And still, he'll haunt you.
Here I am, wasting away inside a book I wish I could escape, and all she wants to do is stay in the story. If I could talk to this girl Delilah, I'd ask her why on earth she would ever trade a single second of the world she's in for the one in which I'm stuck
This must be what an addict feels like, I think, trying to fight the pull of one last, quick read. My fingers itch toward the binding, and finally, with a sigh of regret, I just grab the book and open it, hungrily reading the story.
I believe that you can fall in love many times with many different people. However, I don't think that you can fall in love the same way twice. One type of relationship may be steady. Another may be fire and brimstone. Who is to say if one of these is better that the other? The deciding factor is how it all fits together. Your love, I mean, and your life.
I've never been in love, but I've always imagined it--weirdly--like some sort of OxiClean commercial. The TV host shows a scene from an ordinary day, and then takes a big old sponge soaked in love and swipes away the stains. Suddenly that same scene is missing all the mistakes, all the loneliness. The colors are like jewels, ten times richer than they were before. The music is louder and clearer. "Love," the host will say, "makes life a little brighter.
We'd sit with a big bowl of popcorn, wrapped together in a queen-size blanket, and would escape to a place where magic was ours for the taking, where men rescued the people they loved instead of abandoning them. A place where, no matter how bad things looked at that moment, there would always be a happy ending.
You know, Michael, I used to sit around looking for a way to make sense of what happened, like there was some kind of answer I could find if I just looked hard enough. Then one day I realized that if there had been one, Dave would still be here. And I wondered if this...this feeling that I couldn't figure it all out...was what Dave had been feeling, too.
You know why I think we still execute people? Because, even if we don't want to say it out loud-for the really heinous crimes, we want to know that there's a really heinous punishment. Simple as that. We want to bring society closer together-huddle and circle our wagons-and that means getting rid of people we think are incapable of learning a moral lesson. I guess the question is: Who gets to identify those people? And what if, God forbid, they got it wrong?
May I ask you something?" I say. "Why do you read books, when you could be outside, living a million different adventures every day?" "Because you can always count on a book to stay the same. EVerything else changes when you least expect it," she replies, bitter. "Families split apart, and nothing's forever. In books, you always know what's coming next. There are no surprises.
[Jules] slides into a seat beside me with her hot lunch tray, sighing. "Four hours, thirty-six minutes, and twelve seconds till we're out of purgatory for the weekend." "Maybe later," I murmur, still distracted by the day's previous events. "So, let me show you how a conversation works. I say something, and then you say something back that actually relates to what I was talking about, as if you were even the least bit interested." "Huh?" I say.
Just so you know, when they say "once upon a time"....they're lying. It's not once upon a time. Its not even twice upon a time. It's hundreds of times, over and over, every time someone opens up the pages of this dusty old book.
And just like that, something inside shifted very subtly, so that all the empty spaces in him suddenly disappeared, so that his breath timed to hers, so that his blood sang. This is why there was music, he realized. There were some feelings that just didn't have words big enough to describe them.
She's not like anyone I've ever seen before. When I'm not with her, I want to be. And when she opens the book and I see her face, I can barely remember what I'm supposed to say, much less how to speak at all." I test the words on my tongue. "I think I might be in love with her. But how can I really know, since the only love I've ever experienced was written for me?
There are so many ways to betray someone. You can whisper behind his back. You can deceive him on purpose. You can deliver him into the hands of his enemy, when he trusts you. You can break a promise. The question is, if you do any of those things, are you also betraying yourself?
There are all sorts of losses people suffer - from the small to the large. You can lose your keys, your glasses, your virginity. You can lose your head, you can lose your heart, you can lose your mind. You can relinquish your home to move into assisted living, or have a child move overseas, or see a spouse vanish into dementia. Loss is more than just death, and grief is the gray shape-shifter of emotion.
You can blame your ugliness for keeping people at bay, when in reality you're crippled by the thought of letting another person close enough to popentially scar you even more deeply. You can tell yourself that it's safer to love someone who will never really love you back, because you can't lose someone you never had.
I pointed to the wound. "It's missing," I said. My grandmother smiled, and that was all it took for me to stop seeing the scar, and to recognize her again. "Yes," she said. "But see how much of me is left?
I love feeling loved. I don't love knowing that I will always come in second place. I love the fact that at least sometimes when I am in my home, I'm not alone. I don't love the fact that it's not always. I love not having to answer to him. I don't love that he doesn't answer to me. I love the way I feel when I am with him. I don't love the way I feel when I'm not.
I started writing when I had three kids under the age of 4. I used to write every ten minutes I got to sit in front of a computer. Now, when I have more time, I function the same way: if it's writing time, I write.
It was so damn hard to find love in this world, to locate someone who could make you feel that there was a reason you'd been put on this earth. A child, I imagined, was the purest form of that. A child was the love you didn't have to look for, didn't have to prove anything to, didn't have to worry about losing. Which is why, when it happened, it hurt so badly.
There's no way to explain to a child that the line between good and evil isn't nearly as black and white as a fairy tale would leave you to believe. That an ordinary person can turn into a villain, under the right circumstances. That sometimes we dragon slayers do things we aren't proud of.
Iknew that all the attributes he was teased for, at age five, were going to work in his favor by thetime he was thirty-five...but I couldn't get him there overnight. You can't fast-forward your child'slife, no matter how much you want to.
Honey, Kate is not going to die sooner because you have one more glass of mine, or because you stay overnight in a hotel, or because you let yourself crack up at a bad joke. So sit your ass back down and turn up the volume and act like you're a normal person.
I'm always writing, even when I'm not at my desk. I write on my hands. I used to write on my kids' hands, too, but they don't let me any more. When I'm driving I sometimes write all the way up my arms.
You can argue that it's a different world now than the one when Matthew Shepard was killed, but there is a subtle difference between tolerance and acceptance. It's the distance between moving into the cul-de-sac and having your next door neighbor trust you to keep an eye on her preschool daughter for a few minutes while she runs out to the post office. It's the chasm between being invited to a colleague's wedding with your same-sex partner and being able to slow-dance without the other guests whispering.
I think the 'New York Times' reviews overall tend to overlook popular fiction, whether you're a man, woman, white, black, purple or pink. I think there are a lot of readers who would like to see reviews that belong in the range of commercial fiction.
Do you know how sometimes - when you are riding your bike and you start skidding across sand, or when you miss a step and start tumbling down the stairs - you have those long, long seconds to know that you are going to be hurt, and badly?
At 17, the smallest crises took on tremendous proportions; someone else's thoughts could take root in the loam of your own mind; having someone accept you was as vital as oxygen. Adults, light years away from this, rolled their eyes and smirked and said, 'This too shall pass' - as if adolescence was a disease like chicken pox, something everyone recalled as a milk nuisance, completely forgetting how painful it had been at the time.
I have never fit into this town, this marriage, this skin. I am the child who was picked last to play tag; I am the girl who laughed although she did not get the joke; I am the piecemeal part of you that you pretend doesn't exist, except it is all I am, all the time.
He began to trace a pattern on the table with the nail of his thumb. "She kept saying she wanted to keep things exactly the way they were, and that she wished she could stop everything from changing. She got really nervous, like, talking about the future. She once told me that she could see herself now, and she could also see the kind of life she wanted to have - kids, husband, suburbs, you know - but she couldn't figure out how to get from point A to point B.
I know better than most people that a criminal isn't always a thug in a black leather jacket with a big brand on his forehead to warn us away. Criminals sit next to us on the bus. They pack our groceries and cash our paychecks for us and teach our children. They look no different from you or me. And that's why they get away with it.
Bad is not an absolute, but a relative term. Ask the robber who used the cash he stole to feed his infant; the rapist who was sexually abused as a child; the kidnapper who truly believed he was saving a life. And just because you break the law doesn't mean you have intentionally crossed the line into evil. Sometimes the line creeps up on you, and before you know it, you're standing on the other side.
How could he convey to someone who'd never even met her the way she always smelled like rain, or how his stomach knotted up every time he saw her shake loose her hair from its braid? How could he describe how it felt when she finished his sentences, turnec the mug they were sharing so that her mouth landed where his had been? How did he explain the way they could be in a locker room, or underwater, or in the piney woods of Maine, bus as long as Em was with him, he was at home?
When you don't fit in, you become superhuman. You can feel everyone else's eyes on you, stuck like Velcro. You can hear a whisper about you from a mile away. You can disappear, even when it looks like you're still standing right there. You can scream, and nobody hears a sound. You become the mutant who fell into the vat of acid, the Joker who can't remove his mask, the bionic man who's missing all his limbs and none of his heart. You are the thing that used to be normal, but that was so long ago, you can't even remember what it was like.
My teacher in first grade said that long ago people used to believe all kinds of things, because they didn't know any better. Like you shouldn't take a bath, because it could make you sick. And then someone saw germs under a microscope and started to think differently. You can believe something really hard, and still be wrong. (Faith White)
When feeling came back, in a storm of color and force and sensation, the most you could do was hold on to the person beside you and hope you could weather it. Alex closed her eyes and expected the worst-but it wasn't a bad thing; it was just a different thing. A messier one, more complicated one. She hesitated, and then she kissed Patrick back, willing to concede that you might have to lose control before you could find what you'd been missing.
Whether or not belive in Fate comes down to one thing: who you blame when something goes wrong. Do you think it's your fault - that if you'd tried better, worked harder, it wouldn't have happened? Or do you just chalk it up to circumstance? I know poeple who'll hear about the people who died, and will say that it was God's will. I know people who'll say it was bad luck. And then there's my personal favorite: They were just in the wrong place at hte wrong time. Then again, you could say the same thing about me, couldn't you?
If it's us", she whispered, "how come you get to decide?" When he didn't answer - couldn't answer - she turned and stared out the front window. As it turned out, they were still in the parking lot. They hadn't gotten anywhere at all.
If it had been easy for Romeo to get to Juliet, nobody would have cared. Same goes for Cyrano and Don Quixote and Gatsby and their respective paramours. What captures the imagination is watching men throw themselves at a brick wall over and over again, and wondering if this is the time that they won't be able to get back up.
What if it turns out that a life isn't defined by who you belong to or where you came from, by what you wished for or whom you've lost, but instead by the moments you spend getting from each of these places to the next?
She felt a cage coming down around her; too late she realized that he had her trapped by the heart. And like any unwilling animal that was well and truly caught, she could escape only by leaving a piece of herself behind.
No," he said calmly, filled with purpose. he took her arms lightly in his hands and shook her. "I am not giving you up." Emily looked at him, and for just a moment he could read her thoughts. Melanie use to say they were like twins, with their own secret, silent language. in that instant, Chris felt her fear and her resignation, and the knotty pain of coming up against a brick wall again and again. She glanced away, and he could breathe again. "The thing is, Chris" Emily said, "it's not your choice.
She was all the things I wasn't. And i was all the things she wasn't. she could paint circles around anyone; I couldn't even draw a straight line. She was never into sports; I've always been. Her hand, it fit mine.
I suddenly remember being very little and being embraced by my father. I would try to put my arms around my father's waist, hug him back. I could never reach the whole way around the equator of his body; he was that much larger than life. Then one day, I could do it. I held him, instead of him holding me, and all I wanted at that moment was to have it back the other way.
This was something she would keep hidden within herself, maybe in place of the knot of pain and anger she had been carrying under her breastbone...a security blanket, an ace up her sleeve. She might never use it, but she would always feel its presence like a swelling secret stone, and that way when she let go of the rage, she would not feel nearly as empty.
I knew that somewhere God was laughing. He had taken the other half of my heart, the one person who knew me better than I knew myself, and He had done what nothing else could do. By bringing us together, He had set into motion the one thing that could tear us apart.
With these words Jake had let go of me. Which proved that he knew more about why I was leaving than even I did. I had believed that I was running away from what had happened. I did not know, not until I met Nicholas days later, that the whole time I was really running towards what was yet to be.
I smiled at him as best I could and pushed the paper across the table before he could change his mind. Because Henry DeVille was correct - there was an ingredient in my baking more concenctrated than any extract, more pungent than any spice; an ingredient that everyone would recognize and no one was able to name: it was regret, and it rose when one least expected.
Maybe you had to leave in order to really miss a place; maybe you had to travel to figure out how beloved your starting point was... ...Parents aren't the people you come from. They're the people you want to be, when you grow up. I sat between my mother and my father, watching strangers on TV carry in Shaker rockers and dusty paintings and ancient beer tankards and cranberry glass dishes; people and their hidden treasures, who had to be told by experts that they'd taken something incredibly precious for granted.
I have no idea what Andrew might have done, and I do not ask. She believes that I can fix this, and like always, that's enough to make me think that I can. "I'll take care of it,: I say, when what I really mean is: I'll take care of you.
I could tell her from personal experience that when people we love make choices we don't always understand them. But we can go on loving them, just the same. It isn't a matter of comprehension. It's forgiveness. But all this took me a lifetime to discover, and where has it gotten me?... Some lessons can't be taught, they simply have to be learned.
On a really dark night, you can see between 1,000 and 1,500 stars, and there are millions more that haven't been discovered. It is so easy to think that the world revolves around you, but all you have to do is stare up at the sky to realize it isn't that way at all. -Brian Fitzgerald
That the sum of a man's life was not where he wound up but in the details that brought him there. That we made mistakes. I closed my eyes, sick of the riddles, and to my surprise all I could see were dandelions-as if they had been painted on the fields of my imagination, a hundred thousand suns. And I remembered something else that makes us human: faith, the only weapon in our arsenal to battle doubt.
The joke's on them. One little hypodermic wont' be enough. Split a piece of wood, and they'll find me. Lift up a stone, and they'll find me. Look in the mirror, and they'll find me...If you really want to know what makes someone a killer, ask yourself what would make you do it.
There are all sorts of experiences we can't really put a name to...The birth of a child, for one. Or the death of a parent. Falling in love. Words are like nets--we hope they'll cover what we mean, but we know they can't possibly hold that much joy, grief, or wonder. Finding God is like that, too. If it's happened to you, you know what it feels like. But try to describe it to someone else--and language only takes you so far.
Sara: "You are so brave," I tell her, and then I smile. "When I grow up, I want to be just like you." To my surprise, Kate shakes her head hard. Her voice is a feather, a thread. "No Mommy," she says. "You'd be sick.
My mother moves so fast I do not even see it coming. But she slaps my face hard enough to make my head snap backward. She leaves a print that stains me long after it's faded. Just so you know: shame is five-fingered.
Anna is the only proof I have that I was born into this family. Instead of dropped off on the doorstep by some Bonnie and Clyde couple that ran off into the night. On the surface, we're polar opposites. Under the skin, though, we're the same: people think they know what they're getting, and they're always wrong. (Jesse)
Ross held her face between his hands and kissed her. He tasted doubt on her tongue and pain on the roof of her mouth. He swallowed these, and drank again. Consumed, she had no choice but to see how empty he was inside, and how, sip by sip, she filled him.
Her hands quieted. "Yeah. Because even if the law says that no one is responsible for anyone else, helping someone who needs it is the right thing to do." I sat down beside her, close enough that the skin of her arm hummed right next to mine. "You really believe that?" She looked down at her lap "Yeah." Then how," I asked, "can you walk away from me?
You have everything," she said slowly, as if she were explaining the order of the world to a small child. "A family, a great job, a lot of people who look up to you. You've got a place to go home to." She smiled a little. "So go.
I thought of all the magazine article I'd read on mothers who worked and constantly felt guilty about leaving their children with someone else. I had trained myself to read pieces like that and silently say to myself, 'See how lucky you are?' But it had been gnawing at the inside, that part that didn't fit, that I never let myself even think about. After all, wasn't it a worse kind of guilt to be with your child and to know that you wanted to be anywhere but there?
Oh,that's right. You're a...what did you call it? Ah, a ghost hunter. You don't have to see things to believe them." Adam's gaze locked onto the persecutor's. "Maybe you've got that backward," he said. "Maybe it's just that I believe things you cant see.
Memories are like a still life painted by ten different student artists: some will be blue-based; others red; some will be as stark as Picasso and others as rich as Rembrandt; some will be foreshortened and others distant. Recollections are in the eye of the beholder; no two held up side by side will ever quite match.
Coop kissed me deeply, drawing my breath from me in a long, sweet ribbon. "Perhaps I haven't mentioned it, but I'm an expert when it comes to first steps." Are you," I said. "Then tell me how." You close your eyes," Coop answered, "and jump.
Did you ever wonder if the person in the picture is the same one you see when you look in the mirror?" - "That's the eternal question, isn't it? Are we born who we are, or do we make ourselves that way?
You know what I noticed when I was with Jacob? In your world, people can reach each other in an instant. There's the telephone, and the fax - and on the computer you can talk to someone all the way around the world. You've got people telling their secrets on TV talk shows, and magazines that publish pictures of movie stars trying to hide their homes. All those connections, but everyone there seems so lonely.
There are legions of us, I realized. The mothers who have broken babies, and spend the rest of our lives wondering if we should have spared them. And the mothers who have let their broken babies go, who look at our children and see instead the faces of the ones they never met.
Normal, in our house, is like a blanket too short for a bed--sometimes it covers you just fine, and other times it leaves you cold and shaking; and worst of all, you never know which of the two it's going to be.
There are certain things that I'll hear about and that I think will make a great book and I put it in a file. Sometimes it's a situation that interests me, and I don't even realize what I'm trying to say about it until I get closer to it. Sometimes the book after that I've written 125 pages of, and I can tell you what the book is after that. I just sort of have a linear progression, but more than anything, the topics land in your lap. I don't feel that I go out searching for them.
I can get 400 pages down the road and still not know the answer. What I do know is that I have really examined every facet of the situation, and I may not have changed my opinion but I have definitely forced myself to explore why it's my opinion.
If you don't believe in yourself, and you don't have the fortitude to make that dream happen, why should the hotshots in the publishing world take a chance on you? I don't believe that you need an MFA to be a writer, but I do think you need to take some good workshops.
I love getting fan mail. Often, as a writer, you never know what your readers think of a book... you get critical reviews and sales figures, but none of that is the same as knowing you've made a person stay up all night reading, or helped them have a good cry, or really touched their life.
A lot of the moms of autistic kids I met are so consumed with being their child's advocate that there's no room for anything else - least of all themselves. It's why so many marriages end in divorce, when a child is diagnosed on the spectrum.
Have a conversation with your family about your end-of-life wishes while you are healthy. No one wants to have that discussion... but if you do, you'll be giving your loved ones a tremendous gift, since they won't have to guess what your wishes would have been, and it takes the onus of responsibility off of them.
Fiction allows for moral questioning, but through the back door. Personally, I like books that make you think - books you're still wondering about three days after you finish them; books you hand to a friend and say "Read this, so we can talk about it."
I am always consulted about covers, and give feedback, but I am also aware that what causes a customer to pick a book up off a shelf in the UK is very different from what causes a customer to pick a book up in the US.
I don't want to tell people what to think. I'm the least qualified person in the world for that. If I'd go around pretending to be the expert on everything, I'd become Dan Brown, and I don't understand that. We all do our research if we're good writers, and we all work hard to get it right, but that doesn't mean we're experts in the field. The best we can do is challenge people to learn the facts themselves.