We can never establish with certainty which part of our relations with others is the result of our emotions - love, antipathy, charity, or malice - and what part is predetermined by the constant power play among individuals.
Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”
Perhaps all the questions we ask of love to measure, test, probe, and save it, have the additional effect of cutting it short. Perhaps the reason we are unable to love is that we yearn to be loved, that is, we demand something (love) from our partner instead of delivering ourselves up to him demand-free and asking for nothing but his company.
Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”
That is why man cannot be happy: happiness is the longing for repetition.
Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”
He was not obsessed with women, he was obsessed with what in each of them is unimaginable, obsessed, in other words, with the one-millionth part that makes a woman dissimilar to others of her sex.
Milan Kundera, “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”
Reading is something that is in a way necessary like heaven or a clean collar, but not important. We want culture but don’t want to go to any trouble to get it. We prefer reading condensations.
William Faulkner
Ernest Hemingway: he has no courage, has never crawled out on a limb. He has never been known to use a word that might cause a reader to check with a dictionary to see if it is properly used.
William Faulkner
When you are young you are sensitive but don’t know it.
William Faulkner
How long has it been since you wrote a story where your real love or your real hatred somehow got onto the paper? When was the last time you dared release a cherished prejudice so it slammed the page like a lightning bolt? What are the best things and the worst things in your life, and when are you going to get around to whispering or shouting them?
Ray Bradbury, “Zen in the Art of Writing”
The life of a writer is absolute hell compared to the life of a businessman. The writer has to force himself to work He has to make his own hours and if he doesn’t go to his desk at all there is nobody to scold him…A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.
Roald Dahl
My grandparents were secular Jews, but it didn’t matter. With a child like that, you tucked a prayer into his name, just for the heck of it.
Nomi Eve, “Unraveling a Dark Family Secret” - Modern Love, NYT
I remember riding in a taxi one afternoon between very tall buildings under a mauve and rosy sky; I began to bawl because I had everything I wanted and knew I would never be so happy again.
F. Scott Fitzgerald, “My Lost City”
In retrospect it seems to me that those days before I knew the names of all the bridges were happier than the ones that came later.
Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”
I remember one day when someone who did have the West Village number came to pick me up for lunch there, and we both had hangovers, and I cut my finger opening him a beer and burst into tears, and we walked to a Spanish restaurant and drank Bloody Marys and gazpacho until we felt better. I was not then guilt-ridden about spending afternoons that way, because I still had all the afternoons in the world.
Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”
I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.
Joan Didion, “Goodbye to All That”