There were moments when one’s past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect.
Joseph Conrad, ‘Heart Of Darkness’
The most shocking thing for foreigners visiting, say, Belfast in the long years of conflict was not the troops and armoured vehicles on the streets or the ever-present possibility of bombs or murders. It was the normality. Mundane reality was not displaced by the violence but continued alongside it.
The Irish Times, 2017-06-04
“I hope you will abandon the urge to simplify everything, to look for formulas and easy answers, and begin to think multidimensionally, to glory in the mystery and paradoxes of life, not to be dismayed by the multitude of causes and consequences that are inherent in each experience – to appreciate the fact that life is complex.”
M Scott Peck, ‘Further Along The Road Less Traveled’
Who really can face the future? All you can do is project from the past, even when the past shows that such projections are often wrong. And who really can forget the past? What else is there to know?
Robert M Pirsig, ‘Zen And The Art Of Motorcycle Maintenance’
Ours is essentially a tragic age, so we refuse to take it tragically. The cataclysm has happened, we are among the ruins, we start to build up new little habitats, to have new little hopes. It is rather hard work: there is now no smooth road into the future: but we go round, or scramble over the obstacles. We’ve got to live, no matter how many skies have fallen.
DH Lawrence, ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’
When a man invents an image that he wants to propagate, that he may even want to substitute for himself, he starts by experimenting, making mistakes, sketching out freaks and other non-viable monsters that he has to tear up unless they disintegrate of their own accord. But the operative image is the one that’s left after the person dies or withdraws from the world, as in the case of Socrates, Christ, Saladin, Saint-Just and so on. They succeeded in projecting an image around themselves and into the future. It doesn’t matter whether or not the image corresponds to what they were really like: they managed to wrest a powerful image from that reality.
Jean Genet, ‘Prisoner Of Love’
Scars are not injuries, Tanner Sack. A scar is a healing. After injury, a scar is what makes you whole.
China Miéville, ‘The Scar’
It is remarkable how a man cannot summarize his thoughts in even the most general sort of way without betraying himself completely, without putting his whole self into it, quite unawares, presenting as if in allegory the basic themes and problems of his life.
Thomas Mann, ‘The Magic Mountain’
But the ominous thing in the crow’s flight, the bare-faced, bandit thing, the tattered beggarly gipsy thing, the caressing and shaping yet slightly clumsy gesture of the down-stroke, as if the wings were both too heavy and too powerful, and the headlong sort of merriment, the macabre pantomime ghoulishness and the undertaker sleekness – you could go on for a very long time with phrases of that sort and still have completely missed your instant, glimpse knowledge of the world of the crow’s wingbeat.
Ted Hughes, ‘Poetry In The Making’