“There’s a trick to this part of the vacuuming,” I tell Hollis.
“Which is?” he asks, sighing and seeming low on patience.
“O.K., you don’t ever go back there behind the couch. The cat has stuff stored back there.”
He’s looking at me.
I say, “It’s her house too.”
“You could train her. You could teach her to pick up her goddamn toys and put them where they belong.”
“But I have,” I say. “She did. They are. That is.”
-Mary Robison (is my new jesus)
They continued the following evening under the heading “Other Pitiful Animals.”
“Small animals are a great problem. I wish God had never created small animals, or else that He had made them so they could talk, or else that He’d given them better faces. Space. Take moths. They fly at the lamp and burn themselves, and then they fly right back again. It can’t be instinct, because that isn’t the way it works. They just don’t understand, so they go right on doing it. Then they lie on their backs and all their legs quiver, and then they’re dead. Did you get all that? Does it sound good?
“Very good,” Grandmother said.
Sophia stood up and shouted, “Say this: say I hate everything that dies slow! Say I hate everything that won’t let you help! Did you write that?”
-from “Of Angleworms and Others” in The Summer Book by Tove Jansson
This book. Seriously, so good. I could type out the whole thing. Pick it up, open it at random and you’re reading some of the cleanest, most precise, innovative language I’ve read. Good, good, good, good.
Before they can stand up or try to settle things with Mrs. Kalushiner, there is a scratching at the front door and then a long, low moan. The sound is human and forlorn, and it makes the hair on Landsman’s nape stand erect. He goes to the front door and lets in the dog, who climbs back up onto the stage to the place where he has worn away the paint on the floorboards, and sits, ears raised to catch the sound of the vanished horn, waiting patiently for the leash to be restored.
–The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, by Michael Chabon
Will it fall from me—the ability to live with so little? The ability to walk slowly, to taste fully, to listen with both ears? The ability to see beauty in a crumbling wall? In broken glass? We want so much in that nation of ours; we need so much, and because we’ll never get all we need, we don’t stop wanting.
I have to share my friend Kate’s post about leaving Buenos Aires because it is such a beautiful ode to travel, and also to living a life in which you are present. Kate, you are a couple years younger than me, but sometimes I feel like you are 100.
But having more freedom she only became more profoundly aware of the big want. She wanted so many things. She wanted to read great, beautiful books, and be rich with them; she wanted to see beautiful things, and have the joy of them for ever; she wanted to know big, free people; and there remained always the want she could put no name to? It was so difficult. There were so many things, so much to meet and surpass. And one never knew where one was going.
― D.H. Lawrence, The Rainbow