“We walked at night towards a cafe blooming with Japanese lanterns and I followed your white shoes gleaming like radium in the damp darkness. Rising off the water, lights flickered an invitation far enough away to be interpreted as we liked; to shimmer glamourously behind the silhouette of retrospective good times when we still believed in summer hotels and the philosophies of popular songs.”—Zelda Fitzgerald (via frivolousandreckless)
Sometimes I sit and imagine this fictional past, my life as it never was. I rode horses, had a pony, and plastered pink rosettes all over my wall. Father dropped me off at school each day where I wore a straw hat and oxford shoes. I could play the piano, and every year around Christmas we went to see the Nutcracker. I used to sneak into Mother’s room and try all the perfumes on her dressing table and run my fingers over the strands of pearls, smooth as marbles. I played hide-and-seek in the gardens with a cute red-haired boy who taught me swear words in French. It’s not true, any of it, but maybe if I remember it hard enough, I can change history.
In my fictional past, I was wild and weathery. I rode tigers, had a chameleon, and plastered fern fronds all over my wall. School involved treading softly on river banks, avoiding the entrances of mudcrab tunnels and licking the salt off mangrove leaves. I always came home with grass-stained feet and twig-brushed hair. At night Father lifted me up and spun me into the sky, where I tasted stars and Saturn’s sweetness. I used to sneak into Mother’s room and look through all the maps on her bookshelf and trace the borders of faraway lands as though they were palm lines or nose bridges. It’s not true, any of it, but I wish it were, I wish it were, I wish.
I imagine the gods saying, We will make it up to you. We will give you three wishes, they say. Let me see the squirrels again, I tell them. Let me eat some of the great hog stuffed and roasted on its giant spit and put out, steaming, into the winter of my neighborhood when I was usually too broke to afford even the hundred grams I ate so happily walking up the cobbles, past the Street of the Moon and the Street of the Birdcage-Makers, the Street of Silence and the Street of the Little Pissing. We can give you wisdom, they say in their rich voices. Let me go at last to Hugette, I say, the Algerian student with her huge eyes who timidly invited me to her room when I was too young and bewildered that first year in Paris. Let me at least fail at my life. Think, they say patiently, we could make you famous again. Let me fall in love one last time, I beg them. Teach me mortality, frighten me into the present. Help me to find the heft of these days. That the nights will be full enough and my heart feral.
[Guest entry by Mairead: I love Gilbert for his wisdom and the simple beauty of his voice; lines like “Let me at least fail at my life” and “Help me to find / the heft of these days” also have an elegance to their sound that gets stuck in my head. This is from his third (of only four) books, written when he was in his late sixties, and there’s longing in this poem, I think, an urgency to maintain the immediacy of youth. Anyone lucky enough to get their hands on his most recent book, Refusing Heaven, should also read “Bring in the Gods,” in which he confronts the same questions with another decade’s wisdom: “I want to fail. I am hungry / for what I am becoming.”]
“Every second he breathed, the smell of the grass, the cool air on his face, was so precious: To think that people had years and years, time to waste, so much time it dragged, and he was clinging to each second.”—J. K. Rowling, from “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” (via weissewiese)
“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.”—Steve Jobs (via mariaarroyo)
“I thought, it’s a shame that we have to live, but it’s a tragedy that we get to live only one life, because if I’d had two lives, I would have spent one of them with her.”—Jonathan Safran Foer (via c-o-r-u-s-c-a-t-e)
“I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains„ deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know - unless it be to share our laughter. We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide. Most of all we love and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, nor prevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We do not want to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.”—James Kavanaugh (via creatingaquietmind)
“‘Augustus Waters was a self-aggrandizing bastard. But we forgive him. We forgive him not because he had a heart as figuratively good as his literal one sucked, or because he knew more about how to hold a cigarette than any nonsmoker in history, or because he got eighteen years when he should’ve gotten more.’
‘Seventeen,’ Gus corrected.
‘I’m assuming you’ve got some time, you interrupting bastard.
‘I’m telling you,’ Isaac continued, ‘Augustus Waters talked so much that he’d interrupt you at his own funeral. And he was pretentious: Sweet Jesus Christ, that kid never took a piss without pondering the abundant metaphorical resonances of human waste production. And he was vain: I do not believe I have ever met a more physically attractive person who was more acutely aware of his own physical attractiveness.
‘But I will say this: When the scientists of the future show up at my house with robot eyes and they tell me to try them on, I will tell the scientists to screw off, because I do not want to see a world without him.’”—The Fault in Our Stars, John Green (via frivolousandreckless)
“i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.”—Lucille Clifton, from “won’t you celebrate with me” (via the-final-sentence)
There are girls who can’t forgive themselves for breaking their other half and boys who think they are men. (Sometimes this is good, usually it is bad.) There are men who think they are boys—this is the best kind of man, the kind you can marry—and malicious women who will eat you alive to survive.
Don’t fret. I know it seems bleak, but have faith. The world is such a beautiful disaster to find yourself in.