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“Daily Quotes #113 It suddenly made sense. Only twice in his life had he felt this inexplicable, almost mystical attraction to a woman. He’d thought it remarkable, to have found two, when in his heart he’d always believed there was only one perfect woman out there for him. His heart had been right. There was only one.”—An Offer from a Gentleman by Julia Quinn
“I have kept her story to retell. It is one of the small legion I carry, each one extraordinary in its own right. Each one an attempt—an immense leap of an attempt—to prove to me that you, and your human existence, are worth it. Here it is. One of a handful. The Book Thief. If you feel like it, come with me. I will tell you a story. I’ll show you something.”—Markus Zusak, The Book Thief
“I am here to tell you that there are people who have never been defeated. They are the ones who have never fought. They managed to avoid scars, humiliations, and feelings of helplessness, as well as those moments when even warriors doubt the existence of God. Such people can say with pride: "I have never lost a battle." On the other hand, they can never say: "I have won a battle." Not that they care. They live in a universe in which they believe they are invulnerable; they close their eyes to injustices and suffering; they feel safe because they do not have to deal with daily challenges faced by those who risk stepping out of their own boundaries. They have never heard the words "good-bye" or "I've come back. Embrace me with the fervor of someone who, having lost me, has found me again.”—Paulo Coelho. Manuscript Found in Accra
“You have my heart. And I could analyze that — but I won't. For it stands so unbearably complete on its own.”—Frida Kahlo, from The Diary Of Frida Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait
Solzhenitsyn on Beauty
“Archaeologists have not yet discovered any stage of human existence without art. Even in the half-light before the dawn of humanity we received this gift from Hands we did not manage to discern. Nor have we managed to ask: Why was this gift given to us and what are we to do with it?
And all those prophets who are predicting that art is disintegrating, that it has used up all its forms, that it is dying, are mistaken. We are the ones who shall die. And art will remain. The question is whether before we perish we shall understand all its aspects and all its ends.
Not all can be given names. Some of them go beyond words. Art opens even the chilled, darkened heart to high spiritual experience. Through the instrumentality of art we are sometimes sent—vaguely, briefly—insights which logical processes of thought cannot attain.
Like the tiny mirror of the fairy tale: you look into it and see—not yourself—but for one fleeting moment the Unattainable to which you cannot leap or fly. And the heart aches…” - Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, from Beauty Will Save the World
“Even more seriously, there’s no dirty business allowed. You can’t include “pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts” if you want to sell through Kindle Worlds. Does Amazon even understand the point of fan fiction? Why bother if you can’t lovingly depict sadomasochistic encounters between Megatron and Optimus Prime?”—Betabeat gets it.
Troy Palmer for #shortstorymonth
To celebrate Short Story Month, we’ve asked some awesome writers, editors, and other literary types to weigh in on their favourite stories and collections, and what makes a piece of short lit great. Today, Little Fiction editor, and writer, Troy Palmer.
My favourite short stories collections are both from Don Bajema: Reach and Boy in the Air. Both books carry the story of Eddie Burnett, through snippets and vignettes of a troubled upbringing in 1950s - 1970s America. Stories about military parents, drug deals gone bad, highway pile-ups, Airstream trailer parks, rock and roll, God and love.
The story Dog Party, from Boy in the Air, is one of those pieces that just sticks with you no matter how many stories you’ll go on to read in your life. It’s about a kid who gains the affection of neighbourhood dogs by drowning them in his backyard to the point where they’re nearly dead, and then he saves them. The dogs look at him smiling, thinking only that this is the person who saved them — not the person who just tried to kill them — and from then on they follow him around the ‘hood with complete devotion. When asked why he does it, the kid simply says, “for love”. It’s so fucked and horrifying and sad.
Both books (originally published by 2.13.61) are currently out of print, but they’ve recently been compiled and re-released as a collection called Winged Shoes and a Shield (published by City Lights books).
Honourable mentions go to Hubert Selby Jr.’s Song of the Silent Snow and Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned by Wells Tower.