200 Small Invites Quotes — Niche Quotes 💬 (2023)

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The books in Mo and Meggie's house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There where books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fall over them.

Cornelia Funke (Inkheart (Inkworld, #1))

Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger's touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-cheeked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body.But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child. That thing that says "I am," and forms the core of personality.In the second year, the bone hardens and the child stands upright, skull wide and solid, a helmet protecting the softness within. And "I am" grows, too. Looking at them, you can almost see it, sturdy as heartwood, glowing through the translucent flesh.The bones of the face emerge at six, and the soul within is fixed at seven. The process of encapsulation goes on, to reach its peak in the glossy shell of adolescence, when all softness then is hidden under the nacreous layers of the multiple new personalities that teenagers try on to guard themselves.In the next years, the hardening spreads from the center, as one finds and fixes the facets of the soul, until "I am" is set, delicate and detailed as an insect in amber.

Diana Gabaldon (Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2))

As if the only genuine gestures were the small ones, the ones devoid of an audience. As if true honesty belonged to solitude, since to be witnessed was to perform, and performance was inherently false since it invited expectation.

Steven Erikson (Midnight Tides (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #5))

Of course you could do more - you can always do more, and you should do more - but still, the important things is to do what you can, whenever you can. You just do your best, and that's all you can do. Too many people use the excuse that they don't think they can do enough, so they decide they don't have to to do anything. There's never a good excuse for not doing anything - even if it's just to sign something, or send a small contribution, or invite a newly settled refugee family over for Thanksgiving.

Will Schwalbe (The End of Your Life Book Club)

Suffering invites us to place our hurts in larger hands. In Christ we see God suffering – for us. And calling us to share in God’s suffering love for a hurting world. The small and even overpowering pains of our lives are intimately connected with the greater pains of Christ. Our daily sorrows are anchored in a greater sorrow and therefore a larger hope.

Henri J.M. Nouwen

God has a global dream for his daughters and his sons, and it is bigger than our narrow interpretations or small box constructions of “biblical manhood and womanhood” or feminism;

Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)

A small wedding is not necessarily one to which very few people are invited. It is one to which the person you are addressing is not invited.

Judith Martin (Miss Manners on Painfully Proper Weddings)

She kept her stare locked on his as she let go of his face and slowly, making sure he understood every step of the way,tilted her head back until her throat was arched and bared before him."Aelin," he breathed. Not in reprimand or warning, but... a plea. It sounded like a plea. He lowered his head to her exposed neck and hovered a hair's breath away.She arched her neck farther, a silent invitation.Rowan let out a soft groan and grazed his teeth against her skin.One bite, one movement, was all it would take for him to rip out her throat.His elongated canines slid along her flesh-gently, precisely. She clenched the sheets to keep from running her fingers down on his bare back and drawing him closer.He braced one hand beside her head, his fingers twining in her hair."No one else," she whispered. "I would never allow anyone else at my throat." Showing him was the only way he'd understand that trust, in a manner that only the predatory, Fae side of him would comprehend. "No one else," she said again.He let out another low groan, answer and confirmation and request, and the rumble echoed inside her. Carefully, he closed his teeth over the spot where her lifeblood thrummed and pounded, his breath hot on her skin.She shut her eyes, every sense narrowing on that sensation, on the teeth and mouth at her throat, on the powerful body trembling with restraint above hers. His tongue flicked against her skin.She made a small noise that might have been a moan, or a word, or his name. He shuddered and pulled back, the cool air kissing her neck. Wildness-pure wildness sparked in those eyes.

Sarah J. Maas (Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4))

I am not sure that you can be taught how to love. In many ways it is innate - just watch and see what small child effortlessly does. But you can be invited to it and reminded of it.

Rasheed Ogunlaru

So I wrote. I wrote as though God thought my voice mattered. I wrote because I believed a human story was beautiful, no matter how small the human was. I wrote because I didn’t make myself, God did. And I wrote like he’d invited me to share my true “self” with the world.

Donald Miller (Scary Close: Dropping the Act and Acquiring a Taste for True Intimacy)

Books couldn't judge you or hurt you. They didn't make me feel small and insignificant. I know it's weird, but I always felt really close to the characters in books, like they were my true circle of friends, inviting me into their world.

Amy Koto (The Search for Alice (Dreaming of Wonderland #1))

When he had explained why investors who wanted low risk and moderate returns should put their capital into national debt shares, Daisy had interrupted him by asking, “Father, wouldn’t it be wonderful if hummingbirds had tea parties and we were small enough to be invited?

Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))

Sometimes that's what prayer is--simply inviting God to join us where we actually are, not because He isn't already here but because inviting Him reminds us it's true.

Emily P. Freeman (Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World)

His hands cup my face as if he’s claiming me, saying you’re mine with his lips and his hands and the way he draws me in close, his thumb tracing a line along my jaw. It’s such a small gesture, but such a poetically possessive one and I arch my back, inviting more.

Lauren Blakely (Trophy Husband (Caught Up in Love, #3))

If we minimize our gifts, hush our voice, and stay small in a misguided attempt to fit a weak and culturally conditioned standard of femininity, we cannot give our brothers the partner they require in God’s mission for the world.

Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)

The world offers itself to me in a thousand ways, and I ache with an awareness of how infrequently I am able to receive more than a small fraction of what is offered, of how often I reject what is because I feel it is not good enough.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer (The Invitation)

Buckley followed the three of them into the kitchen and asked, as he had at least once a day, “Where’s Susie?”They were silent. Samuel looked at Lindsey.“Buckley,” my father called from the adjoining room, “come play Monopoly with me.”My brother had never been invited to play Monopoly. Everyone said he was too young, but this was the magic of Christmas. He rushed into the family room, and my father picked him up and sat him on his lap.“See this shoe?” my father said.Buckley nodded his head.“I want you to listen to everything I say about it, okay?”“Susie?” my brother asked, somehow connecting the two.“Yes, I’m going to tell you where Susie is.”I began to cry up in heaven. What else was there for me to do?“This shoe was the piece Susie played Monopoly with,” he said. “I play with the car or sometimes the wheelbarrow. Lindsey plays with the iron, and when you mother plays, she likes the cannon.”“Is that a dog?”“Yes, that’s a Scottie.”“Mine!”“Okay,” my father said. He was patient. He had found a way to explain it. He held his son in his lap, and as he spoke, he felt Buckley’s small body on his knee-the very human, very warm, very alive weight of it. It comforted him. “The Scottie will be your piece from now on. Which piece is Susie’s again?”“The shoe?” Buckley asked.“Right, and I’m the car, your sister’s the iron, and your mother is the cannon.”My brother concentrated very hard.“Now let’s put all the pieces on the board, okay? You go ahead and do it for me.”Buckley grabbed a fist of pieces and then another, until all the pieces lay between the Chance and Community Chest cards.“Let’s say the other pieces are our friends?”“Like Nate?”“Right, we’ll make your friend Nate the hat. And the board is the world. Now if I were to tell you that when I rolled the dice, one of the pieces would be taken away, what would that mean?”“They can’t play anymore?”“Right.”“Why?” Buckley asked.He looked up at my father; my father flinched.“Why?” my brother asked again.My father did not want to say “because life is unfair” or “because that’s how it is”. He wanted something neat, something that could explain death to a four-year-old He placed his hand on the small of Buckley’s back.“Susie is dead,” he said now, unable to make it fit in the rules of any game. “Do you know what that means?”Buckley reached over with his hand and covered the shoe. He looked up to see if his answer was right.My father nodded. "You won’t see Susie anymore, honey. None of us will.” My father cried. Buckley looked up into the eyes of our father and did not really understand.Buckley kept the shoe on his dresser, until one day it wasn't there anymore and no amount of looking for it could turn up.

Alice Sebold (The Lovely Bones)

Father, wouldn’t it be wonderful if hummingbirds had tea parties and we were small enough to be invited?

Lisa Kleypas (Scandal in Spring (Wallflowers, #4))

Jonquil went by with a full plate of food, and Petunia reached out and tried to snag a small cream puff from it. Jonquil lifted it over Petunia's head before she could, and clucked her tongue. "These are for Lily," she said."Oh really?" Petunia gave her a look."And possibly some are for that Analousian duke Jacques invited," Jonquil said with a sparkle in her eye. "But none are for you." Then she flipped one to Oliver. "You can have one, my lord earl," she said, and twirled away."These are excellent," Oliver said, eating half of it in one bite. He fed Petunia the other half so she wouldn't get cream on her knitting. Oliver was just leaning in to steal a kiss - "I hope this means you're planning on marrying her, boy," barked King Gregor.Oliver leaped to his feet. "Sire! Yes! I mean ... I ... sire!""I didn't pardon you and restore your earldom so that you could loll around my gardens flirting with my daughters," King Gregor said. Then he bent down and gave Petunia a kiss on the cheek. "I like him," he whispered loudly in her ear."Me too," she whispered back, blushing.

Jessica Day George (Princess of the Silver Woods (The Princesses of Westfalin Trilogy, #3))

If God had to go to such lengths to invite people to his birthday party, I reasoned, He probably wasn't serving very good cake.

Kirk Read (How I Learned to Snap: A Small Town Coming-Out and Coming-of-Age Story)

The key to creating or transforming community, then, is to see the power in the small but important elements of being with others. The shift we seek needs to be embodied in each invitation we make, each relationship we encounter, and each meeting we attend. For at the most operational and practical level, after all the thinking about policy, strategy, mission, and milestones, it gets down to this: How are we going to be when we gather together?

Peter Block (Community: The Structure of Belonging)

Through the small windows, through the plane treebranches, new lime-green leaves, it's no longerwinter. He stands naked for a moment, eager for company, invites it, knows. His heart is thumping hard inside his chest.He leans his head onto the edge, eyes closed.

Stuart Barnes (Glasshouses)

Or try this: Place yourself in the middle of the room. Turn on the stereo, the television, and a beeping video game, and then invite into the room several small children with ice cream cones. Crank up the volume on each piece of electrical equipment, then take away the children’s ice cream. Imagine these circumstances existing every day and night of your life. What would you do?

Elyn R. Saks (The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness)

If busyness can become a kind of violence, we do not have to stretch our perception very far to see that Sabbath time – effortless, nourishing rest – can invite a healing of this violence. When we consecrate a time to listen to the still, small voices, we remember the root of inner wisdom that makes work fruitful. We remember from where we are most deeply nourished, and see more clearly the shape and texture of the people and things before us.

Wayne Muller (Sabbath: Finding Rest, Renewal, and Delight in Our Busy Lives)

Because the evil one is ever at work, our vigilance cannot be relaxed--not even for a moment. A small and seemingly innocent invitation can turn into a tall temptation which can lead to tragic transgression. Night and day, at home or away, we must shun sin and hold fast that which is good.

Russell M. Nelson

None were good enough for her, so I held them in contempt and hated them. They in turn hated and feared me.But we were pleasant to each other. Always pleasant. It was a game of sorts. He would invite me to sit, and I would buy him a drink. The three of us would talk, and his eyes would slowly grow dark as he watched her smile toward me. His mouth would narrow as he listened to the laughter that leapt from her as I joked, spun stories, sang. . . .They would always react the same way, trying to prove ownership of her in small ways. Holding her hand, a kiss, a too-casual touch along her shoulder.They clung to her with desperate determination. Some of them merely resented my presence, saw me as a rival. But others had a frightened knowledge buried deep behind their eyes from the beginning. They knew she was leaving, and they didn't know why. So they clutched at her like shipwrecked sailors, clinging to the rocks despite the fact that they are being battered to death against them. I almost felt sorry for them. Almost.So they hated me, and it shone in their eyes when Denna wasn't looking. I would offer to buy another round of drinks, but he would insist, and I would graciously accept, and thank him, and smile.I have known her longer, my smile said. True, you have been inside the circle of her arms, tasted her mouth, felt the warmth of her, and that is something I have never had. But there is a part of her that is only for me. You cannot touch it, no matter how hard you might try. And after she has left you I will still be here, making her laugh. My light shining in her. I will still be here long after she has forgotten your name.

Patrick Rothfuss (The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1))

Zero invites imagination, but small numbers invite questions about whether large numbers will ever materialize.

Eric Ries (The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses)

Fear does that to a person: shrinks them down, makes them small and weak.

Jennifer McMahon (The Invited)

Something as superfluous as "play" is also an essential feature of our consciousness. If you ask children why they like to play, they will say, "Because it's fun." But that invites the next question: What is fun? Actually, when children play, they are often trying to reenact complex human interactions in simplified form. Human society is extremely sophisticated, much too involved for the developing brains of young children, so children run simplified simulations of adult society, playing games such as doctor, cops and robber, and school. Each game is a model that allows children to experiment with a small segment of adult behavior and then run simulations into the future. (Similarly, when adults engage in play, such as a game of poker, the brain constantly creates a model of what cards the various players possess, and then projects that model into the future, using previous data about people's personality, ability to bluff, etc. The key to games like chess, cards, and gambling is the ability to simulate the future. Animals, which live largely in the present, are not as good at games as humans are, especially if they involve planning. Infant mammals do engage in a form of play, but this is more for exercise, testing one another, practicing future battles, and establishing the coming social pecking order rather than simulating the future.)

Michio Kaku (The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind)

Something snapped," said Madeline. She saw Perry's hand shining back in its graceful, practiced arc. She heard Bonnie's guttural voice. It occurred to her that there were so many levels of evil in the world. Small evils like her own malicious words. Like not inviting a child to a party. Bigger evils like walking out on your wife and newborn baby or sleeping with your child's nanny. And then there was the sort of evil which Madeline had no experience: cruelty in hotel rooms and violence in suburban homes and little girls sold like merchandise, shattering innocent hearts.

Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies)

In the pragmatist, streetwise climate of advanced postmodern capitalism, with its scepticism of big pictures and grand narratives, its hard-nosed disenchantment with the metaphysical, 'life' is one among a whole series of discredited totalities. We are invited to think small rather than big – ironically, at just the point when some of those out to destroy Western civilization are doing exactly the opposite. In the conflict between Western capitalism and radical Islam, a paucity of belief squares up to an excess of it. The West finds itself faced with a full-blooded metaphysical onslaught at just the historical point that it has, so to speak, philosophically disarmed. As far as belief goes, postmodernism prefers to travel light: it has beliefs, to be sure, but it does not have faith.

Terry Eagleton (The Meaning of Life)

Perhaps, just perhaps, we can’t read singular verses or chapters in a vacuum; perhaps we can’t read letters written to specific people with specific situations in mind in a specific context and then apply them, broad-brush, to the whole of humanity or the church or even our own small selves. Perhaps we need wisdom, insight. We need the Holy Spirit. Perhaps we need Jesus as our best and clearest lens; we need all of Scripture, too. After all, Jesus is the Word of God incarnate.

Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)

engaged," he said bitterly. "Everybody's engaged. Everybody in a small town is engaged or married or in trouble. There's nothing else to do in a small town. You go to school. You start walking home with a girl-- maybe for no other reason than that she lives out your way. You grow up. She invites you to parties at her home. You go to other parties-- eople ask you to bring her along; you're expected to take her home. Soon no one else takes her out. Everybody thinks she's your girl and then...well, if you don't take her around, you feel like a heel. And then, because there's nothing else to do, you marry. And it works out all right if she's a decent girl (and most of the time she is) and you're a halfway decent fellow. No great passion but a kind of affectionate contentment. And then children come along and you give them the great love you kind of miss in each other. And the children gain in the long run.

Betty Smith (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn)

But the intimacy, the smallness, also made me feel shut out; and I found myself hurrying past the inviting little doorways with my head down, very aware of all the convivial Sunday-morning lives unrolling around me in private.

Donna Tartt (The Goldfinch)

Waxillium had seen some odd things in his life. He’d visited koloss camps in the Roughs, even been invited to join their numbers. He’d met and spoken with God himself and had received a personal gift from Death. That did not prepare him for the sight of a pretty young woman’s chest turning nearly transparent, one of the breasts splitting and offering up the hilt of a small handgun.

Brandon Sanderson (Shadows of Self (Mistborn, #5))

If a woman is held back, minimized, pushed down, or downplayed, she is not walking in the fullness God intended for her as his image bearer, as his ezer warrior. If we minimize our gifts, hush our voice, and stay small in a misguided attempt to fit a weak and culturally conditioned standard of femininity, we cannot give our brothers the partner they require in God’s mission for the world.

Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)

They all went indoors with their new friends, and found rooms so small as none but those who invite from the heart could think capable of accommodating so many.

Jane Austen (Persuasion)

Will Scott grinned. Grizel Beaton had slapped his face four times, and apart from these four small misjudgements, they had never touched on a topic more personal than which of Buccleuch’s bastards to invite to the wedding. But he liked her fine; and she was good and broad where it would matter to future Buccleuchs, which summed up all his mind so far on the subject.

Dorothy Dunnett (The Disorderly Knights (The Lymond Chronicles, #3))

A spiritual life without discipline is impossible. Discipline is the other side of discipleship. The practice of a spiritual discipline makes us more sensitive to the small, gentle voice of God.

Henri J.M. Nouwen (Making All Things New: An Invitation to the Spiritual Life)

He wanted a faery. More than anything else in the world. He had already imagined exactly how it should happen. He would set up the invitation, and the next day there would be a petal-winged pisky clinging to the top of his bedpost. It would have a foolish grin on its face, and large ears, and it wouldn’t notice at all that Bartholomew was small and ugly and different from everyone else. But no. Mother had to ruin everything.

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Stefan Bachmann (The Peculiar (The Peculiar, #1))

What if she'd turned down the lightly flung invitation and went about her life, thudding obliviously along like a drunk person, a blind person, a moron, someone who thinks that the small packet of happiness she carries is enough.

Meg Wolitzer (The Interestings)

You hardly know me and yet you invited me out on a date,’ said Miss Dearheart. ‘Why?’Because you called me a phoney, Moist thought. You saw through me straight away. Because you didn’t nail my head to the door with your crossbow. Because you have no small talk. Because I’d like to get to know you better, even though it would be like smooching an ashtray. Because I wonder if you could put into the rest of your life the passion you put into smoking a cigarette. In defiance of Miss Maccalariat I’d like to commit hanky-panky with you, Miss Adora Belle Dearheart… well, certainly hanky, and possibly panky when we get to know one another better. I’d like to know as much about your soul as you know about mine…He said: ‘Because I hardly know you.’‘If it comes to that, I hardly know you, either,’ said Miss Dearheart.‘I’m rather banking on that,’ said Moist. This got a smile.‘Smooth answer. Slick. Where are we really eating tonight?

Terry Pratchett (Going Postal (Discworld, #33; Moist von Lipwig, #1))

They walked in silence through the little streets of Chinatown. Women from all over the world smiled at them from open windows, stood on the doorsteps inviting them in. Some of the rooms were exposed to the street. Only a curtain concealed the beds. One could see couples embracing. There were Syrian women wearing their native costume, Arabian women with jewelry covering their half-naked bodies, Japanese and Chinese women beckoning slyly, big African women squatting in circles, chatting together. One house was filled with French whores wearing short pink chemises and knitting and sewing as if they were at home. They always hailed the passers-by with promises of specialities. The houses were small, dimly lit, dusty, foggy with smoke, filled with dusky voices, the murmurs of drunkards, of lovemaking. The Chinese adorned the setting and made it more confused with screens and curtains, lanterns, burning incense, Buddhas of gold. It was a maze of jewels, paper flowers, silk hangings, and rugs, with women as varied as the designs and colors, inviting men who passed by to sleep with them.

Anaïs Nin (Delta of Venus)

Today's science should also relieve us of the fear that our children are at great risk to be recruited into homosexuality. I believe that if the gay community sent missionaries door to door like we Mormons do, spreading the good news of homosexuality, they would get pitifully few converts, probably only a small sliver of the terminally confused. "Join us and very possibly break your parents' hearts, throw the family into chaos, run the risk of intense self-loathing, especially if you are religious, invite the disgust of much of society, give up the warmth and benefits of marriage and probably of parenthood." (16)

Carol Lynn Pearson (No More Goodbyes: Circling the Wagons around Our Gay Loved Ones)

He was a small, bandy-legged man, with a certain resemblance to a chimpanzee who never got invited to tea parties.His age was indeterminate. But in cynicism and general world weariness, which is a sort of carbon dating of the personality, he was about seven thousand years old.

Terry Pratchett (Guards! Guards! (Discworld, #8; City Watch, #1))

I was asked to talk to a roomful of undergraduates in a university in a beautiful coastal valley. I talked about place, about the way we often talk about love of place, but seldom how places love us back, of what they give us. They give us continuity, something to return to, and offer familiarity that allows some portion of our lives to remain collected and coherent.They give us an expansive scale in which our troubles are set into context, in which the largeness of the world is a balm to loss, trouble, and ugliness.And distant places give us refuge in territories where our own histories aren't so deeply entrenched and we can imagine other stories, other selves, or just drink up quiet and respite.The bigness of the world is redemption.Despair compresses you into a small space, and a depression is literally a hollow in the ground. To dig deeper into the self, to go underground, is sometimes necessary, but so is the other route of getting out of yourself, into the larger world, into the openness in which you need not clutch your story and your troubles so tightly to your chest.Being able to travel in both ways matters, and sometimes the way back into the heart of the question begins by going outward and beyond. This is the expansiveness that comes literally in a landscape or that tugs you out of yourself in a story.....I told the student that they were at an age when they might begin to choose the places that would sustain them the rest of their lives, that places were much more reliable than human beings, and often much longer-lasting, and I asked each of them where they felt at home. They answered, each of them, down the rows, for an hour, the immigrants who had never stayed anywhere long or left a familiar world behind, the teenagers who'd left the home they'd spent their whole lives in for the first time, the ones who loved or missed familiar landscapes and the ones who had not yet noticed them.I found books and places before I found friends and mentors, and they gave me a lot, if not quite what a human being would. As a child, I spun outward in trouble, for in that inside-out world [of my family], everywhere but home was safe. Happily, the oaks were there, the hills, the creeks, the groves, the birds, the old dairy and horse ranches, the rock outcroppings, the open space inviting me to leap out of the personal into the embrace of the nonhuman world.

Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby (ALA Notable Books for Adults))

As a physician, I was trained to deal with uncertainty as aggressively as I dealt with disease itself. The unknown was the enemy. Within this worldview, having a question feels like an emergency; it means that something is out of control and needs to be made known as rapidly, efficiently, and cost-effectively as possible. But death has taken me to the edge of certainty, to the place of questions.After years of trading mystery for mastery, it was hard and even frightening to stop offering myself reasonable explanations for some of the things that I observed and that others told me, and simply take them as they are. "I don't know" had long been a statement of shame, of personal and professional failing. In all of my training I do not recall hearing it said aloud even once.But as I listened to more and more people with life-threatening illnesses tell their stories, not knowing simply became a matter of integrity. Things happened. And the explanations I offered myself became increasingly hollow, like a child whistling in the dark. The truth was that very often I didn't know and couldn't explain, and finally, weighed down by the many, many instances of the mysterious which are such an integral part of illness and healing, I surrendered. It was a moment of awakening.For the first time, I became curious about the things I had been unwilling to see before, more sensitive to inconsistencies I had glibly explained or successfully ignored, more willing to ask people questions and draw them out about stories I would have otherwise dismissed. What I have found in the end was that the life I had defended as a doctor as precious was also Holy.I no longer feel that life is ordinary. Everyday life is filled with mystery. The things we know are only a small part of the things we cannot know but can only glimpse. Yet even the smallest of glimpses can sustain us.Mystery seems to have the power to comfort, to offer hope, and to lend meaning in times of loss and pain. In surprising ways it is the mysterious that strengthens us at such times. I used to try to offer people certainty in times that were not at all certain and could not be made certain. I now just offer my companionship and share my sense of mystery, of the possible, of wonder. After twenty years of working with people with cancer, I find it possible to neither doubt nor accept the unprovable but simply to remain open and wait.I accept that I may never know where truth lies in such matters. The most important questions don't seem to have ready answers. But the questions themselves have a healing power when they are shared. An answer is an invitation to stop thinking about something, to stop wondering. Life has no such stopping places, life is a process whose every event is connected to the moment that just went by. An unanswered question is a fine traveling companion. It sharpens your eye for the road.

Rachel Naomi Remen (Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal)

It fascinated me that Europeans could at once be so alike – that they could be so universally bookish and cerebral, and drive small cars, and live in little houses in ancient towns, and love soccer, and be relatively unmaterialistic and law-abiding, and have chilly hotel rooms and cosy and inviting places to eat and drink – and yet be so endlessly, unpredictably different from each other as well. I loved the idea that you could never be sure of anything in Europe.

Bill Bryson (Neither Here, Nor There: Travels in Europe)

When I received my glossy black invitation in the mail a few days later, I could feel my heart swell with excitement. “Hef’s Midsummer Night’s Dream Party,” it read. On the front was a beautiful pinup illustration by famed artist Olivia De Berardinis and inside was a small piece of paper with directions. It was like Cinderella finally scoring an invitation to the ball—except instead of arriving by horse-drawn carriage, we would board a shuttle at a UCLA parking garage.

Holly Madison (Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny)

Gregori stared with dismay at the small, two-story house enclosed in wrought-iron latticework and sandwiched between two smaller, rather rundown properties in the crowded French Quarter of New Orleans. He inserted the key in the lock and turned to look at Savannah's face. It was lit up with expectation, her blue eyes shining."I have definitely lost all good sense," he muttered as he pushed open the door.The interior was dark, but he could see everything easily. The room was layered with dust, old sheets covered the furniture, and the wallpaper was peeling in small curls from the walls."Isn't it beautiful?" Savannah flung out her hands and turned in a circle. Jumping into Gregori's arms, she hugged him tightly. "It's so perfect!"He couldn't help himself; he kissed her inviting mouth. "Perfect for torching. Savannah,did you even look at this place before you bought it?"She laughed and ruffled his thick mane of hair. "Don't be such a pessimist. Can't you see its potential?""It is a firetrap," he groused.

Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))

I also realized I was right to trust my instincts. No matter how silly you feel or uncool you look, no matter how small that voice inside you is, that voice telling you something isn’t right: listen to it. [After the incident with guys inviting them to a party where Ari got rapped and Viv had gone home because the party didn’t feel right].

Viv Albertine (Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys)

The books in Mo and Meggie’s house were stacked under tables, on chairs, in the corners of the rooms. There were books in the kitchen and books in the lavatory. Books on the TV set and in the closet, small piles of books, tall piles of books, books thick and thin, books old and new. They welcomed Meggie down to breakfast with invitingly opened pages; they kept boredom at bay when the weather was bad. And sometimes you fell over them. “He’s just standing there!” whispered Meggie, leading Mo into her room. “Has he got a hairy face? If so he could be a werewolf.” “Oh, stop it!” Meggie looked at him sternly, although his jokes made her feel less scared. Already, she hardly believed anymore in the figure standing in the rain—until she knelt down again at the window. “There! Do you see him?” she whispered. Mo looked out through the raindrops running down the

Cornelia Funke (Inkheart / Inkspell / Inkdeath (The Inkheart Trilogy #1-3))

You are how you are,” she said, eyes intent. “You’re not the problem. You’re the whole thing. The good and the bad. You’re not one element of your own life. You’re all of it.

Roan Parrish (Invitation to the Blues (Small Change, #2))

I made my father uncomfortable. He loved me, no doubt. But love without intimacy is lonelier than indifference.

Roan Parrish (Invitation to the Blues (Small Change, #2))

The world issued an open invitation to humanity to fail itself. To be selfish and small. Mean, even evil at times.

Molly O'Keefe (Never Been Kissed (Boys of Bishop, #2))

I’m pretty sure that there aren’t actually any big things for God. There are only small things being done over and over with great love, as Mother Teresa said.

Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)

Life is full of challenges large and small—each an invitation to retire old ways of thinking and to stretch toward new and better solutions.

Keith McFarland (Bounce: The Art of Turning Tough Times into Triumph)

He was blessed with the sort of intense curiosity that most of us experience so infrequently it often seems to come as a surprise. I’m not talking about the kind of curiosity that INVITES but about the kind that DEMANDS, not about the kind that says I WONDER but the kind that says I MUST KNOW. The kind that makes you immerse yourself in a subject, ponder it over and over until you are able to make sense of it for others and, in so doing, give your own life new meaning in some small way. Under such a spell, humans can accomplish the extraordinary.

Miles Harvey

Jesus is building his Church, not only by constitutions and codes, but by shaping hearts and minds to his way of life. We are a family, not a firm, scattered and yet gathered. Biblical equality is not the endgame; it is one of the means to God’s big ending: all things redeemed, all things restored. Jesus feminism is only one thread in God’s beautiful woven story of redemption. Begin here: right at the feet of Jesus. Look to Love, and yes, our Jesus—he will guide you in your steps, one after another, in these small ways until you come at last to love the whole world.

Sarah Bessey (Jesus Feminist: An Invitation to Revisit the Bible's View of Women)

Consistency, say some, is the sign of a small mind, but it’s a real virtue with high-power technology. Having lots of the same devices out in the field lets us compile a record of experience.

James R. Chiles (Inviting Disaster: Lessons From the Edge of Technology)

I am not sure that you can be taught how to love. In many ways it is innate - just watch and see what small child effortlessly does. But you can be reminded of it and invited to it and reminded of it.

Rasheed Ogunlaru

Because this painting has never been restored there is a heightened poignance to it somehow; it doesn’t have the feeling of unassailable permanence that paintings in museums do.There is a small crack in the lower left, and a little of the priming between the wooden panel and the oil emulsions of paint has been bared. A bit of abrasion shows, at the rim of a bowl of berries, evidence of time’s power even over this—which, paradoxically, only seems to increase its poetry, its deep resonance. If you could see the notes of a cello, when the bow draws slowly and deeply across its strings, and those resonant reverberations which of all instruments’ are nearest to the sound of the human voice emerge—no, the wrong verb, they seem to come into being all at once, to surround us, suddenly, with presence—if that were made visible, that would be the poetry of Osias Beert.But the still life resides in absolute silence.Portraits often seem pregnant with speech, or as if their subjects have just finished saying something, or will soon speak the thoughts that inform their faces, the thoughts we’re invited to read. Landscapes are full of presences, visible or unseen; soon nymphs or a stag or a band of hikers will make themselves heard.But no word will ever be spoken here, among the flowers and snails, the solid and dependable apples, this heap of rumpled books, this pewter plate on which a few opened oysters lie, giving up their silver.These are resolutely still, immutable, poised for a forward movement that will never occur. The brink upon which still life rests is the brink of time, the edge of something about to happen. Everything that we know crosses this lip, over and over, like water over the edge of a fall, as what might happen does, as any of the endless variations of what might come true does so, and things fall into being, tumble through the progression of existing in time.Painting creates silence. You could examine the objects themselves, the actors in a Dutch still life—this knobbed beaker, this pewter salver, this knife—and, lovely as all antique utilitarian objects are, they are not, would not be, poised on the edge these same things inhabit when they are represented.These things exist—if indeed they are still around at all—in time. It is the act of painting them that makes them perennially poised, an emergent truth about to be articulated, a word waiting to be spoken. Single word that has been forming all these years in the light on the knife’s pearl handle, in the drops of moisture on nearly translucent grapes: At the end of time, will that word be said?

Mark Doty (Still Life with Oysters and Lemon: On Objects and Intimacy)

I grew up convinced that every family was better than mine. I grew up watching other families in awe, hardly able to bear the sensations, the nearly pornographic pleasure of witnessing such small intimacies. I would hover on the edge, knowing that however much they include you—invite you to dinner, take you on family trips—you are never official, you are always the “friend,” the first one left behind.

A.M. Homes (The Mistress's Daughter: A Memoir)

Procrustes, in Greek mythology, was the cruel owner of a small estate in Corydalus in Attica, on the way between Athens and Eleusis, where the mystery rites were performed. Procrustes had a peculiar sense of hospitality: he abducted travelers, provided them with a generous dinner, then invited them to spend the night in a rather special bed. He wanted the bed to fit the traveler to perfection. Those who were too tall had their legs chopped off with a sharp hatchet; those who were too short were stretched (his name was said to be Damastes, or Polyphemon, but he was nicknamed Procrustes, which meant “the stretcher”).

Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms)

Knowing that Draco's hopeful face had probably been drilled into him by months of practice did not make it any less effective, Harry observed. Actually it did make it less effective, but unfortunately not ineffective. The same could be said of Draco's clever use of reciprocation pressure for an unsolicited gift, a technique which Harry had read about in his social psychology books (one experiment had shown that an unconditional gift of $5 was twice as effective as a conditional offer of $50 in getting people to fill out surveys). Draco had made an unsolicited gift of a confidence, and now invited Harry to offer a confidence in return... and the thing was, Harry did feel pressured. Refusal, Harry was certain, would be met with a look of sad disappointment, and maybe a small amount of contempt indicating that Harry had lost points.

Eliezer Yudkowsky (Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality)

words of summoning: To this table I thee call, Good or evil, big or small. If thou walks at Death’s command, Exists as shadows throughout this land, To this supper I thee invite, Any ghost or spirit or sprite. A

Katherine Harbour (Nettle King (Night and Nothing Novels))

They gathered around the living room TV and the media woman plugged a thumb drive into the digital port and brought the advertisement up: Smalls was dressed in a gray pin-striped suit, bankerish, but with a pale blue shirt open at the collar. He was in his Minnesota Senate office, with a hint of the American flag to his right, a couple of red and white stripes—not enough of a flag display to invite sarcasm, but it was there.

John Sandford (Silken Prey (Lucas Davenport #23))

By now I was feeling the shame but also defiance. Like here, I'm carrying the banner for all of you who cut off a little piece of cake wanting a big one, who spend a good third of your waking hours feeling bad about your desires, who infect those with whom you work and live with your judgements and pronouncements, you on the program who tally points all day long, every day, let's see, 7 for breakfast, I'm going to need only 3 or 4 for lunch, what the hell can I have for so little, oh, I know, broth and a salad with very little dressing. And broth is good! Yes! So chickeny! That's what we tell ourselves, we who cannot eat air without gaining, we who eat the asparagus longing for the potatoes au gratin, for the fettucine Alfredo, for the pecan pie. And if you're one of those who doesn't, stop right here, you are not invited to the rest of this story.

Elizabeth Berg (The Day I Ate Whatever I Wanted: And Other Small Acts of Liberation)

Here was a small corner of the Greek archipelago; sky-blue, caressing waves, islands and rocks, a flowering strip of coastline, a magical panorama in the distance, an inviting sunset — you can’t describe it in words. This is what the peoples of Europe remembered as their cradle; here unfolded the first scenes of mythology, here was their earthly paradise. Here lived beautiful people! They got up and went to sleep happy and innocent; the groves were filled with their joyous songs, their great excess of untapped energies went into love and artless joy. The sun bathed these islands and the sea in its rays, rejoicing in its beautiful children.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (Demons)

I cried because somehow I had landed somewhere I wanted to be and I realized perhaps it was the first time I’d wanted to be somewhere. I cried because I finally knew what it felt like to love someone more than I hated myself.

Roan Parrish (Invitation to the Blues (Small Change, #2))

I also said no to a first-aid kit, sewing kit, anti-snake-bite kit, $12 emergency whistle, and small orange plastic shovel for burying one’s poop, on the grounds that these were unnecessary, too expensive, or invited ridicule.

Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail)

If you’ve ever dreamed of playing a hand in the development of humankind, or if you just have a burning desire to improve one small aspect of it, then you have an adventure waiting. Will you take it? This book is your invitation.

Sean Patrick (Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century)

I used to walk about the world pretending to be so tall. I would lift my chin higher, hopeful that in some small way I was actualizing my desired grandiosity. But I was not grand. I was not good or pure. I was only human. Now, I walk about the world aware of the grandiosity that surrounds me. And instead of feeling overwhelmed or small, I feel invited. Invited to explore a life that offers experiences much greater than any I have had thus far. -Marquita Burke De Jesus

Marquita Burke De Jesus

A small lady moved on after greeting Livia to address the wedding couple. “Cole Bridge. Look at you!”Cole’s mouth dropped open. “Mrs. D?” After a shocked pause, he scooped her into a hug. “You’re here?”“Of course I am, sweetheart. Your wonderful wife delivered the invitation by hand. She insisted it be a surprise.” Mrs. D rubbed Cole’s arm.Cole turned to Kyle. “Thank you so much. I didn’t know you were going to do this.”Kyle nodded. “I know how much she means to you,” she said.

Debra Anastasia (Poughkeepsie (Poughkeepsie Brotherhood, #1))

Celebrate the little joys, the minor successes, and the small experiences of relief. This is your way of saying, ‘Yes, more of that, please.’ When you celebrate your experience of what you like, you’re inviting more and more of that into your life.

William DeFoore

We're at a dinner party in an apartment on Rue Paul Valéry between Avenue Foch and Avenue Victor Hugo and it's all rather subdued since a small percentage of the invited guests were blown up in the Ritz yesterday. For comfort people went shopping, which is understandable even if they bought things a little too enthusiastically. Tonight it's just wildflowers and white lilies, just W's Paris bureau chief, Donna Karan, Aerin Lauder, Ines de la Fressange and Christian Louboutin, who thinks I snubbed him and maybe I did but maybe I'm past the point of caring. Just Annette Bening and Michael Stipe in a tomato-red wig. Just Tammy on heroin, serene and glassy-eyed, her lips swollen from collagen injections, beeswax balm spread over her mouth, gliding through the party, stopping to listen to Kate Winslet, to Jean Reno, to Polly Walker, to Jacques Grange. Just the smell of shit, floating, its fumes spreading everywhere. Just another conversation with a chic sadist obsessed with origami. Just another armless man waving a stump and whispering excitedly, "Natasha's coming!" Just people tan and back from the Ariel Sands Beach Club in Bermuda, some of them looking reskinned. Just me, making connections based on fear, experiencing vertigo, drinking a Woo-Woo.

Bret Easton Ellis

My wife and I had called on Miss Stein, and she and the friend who lived with her had been very cordial and friendly and we had loved the big studio with the great paintings. I t was like one of the best rooms in the finest museum except there was a big fireplace and it was warm and comfortable and they gave you good things to eat and tea and natural distilled liqueurs made from purple plums, yellow plums or wild raspberries.Miss Stein was very big but not tall and was heavily built like a peasant woman. She had beautiful eyes and a strong German-Jewish face that also could have been Friulano and she reminded me of a northern I talian peasant woman with her clothes, her mobile face and her lovely, thick, alive immigrant hair which she wore put up in the same way she had probably worn it in college. She talked all the time and at first it was about people and places.Her companion had a very pleasant voice, was small, very dark, with her hair cut like Joan of Arc in the Boutet de Monvel illustrations and had a very hooked nose. She was working on a piece of needlepoint when we first met them and she worked on this and saw to the food and drink and talked to my wife. She made one conversation and listened to two and often interrupted the one she was not making. Afterwards she explained to me that she always talked to the wives. The wives, my wife and I felt, were tolerated. But we liked Miss Stein and her friend, although the friend was frightening. The paintings and the cakes and the eau-de-vie were truly wonderful. They seemed to like us too and treated us as though we were very good, well-mannered and promising children and I felt that they forgave us for being in love and being married - time would fix that - and when my wife invited them to tea, they accepted.

Ernest Hemingway (A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition)

Suffering is exacerbated by avoidance. The body carries with it any undigested pain. Our attempts at self-protection cause us to live in a small, dark, cramped corner of our lives. We accept a limited perspective of the situation and a restricted view of ourselves. We cling to what is familiar simply in order to reassert control, thinking we can fend off what we fear will be intolerable. When we push back, hoping to get rid of a difficult experience, we are actually encapsulating it. In short, what we resist persists.

Frank Ostaseski (The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully)

In his indispensable book The Return of the Prodigal Son, Henri Nouwen boldly invites us to imagine ourselves not just in the place of the younger son, and then the elder one, but also in the place of the father. Many of Jesus’ parables are waiting for this kind of attention—his shepherds, widows and vineyard owners are not just clues to the true nature and identity of God, but to what we are meant to become by grace. But for us the path to becoming the shepherd requires first recognizing that we are the lost sheep; to become the searching widow, we must understand that we are the coin lost in the cranny; and to become the father requires first coming to terms with ourselves as his equally foolish, equally prodigal children. And that is, in a nutshell, what discipleship is about. In the crucible of discipleship we come to see just how distorted our vision for our own power has been and how small we have become, but we also discover just how lavish our Father’s goodness is and how much glory is waiting for us, how much more we are meant to be.

Andy Crouch (Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power)

When I’m sitting by my gay friends in church, I hear everything through their ears. When I’m with my recently divorced friend, I hear it through hers. This is good practice. It helps uncenter us (which is, you know, the whole counsel of the New Testament) and sharpens our eye for our sisters and brothers. It trains us to think critically about community, language, felt needs, and inclusion, shaking off autopilot and setting a wider table. We must examine who is invited, who is asked to teach, who is asked to contribute, who is called into leadership. It is one thing to “feel nice feelings” toward the minority voice; it is something else entirely to challenge existing power structures to include the whole variety of God’s people. This is not hard or fancy work. It looks like diversifying small groups and leadership, not defaulting to homogeny as the standard operating procedure. Closer in, it looks like coffee dates, dinner invites, the warm hand of friendship extended to women or families outside your demographic. It means considering the stories around the table before launching into an assumed shared narrative. It includes the old biblical wisdom on being slow to speak and quick to listen, because as much as we love to talk, share, and talk-share some more, there is a special holiness reserved for the practice of listening and deferring.

Jen Hatmaker (Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight Out of This Wild and Glorious Life)

Nancy invited Bess to go along and proceeded toward the river. Salty’s home was very quaint. Once it had been a small, attractive yacht. Now it was a beached wreck, weathered by sun and rain. Its only claim to any former glory was the flag which flew proudly from the afterdeck.

Carolyn Keene (The Clue in the Crumbling Wall (Nancy Drew, #22))

A small, quiet, grassroots movement that starts with each of us saying, “My story matters because I matter.” A movement where we can take to the streets with our messy, imperfect, wild, stretch-marked, wonderful, heartbreaking, grace-filled, and joyful lives. A movement fueled by the freedom that comes when we stop pretending that everything is okay when it isn’t. A call that rises up from our bellies when we find the courage to celebrate those intensely joyful moments even though we’ve convinced ourselves that savoring happiness is inviting disaster. Revolution

Brené Brown (The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You're Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are)

Doc was collecting marine animals in the Great Tide Pool on the tip of the Peninsula. It is a fabulous place: when the tide is in, a wave-churned basin, creamy with foam, whipped by the combers that roll in from the whistling buoy on the reef. But when the tide goes out the little water world becomes quiet and lovely. The sea is very clear and the bottom becomes fantastic with hurrying, fighting, feeding, breeding animals. Crabs rush from frond to frond of the waving algae. Starfish squat over mussels and limpets, attach their million little suckers and then slowly lift with incredible power until the prey is broken from the rock. And then the starfish stomach comes out and envelops its food. Orange and speckled and fluted nudibranchs slide gracefully over the rocks, their skirts waving like the dresses of Spanish dancers. And black eels poke their heads out of crevices and wait for prey. The snapping shrimps with their trigger claws pop loudly. The lovely, colored world is glassed over. Hermit crabs like frantic children scamper on the bottom sand. And now one, finding an empty snail shell he likes better than his own, creeps out, exposing his soft body to the enemy for a moment, and then pops into the new shell. A wave breaks over the barrier, and churns the glassy water for a moment and mixes bubbles into the pool, and then it clears and is tranquil and lovely and murderous again. Here a crab tears a leg from his brother. The anemones expand like soft and brilliant flowers, inviting any tired and perplexed animal to lie for a moment in their arms, and when some small crab or little tide-pool Johnnie accepts the green and purple invitation, the petals whip in, the stinging cells shoot tiny narcotic needles into the prey and it grows weak and perhaps sleepy while the searing caustic digestive acids melt its body down.Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward a feeding crab, and as it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab. On the exposed rocks out of water, the barnacles bubble behind their closed doors and the limpets dry out. And down to the rocks come the black flies to eat anything they can find. The sharp smell of iodine from the algae, and the lime smell of calcareous bodies and the smell of powerful protean, smell of sperm and ova fill the air. On the exposed rocks the starfish emit semen and eggs from between their rays. The smells of life and richness, of death and digestion, of decay and birth, burden the air. And salt spray blows in from the barrier where the ocean waits for its rising-tide strength to permit it back into the Great Tide Pool again. And on the reef the whistling buoy bellows like a sad and patient bull.

John Steinbeck (Cannery Row (Cannery Row, #1))

She played almost every free hour, now that she could. Music made her feel as if she were holding a lamp that cast a halo of light around her, and while she knew there were people and responsibilities in the darkness beyond it, she couldn’t see them. The flame of what she felt when she played made her deliciously blind.Until the day she found something waiting for her in the music room. A small, ivory tile was balanced on the exact middle key of the piano. The Bite and Sting piece had been set facedown. The blank side looked up.It searched her like a question…or an invitation.

Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))

Let tonight's table have a small vase of flowersand a candle perhaps, nothing else. May it be small enough we mightsee each other's eyes, might noticeevery nuance of breath. WhomeverI am most nervous to invite, may I invite them. And thoughthe tea is just a metaphor, may I offer. May they accept.

Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer (The Poets Project at Casa Grande: A Colorado Anthology)

Ding!Princess Alpacca, pronounced like the animal, first in line to the throne of Alieya Island, a small nation below the south of France. The Queen invited her to Wessco after an attempted coup forced her family into exile last year. She doesn’t speak English and I don’t know a word of Aliesh. This is going to be a challenge.Guermo, her translator, glares at me like I’m the bubonic plague in human form—with a mixture of hatred, disgust, and just a touch of fear.She speaks in Aliesh, looking at me.And Guermo translates. “She says she thinks you are very ugly.”Princess Alpacca nods vigorously.She’s pretty in a cute kind of way. Wild curly hair, round hazel eyes, a tiny bulbous nose, and full cheeks.“She says she doesn’t like you or your stupid country,” Guermo informs me.Another nod and a blank but eager smile.“She says she would rather throw herself off the rocks to her death in the waves and be devoured by the fish than be your queen.”I look him in the face. “She barely said anything.”He shrugs. “She says it with her eyes. I know these things. If you weren’t so stupid you would know too.”More nodding.“Fantastic.”She says something to Guermo in Aliesh, then he says something back—harshly and disapproving. And now, they’re arguing.But they can stay.Guermo is obviously in love with Alpacca and she clearly has no idea. My presence will force him to admit his feelings . . . but does she return his infatuation? It’ll be like living in a Latin soap opera—dramatic, passionate, and over the top. I have to see how it ends.Ding!

Emma Chase (Royally Matched (Royally, #2))

...and then pops into the new shell. A wave breaks over the barrier, and churns the glassy water for a moment and mixes bubbles into the pool, and then it clears and is tranquil and lovely and murderous again. Here a crab tears a leg from his brother. The anemones expand like soft and brilliant flowers, inviting any tired and perplexed animal to lie for a moment in their arms, and when some small crab or little tide-pool Johnnie accepts the green and purple invitation, the petals whip in, the stinging cells shoot tiny narcotic needles into the prey and it grows weak and perhaps sleepy while the searing caustic digestive acids melt its body down. Then the creeping murderer, the octopus, steals out, slowly, softly, moving like a gray mist, pretending now to be a bit of weed, now a rock, now a lump of decaying meat while its evil goat eyes watch coldly. It oozes and flows toward a feeding crab, and as it comes close its yellow eyes burn and its body turns rosy with the pulsing color of anticipation and rage. Then suddenly it runs lightly on the tips of its arms, as ferociously as a charging cat. It leaps savagely on the crab, there is a puff of black fluid, and the struggling mass is obscured in the sepia cloud while the octopus murders the crab. On the exposed rocks out of water, the barnacles

John Steinbeck (Cannery Row (Cannery Row, #1))

The creature was very young. He was alone in a dread universe. I crept on my knees and crouched beside him. It was a small fox pup from a den under the timbers who looked up at me. God knows what had become of his brothers and sisters. His parents must not have been home from hunting. He innocently selected what I think was a chicken bone from an untidy pile of splintered rubbish and shook it at me invitingly... the universe was swinging in some fantastic fashion around to present its face and the face was so small that the universe itself was laughing.It was not a time for human dignity. It was a time only for the careful observance of amenities written behind the stars. Gravely I arranged my forepaws while the puppy whimpered with ill-concealed excitement. I drew the breath of a fox's den into my nostrils. On impulse, I picked up clumsily a whiter bone and shook it in teeth that had not entirely forgotten their original purpose. Round and round we tumbled and for just one ecstatic moment I held the universe at bay by the simple expedient of sitting on my haunches before a fox den and tumbling about with a chicken bone. It is the gravest, most meaningful act I shall ever accomplish, but, as Thoreau once remarked of some peculiar errand of his own, there is no use reporting it to the Royal Society.

Loren Eiseley

I’ve noticed in myself that if something small and ultimately meaningless has gone wrong—I can’t find the file I left on top of my desk, my daughter failed to do what I asked her to do before going to a friend’s house—I can easily get rattled. But if someone calls to inform me of a serious difficulty—someone has been in an accident, or a child is in trouble—I notice a profound stillness come over me as I focus on the problem. In the former case, my temptation to become frantic does not attract solutions, but rather hinders them. There is nothing in my personal energy that invites help from others, nor do I have the clarity to think through what I need to do next.

Marianne Williamson (The Gift of Change: Spiritual Guidance for Living Your Best Life)

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about what it means to do work well and in a healthy way without using my work as a way to define myself. Jesus says his load is easy and his burden is light, but he doesn’t say there isn’t a load or a burden. He recognizes there is something to carry but he invites us into the easy way of carrying it.

Emily P. Freeman (Simply Tuesday: Small-Moment Living in a Fast-Moving World)

Looking at death can be life-affirming. It doesn’t need to mire us in thoughts of uselessness, nihilism, self-recrimination, and indifference to the future. Just a reminder that our days are numbered invites us to consider our blessings, strengthen our resolve to carry on, and escalate our compassion for all creatures, great and small.

Brent Green (Questions of the Spirit: The Quest for Understanding at a Time of Loss)

Other than involving yourself with ungrateful vegetable matter, colour, vigour and fascination can be imparted into a small outdoor space by several other methods.In the 18th century, the inclusion of a hermit on one's estate was regarded as the epitome of country house style. There is absolutely no reason why today's dandy should not avail himself of the same privilege. It's a straightforward enough matter to entice a hopelessly drunk vagrant back to your premises using the simple lure of an opened bottle of wine. Once there, dress him in a bed sheet, wreathe his head in foliage and invite him to take up residence in an old barrel with the promise of unlimited alcohol, tobacco and scraps from your table in return for a sterling display of relentless solitude. Such a move not only provides the disadvantaged with ideal employment opportunities, but also enhances your reputation for stylish romanticism. Watch your friends gape in wonderment at the picturesque spectacle as your hermit sporadically peers out the top of the barrel and matters a few enigmatic words of wisdom.

Vic Darkwood Gustav Temple (The Chap Almanac: An Esoterick Yearbook For The Decadent Gentleman)

After Cooper had woken up in the hospital missing six and a half feet of small intestine, with a tube draining his stomach contents out his nose and an invitation to discuss “possible promotion opportunities” at the mysterious BSI headquarters, the only question he had was what the hell had happened. The BSI told him they could answer that if he agreed to join their team.

Charlie Adhara (The Wolf at the Door (Big Bad Wolf, #1))

Soft green grass grew in front of the house. There stood the cypress too, and, as if on purpose, it was singing with its tree-voice, its sweet-sounding voice, inviting to the ear. Then there were bees which had lived under a tile and were humming in the air. And then, like a miracle, so unexpected that it made them rub their eyes, there was a small lilac tree in full blossom.

Jean Giono (Regain (Le Livre De Poche) (French Edition))

There is a vast difference between being a Christian and being a disciple. The difference is commitment.Motivation and discipline will not ultimately occur through listening to sermons, sitting in a class, participating in a fellowship group, attending a study group in the workplace or being a member of a small group, but rather in the context of highly accountable, relationally transparent, truth-centered, small discipleship units. There are twin prerequisites for following Christ - cost and commitment, neither of which can occur in the anonymity of the masses. Disciples cannot be mass produced. We cannot drop people into a program and see disciples emerge at the end of the production line. It takes time to make disciples. It takes individual personal attention. Discipleship training is not about information transfer, from head to head, but imitation, life to life. You can ultimately learn and develop only by doing. The effectiveness of one's ministry is to be measured by how well it flourishes after one's departure. Discipling is an intentional relationship in which we walk alongside other disciples in order to encourage, equip, and challenge one another in love to grow toward maturity in Christ. This includes equipping the disciple to teach others as well.If there are no explicit, mutually agreed upon commitments, then the group leader is left without any basis to hold people accountable. Without a covenant, all leaders possess is their subjective understanding of what is entailed in the relationship. Every believer or inquirer must be given the opportunity to be invited into a relationship of intimate trust that provides the opportunity to explore and apply God's Word within a setting of relational motivation, and finally, make a sober commitment to a covenant of accountability. Reviewing the covenant is part of the initial invitation to the journey together. It is a sobering moment to examine whether one has the time, the energy and the commitment to do what is necessary to engage in a discipleship relationship. Invest in a relationship with two others for give or take a year. Then multiply. Each person invites two others for the next leg of the journey and does it all again. Same content, different relationships. The invitation to discipleship should be preceded by a period of prayerful discernment. It is vital to have a settled conviction that the Lord is drawing us to those to whom we are issuing this invitation. . If you are going to invest a year or more of your time with two others with the intent of multiplying, whom you invite is of paramount importance. You want to raise the question implicitly: Are you ready to consider serious change in any area of your life? From the outset you are raising the bar and calling a person to step up to it. Do not seek or allow an immediate response to the invitation to join a triad. You want the person to consider the time commitment in light of the larger configuration of life's responsibilities and to make the adjustments in schedule, if necessary, to make this relationship work. Intentionally growing people takes time. Do you want to measure your ministry by the number of sermons preached, worship services designed, homes visited, hospital calls made, counseling sessions held, or the number of self-initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus?When we get to the shore's edge and know that there is a boat there waiting to take us to the other side to be with Jesus, all that will truly matter is the names of family, friends and others who are self initiating, reproducing, fully devoted followers of Jesus because we made it the priority of our lives to walk with them toward maturity in Christ. There is no better eternal investment or legacy to leave behind.

Greg Ogden (Transforming Discipleship: Making Disciples a Few at a Time)

In addition to beginning and maintaining relationships, many women have let established relationships slip away. Small occasions and important events with other people are missed: there are an increasing number of missed thank-you notes, missed birthdays, or invitations that are not reciprocated. The connections just aren’t kept up, and eventually they’re gone. They then anticipate scolding, rejection, or negative reactions when they think about trying to reconnect or rectify a situation, so they tend to avoid them altogether. While this may be true for everyone to some extent, women with AD/HD with particular histories or wounds are especially sensitive to and avoidant of this kind of potentially critical feedback further increasing the negative cycle.

Sari Solden (Women With Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life)

The woman, one of those usually known as a good-time girl, was famous for the premature portliness which had earned her the nickname Boule de Suif. Small, round as a barrel, fat as butter and with fingers tightly jointed like strings of small sausages, her glowing skin and the enormous bosom which strained under the constraints of her dress — as well as her freshness, which was a delight to the eye — made her hugely desirable and much sought after. She had a rosy apple of a face, a peony bud about to burst into bloom. Out of it looked two magnificent dark eyes shaded by thick black lashes. Further down was a charming little mouth complete with invitingly moist lips and tiny, gleaming pearly-white teeth. She was said to possess a variety of other inestimable qualities.

Guy de Maupassant (A Parisian Affair and Other Stories)

The decades that she devoted to conserving her husband’s legacy made Eliza only more militantly loyal to his memory, and there was one injury she could never forget: the exposure of the Maria Reynolds affair, for which she squarely blamed James Monroe. In the 1820s, after Monroe had completed two terms as president, he called upon Eliza in Washington, D.C., hoping to thaw the frost between them. Eliza was then about seventy and staying at her daughter’s home. She was sitting in the backyard with her fifteen-year-old nephew when a maid emerged and presented the ex-president’s card. Far from being flattered by this distinguished visitor, Eliza was taken aback. “She read the name and stood holding the card, much perturbed,” said her nephew. “Her voice sank and she spoke very low, as she always did when she was angry. ‘What has that man come to see me for?’” The nephew said that Monroe must have stopped by to pay his respects. She wavered. “I will see him,” she finally agreed. So the small woman with the upright carriage and the sturdy, determined step marched stiffly into the house. When she entered the parlor, Monroe rose to greet her. Eliza then did something out of character and socially unthinkable: she stood facing the ex-president but did not invite him to sit down. With a bow, Monroe began what sounded like a well-rehearsed speech, stating “that it was many years since they had met, that the lapse of time brought its softening influences, that they both were nearing the grave, when past differences could be forgiven and forgotten.” Eliza saw that Monroe was trying to draw a moral equation between them and apportion blame equally for the long rupture in their relationship. Even at this late date, thirty years after the fact, she was not in a forgiving mood. “Mr. Monroe,” she told him, “if you have come to tell me that you repent, that you are sorry, very sorry, for the misrepresentations and the slanders and the stories you circulated against my dear husband, if you have come to say this, I understand it. But otherwise, no lapse of time, no nearness to the grave, makes any difference.” Monroe took in this rebuke without comment. Stunned by the fiery words delivered by the elderly little woman in widow’s weeds, the ex-president picked up his hat, bid Eliza good day, and left the house, never to return.

Ron Chernow (Alexander Hamilton)

Some very elegant dishes were served up to himself and a few more of us, whilst those placed before the rest of the company consisted simply of cheap dishes and scraps. There were, in small bottles, three different kinds of wine; not that the guest might take their choice, but that they might not have any option in their power; one kind being for himself, and for us; another sort for his lesser friends (for it seems he has degrees of friends), and the third for his own freedmen and ours. My neighbour . . . asked me if I approved the arrangement. Not at all, I told him. "Pray, then," he asked, "what is your method upon such occasions?" "Mine," I returned, "is to give all my visitors the same reception; for when I give an invitation, it is to entertain, not distinguish, my company: I place every man upon my own level whom I admit to my table." . . . He replied, "This must cost you a great deal." "Not in the least." "How can that be?" "Simply because, although my freedmen don't drink the same wine as myself, yet I drink the same as they do." And, no doubt about it, if a man is wise enough to moderate his appetite, he will not find it such a very expensive thing to share with all his visitors what he takes himself. Restrain it, keep it in, if you wish to be true economist. You will find temperance a far better way of saving than treating other people rudely can be. . . . Remember, then, nothing is more to be avoided than this modern alliance of luxury with meanness; odious enough when existing separate and distinct, but still more hateful where you meet with them together.

Pliny the Younger

The introvert's dilemma is that we might not get a lot of invitations for the kind of socializing we like best--small, mellow gatherings. In other words, the kind of socializing other introverts like to do. Because, let's face it: We're introverts. We're all at home waiting to be invited to do introvert things. Which means, of course, that none of us are getting the invitations we crave. It's an introvert standoff.

Sophia Dembling (Introverts in Love: The Quiet Way to Happily Ever After)

I am often reminded how a small fire underneath a vast sky can bind people together like nothing else. For all that we are social creatures, we are too often shoved into solitary confinement by circumstance. The color of our skin isn’t like everyone else’s, or our language is different, or our religion isn’t the one that gets us invited to dinner by the neighbors. That last one has kept me alone for a long, long time.

Kevin Hearne (Besieged (The Iron Druid Chronicles #4.1-4.2, 4.4, 4.6, 8.1-8.2, 8.5-8.6, 8.8))

The worst part is that I want to turn this into a parable. I want to echo a rallying cry of inspiration that sings, Women, we are not alone; Women, these men do not defeat us; Women, these men do not define us; Women, I feel what you feel; Women, we, together, are strong, and for all the loud voices that said no or that didn’t have the freedom to but who still said 'please stop' or 'not right now' or 'I don’t know' or 'I don’t like that' which are all the same goddamn thing, to all the women who said no, you are not to blame for his hard, hungry hands, whether they came at you like raging fists or whether they gripped your face softly, at first, smiling at it and inviting you into the night, only later for you to meet the fingernails and full-weighted back of his hand to keep you there and press you down; to all the women who said no, you are not to blame; to all the women who feel ashamed, you are still the goddess and his hungry hands could not defile you more than mortals could defile a god; to all the women who feel sorry, you did not sin; to all the women who feel angry, I share your rage; to all the women who are too tired to feel rage, to all the women who feel empty, who feel blank, who feel Nothing, who feel small, I feel that most of all, too.

Alice Minium

To avoid an unfortunate contrast, we had to replace the kitchen. Then we noticed that the living room looked old and faded. So we redecorated the living room, which then looked more inviting than the study we hadn’t touched for ten years. So then we went to work on the study. Gradually, the refurbishment spread to the whole house. I hope the same happens to my life. I hope that the small things lead to great transformations.

Paulo Coelho (Adultery)

The worst part is that I want to turn this into a parable. I want to echo a rallying cry of inspiration that sings, Women, we are not alone; Women, these men do not defeat us; Women, these men do not define us; Women, I feel what you feel; Women, we, together, are strong, and for all the loud voices that said no or that didn’t have the freedom to but who still said 'please stop' or 'not right now' or 'I don’t know' or 'I don’t like that' which are all the same goddamn thing, to all the women who said no, you are not to blame for his hard, hungry hands, whether they came at you like raging fists or whether they gripped your face softly, at first, smiling at it and inviting you into the night,only later for you to meet the fingernails and full-weighted back of his hand to keep you there and press you down; to all the women who said no, you are not to blame; to all the women who feel ashamed, you are still the goddess and his hungry hands could not defile you more than mortals could defile a god; to all the women who feel sorry, you did not sin; to all the women who feel angry, I share your rage; to all the women who are too tired to feel rage, to all the women who feel empty, who feel blank, who feel Nothing, who feel small, I feel that most of all, too.

Alice Minium

There is nothing God loves more than keeping promises, answering prayers, performing miracles, and fulfilling dreams. That is who He is. That is what He does. And the bigger the circle we draw, the better, because God gets more glory. The greatest moments in life are the miraculous moments when human impotence and divine omnipotence intersect – and they intersect when we draw a circle around the impossible situations in our lives and invite God to intervene.I promise you this: God is ready and waiting. So while I have no idea what circumstances you find yourself in, I’m confident that you are only a prayer away from a dream fulfilled, a promise kept, or a miracle performed.It is absolutely imperative at the outset that you come to terms with this simple yet life-changing truth: God is for you. If you don’t believe that, then you’ll pray small timid prayers; if you do believe it, then you’ll pray big audacious prayers. And one way or another, your small timid prayers or bid audacious prayers will change the trajectory of your life and turn you into two totally different people. Prayers are prophecies. They are best predictors of your spiritual future. Who you become is determined by how you pray. Ultimately, the transcript of your prayers becomes the script of your life.

Mark Batterson (The Circle Maker: Praying Circles Around Your Biggest Dreams and Greatest Fears)

Do you know what an inciting incident is?' Noah says as he turns off the engine.I shake my head.'It's the point at the start of a movie where something happens to the hero that changes their live forever. You've seen Harry Potter, right?'I nod.'Well, the inciting incident in that movie is when Hagrid tells Harry Potter he'll be a great wizard someday and gives him the invite to Hogwarts.''Oh right.'Noah looks down in his lap, like he's embarassed. 'I think that's what you might be to me.''What? A wizard?''No! My inciting incident.'I glance at him. In half-light of the car park, his cheekbones look even more chiselled than ever. 'What do you mean?' I ask, hardly daring to believe what I think he means.'I mean, Ithink this might be the start of something.'We sat in silence.'I think you might be my inciting incident too,' I say with a small smile.

Zoe Sugg

That summer, in a small house near the beach, he began to write a book. He knew it would be the last thing he ever did, so he decided to write something advocating a crazy, preposterous idea—one so outlandish that nobody had ever written a book about it before. He was going to propose that gay people should be allowed to get married, just like straight people. He thought this would be the only way to free gay people from the self-hatred and shame that had trapped Andrew himself. It’s too late for me, he thought, but maybe it will help the people who come after me. When the book—Virtually Normal—came out a year later, Patrick died when it had only been in the bookstores for a few days, and Andrew was widely ridiculed for suggesting something so absurd as gay marriage. Andrew was attacked not just by right-wingers, but by many gay left-wingers, who said he was a sellout, a wannabe heterosexual, a freak, for believing in marriage. A group called the Lesbian Avengers turned up to protest at his events with his face in the crosshairs of a gun. Andrew looked out at the crowd and despaired. This mad idea—his last gesture before dying—was clearly going to come to nothing. When I hear people saying that the changes we need to make in order to deal with depression and anxiety can’t happen, I imagine going back in time, to the summer of 1993, to that beach house in Provincetown, and telling Andrew something: Okay, Andrew, you’re not going to believe me, but this is what’s going to happen next. Twenty-five years from now, you’ll be alive. I know; it’s amazing; but wait—that’s not the best part. This book you’ve written—it’s going to spark a movement. And this book—it’s going to be quoted in a key Supreme Court ruling declaring marriage equality for gay people. And I’m going to be with you and your future husband the day after you receive a letter from the president of the United States telling you that this fight for gay marriage that you started has succeeded in part because of you. He’s going to light up the White House like the rainbow flag that day. He’s going to invite you to have dinner there, to thank you for what you’ve done. Oh, and by the way—that president? He’s going to be black.

Johann Hari (Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions)

When we speak with others about our experience in Christ, it sharpens our attentiveness to the voice and will of the Father. Sharing our stories helps us clarify the intentions of our hearts toward the fulfillment of his divine will. A small circle of friends also reminds us of the presence, power and protection of the Holy Spirit. Confiding in one another instills a sense of hope for the future as children who are dearly loved by their Father.

Stephen A. Macchia (Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way)

It occurred to her that there were so many levels of evil in the world. Small evils like her own malicious words. Like not inviting a child to a party. Bigger evils like walking out on your wife and newborn baby or sleeping with your child’s nanny. And then there was the sort of evil of which Madeline had no experience: cruelty in hotel rooms and violence in suburban homes and little girls being sold like merchandise, shattering innocent hearts.

Liane Moriarty (Big Little Lies)

While you're alive it's shameful to worm your way intothe Calendar of Saints.Disbelief in yourself is more saintly.It takes real talent not to dread being terrifiedby your own agonizing lack of talent.Disbelief in yourself is indispensable.Indispensable to us is the lonelinessof being gripped in the vise,so that in the darkest night the sky will enter youand skin your temples with the stars,so that streetcars will crash into the room,wheels cutting across your face,so the dangling rope, terrible and alive,will float into the room and dance invitingly in the air.Indispensable is any mangy ghostin tattered, overplayed stage rags,and if even the ghosts are capricious,I swear, they are no more capricious than those who are alive.Indispensable amidst babbling boredomare the deadly fear of uttering the right wordsand the fear of shaving, because across your cheekbonegraveyard grass already grows.It is indispensable to be sleeplessly delirious,to fail, to leap into emptiness.Probably, only in despair is it possibleto speak all the truth to this age.It is indispensable, after throwing out dirty drafts,to explode yourself and crawl before ridicule,to reassemble your shattered handsfrom fingers that rolled under the dresser.Indispensable is the cowardice to be crueland the observation of the small mercies,when a step toward falsely high goalsmakes the trampled stars squeal out.It's indispensable, with a misfit's hunger,to gnaw a verb right down to the bone.Only one who is by nature from the naked pooris neither naked nor poor before fastidious eternity.And if from out of the dirt,you have become a prince,but without principles,unprince yourself and considerhow much less dirt there was before,when you were in the real, pure dirt.Our self-esteem is such baseness....The Creator raises to the heightsonly those who, even with tiny movements,tremble with the fear of uncertainty.Better to cut open your veins with a can opener,to lie like a wino on a spit-spattered bench in the park,than to come to that very comfortable beliefin your own special significance.Blessed is the madcap artist,who smashes his sculpture with relish-hungry and cold-but freefrom degrading belief in himself.

Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Shane climbed onto the bed and got onto his hands and knees. I situated myself behind him. His back was arched and his ass was sticking up in the air. I just looked at it for a second, a small man pondering a climb up a large mountain. Shane turned his head toward me. “You okay back there?” “Yeah,” I gulped, “your ass is… perfect.” He gave his ass an inviting wiggle and I pounced. I leaned forward, spread his cheeks to expose his pink hole, and stuck my tongue in deep.


And yet, I have half a pot of dark brown honey remaining in my bag; a half a pot of honey that is worth more than nations. (I was tempted to write, worth more than all the tea in China, perhaps because of my current situation, but fear that even Watson would deride it as cliché.)And speaking of Watson...There is one thing left to do. My only remaining goal, and it is small enough. I shall make my way to Shanghai, and from there I shall take ship to Southamptom, a half a world away.And once I am there, I shall seek out Watson, if he still live - and fancy he does. It is irrational, I acknowledge, and yet I am certain that I would know, somehow, had Watson passed beyond the veil.I shall by theatrical makeup, disguise myself as an old man, so as not to startle him, and I shall invite my old friend over for tea.There will be honey on buttered toast served with the tea that afternoon, I fancy.(from 'The Case of Death and Honey')

Neil Gaiman (Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances)

There was a small public library on Ninety-third and Hooper. Mrs. Stella Keaton was the librarian. We’d known each other for years. She was a white lady from Wisconsin. Her husband had a fatal heart attack in ’34 and her two children died in a fire the year after that. Her only living relative had been an older brother who was stationed in San Diego with the navy for ten years. After his discharge he moved to L.A. When Mrs. Keaton had her tragedies he invited her to live with him. One year after that her brother, Horton, took ill, and after three months he died spitting up blood, in her arms. All Mrs. Keaton had was the Ninety-third Street branch. She treated the people who came in there like her siblings and she treated the children like her own. If you were a regular at the library she’d bake you a cake on your birthday and save the books you loved under the front desk. We were on a first-name basis, Stella and I, but I was unhappy that she held that job. I was unhappy because even though Stella was nice, she was still a white woman. A white woman from a place where there were only white Christians. To her Shakespeare was a god. I didn’t mind that, but what did she know about the folk tales and riddles and stories colored folks had been telling for centuries? What did she know about the language we spoke? I always heard her correcting children’s speech. “Not ‘I is,’ she’d say. “It’s ‘I am.’” And, of course, she was right. It’s just that little colored children listening to that proper white woman would never hear their own cadence in her words. They’d come to believe that they would have to abandon their own language and stories to become a part of her educated world. They would have to forfeit Waller for Mozart and Remus for Puck. They would enter a world where only white people spoke. And no matter how articulate Dickens and Voltaire were, those children wouldn’t have their own examples in the house of learning—the library.

Walter Mosley (White Butterfly (Easy Rawlins #3))

Well?” pressed Amar. “Are we going or not?”We? I looked him over. The garland of red carnations hung limply around his neck. He held out his hand like a casual invitation, indifferent to the tumult outside the chambers. How could I trust him? What if he sold me to the enemies? He had no reason to protect me…unless I meant something to him.Something else guided my hands. Images flashing sideways--a different hand, a samite curtain. I was convinced that we owned this single moment, this sphere of breath, this heartbeat shared like a secret. I don’t know what possessed me, but I took the white garland and threw it around his neck.I stared at my hands, not quite believing what they’d done: With one throw, I had married him. Amar lifted the garland of white flowers and grinned. “I hoped you’d choose me.”The right corner of his lips curled faster than the left. It was such a small movement, but I couldn’t look away from it. His smile was disjointed, like he was out of practice.

Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1))

I spoke to Massasoit, the sachem of the Pokanoket, as a pniese should, with respect and honor. “Befriend the English,” I said. “Make them come to understand and support our people.”Massasoit did not listen at first. He watched silently through that winter.Then Samoset came to visit. He was a sachem of the Pemaquid people, who lived farther up the coast. He had done much trading with the English. He knew some of their language.“Let me talk with the Songlismoniak,” he said to Massasoit, nodding to me as he spoke. Massasoit agreed.The next day, March 16th of 1621, Samoset strode into the English settlement.“Welcome, English,” he said in their tongue. He showed them the two arrows in his hand. One had a flint arrowhead, the other had the arrowhead removed. The arrows symbolized what we offered them, either war or peace.The English placed a coat about his shoulders to warm him. They invited him into one of their houses. They gave him small water, biscuits and butter, pudding and cheese.“The food was so good,” Samoset said to me later, laughing as he spoke, “I decided to spend the night.”When he left the next day, he promised to return with a friend who spoke their language well.So it was that five days later, on the 22nd of March, I walked with Samoset back into my own village. Once Patuxet, now it was Plymouth. I looked around me. Though much was changed, I knew that I at last had returned to the land of my home.“Perhaps these men can share our land as friends,” I told my brother, at my side.

Joseph Bruchac (Squanto's Journey: The Story of the First Thanksgiving)

Lowlanders who left Scotland for Ireland between 1610 and 1690 were biologically compounded of many ancestral strains. While the Gaelic Highlanders of that time were (as they are probably still) overwhelmingly Celtic in ancestry, this was not true of the Lowlanders. Even if the theory of 'racial' inheritance of character were sound, the Lowlander had long since become a biological mixture, in which at least nine strains had met and mingled in different proportions. Three of the nine had been present in the Scotland of dim antiquity, before the Roman conquest: the aborigines of the Stone Ages, whoever they may have been; the Gaels, a Celtic people who overran the whole island of Britain from the continent around 500 B.C.; and the Britons, another Celtic folk of the same period, whose arrival pushed the Gaels northward into Scotland and westward into Wales. During the thousand years following the Roman occupation, four more elements were added to the Scottish mixture: the Roman itself—for, although Romans did not colonize the island, their soldiers can hardly have been celibate; the Teutonic Angles and Saxons, especially the former, who dominated the eastern Lowlands of Scotland for centuries; the Scots, a Celtic tribe which, by one of the ironies of history, invaded from Ireland the country that was eventually to bear their name (so that the Scotch-Irish were, in effect, returning to the home of some of their ancestors); and Norse adventurers and pirates, who raided and harassed the countryside and sometimes remained to settle. The two final and much smaller components of the mixture were Normans, who pushed north after they had dealt with England (many of them were actually invited by King David of Scotland to settle in his country), and Flemish traders, a small contingent who mostly remained in the towns of the eastern Lowlands. In addition to these, a tenth element, Englishmen—themselves quite as diverse in ancestry as the Scots, though with more of the Teutonic than the Celtic strains—constantly came across the Border to add to the mixture.

James G. Leyburn (The Scotch-Irish: A Social History)

Christianity agrees with Hamlet when he said to Horatio, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in your philosophy.” Reductionistic worldviews insist that there are fewer things in heaven and earth. Living according to these worldviews is like living in a concrete bunker with no windows. Communicating a Christian worldview should be like inviting people to open the door and come out. Our message ought to express the joy of leading captives out of a small, cramped world into one that is expansive and liberating.

Nancy R. Pearcey (Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes)

Genetic selection for early egg production, to reduce time and money 'wasted' on feeding and housing unproductive birds for six months, results in eggs being formed that are often too big to be laid by the immature body of a small, five month old bird. Uteruses 'prolapse,' pushing through the vagina of the small, cramped birds forced to strain day after day to expel huge eggs. The uterus protrudes, hangs, and 'blows out,' inviting infection and vent picking by cell mates, from whom the prolapse victim, in severe pain, cannot escape except by dying.

Karen Davis (Prisoned Chickens Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry)

Moreover, in discussing tradition, we are not discussing arbitrary rules and conventions. We are discussing answers that have been discovered to enduring questions. These answers are tacit, shared, embodied in social practices and inarticulate expectations. Those who adopt them are not necessarily able to explain them, still less to justify them. Hence Burke described them as 'prejudices,' and defended them on the grounds that, though the stock of reason in each individual is small, there is an accumulation of reason in society that we question and reject at our peril.

Roger Scruton (Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition)

Social traditions, Burke pointed out, are forms of knowledge. They contain the residues of many trials and errors, and the inherited solutions to problems that we all encounter. Like those cognitive abilities that pre-date civilisation they are *adaptations*, but adaptations of the community rather than of the individual organism. Social traditions exist because they enable a society to reproduce itself. Destroy them heedlessly and you remove the guarantee offered by one generation to the next..... [F]or Burke, traditions and customs distil information about the indefinitely many strangers living *then*, information that we need if we are to accommodate our conduct to the needs of absent generations.Moreover, in discussing tradition, we are not discussing arbitrary rules and conventions. We are discussing *answers* that have been discovered to enduring *questions*. These answers are tacit, shared, embodied in social practices and inarticulate expectations. Those who adopt them are not necessarily able to explain them, far less justify them. Hence Burke described them as 'prejudices', and defended them on the grounds that, though the stock of reason in each individual is small, there is an accumulation of reason in society that we question and reject at our peril.

Roger Scruton (Conservatism: An Invitation to the Great Tradition)

When I first began teaching Religion 101, students would sometimes tell me they were scared to study other religions for fear of losing their own faith. It was an odd concern, on the face of it. Would studying Spanish make them lose their English? Would traveling to Turkey cost them their US passport? I had a stock response to their concern: engaging the faith of others is the best way to grow your own. Now, years down the road, I have greater respect for their unease. To discover that your faith is one among many - that there are hundreds of others that have sustained millions of people for thousands of years, and that some of them make a great deal of sense - that can rock your boat, especially if you thought yours was the only one on the sea. If your faith depends on being God's only child, then the discovery that there are others can lead you to decide that someone must be wrong - or that everybody belongs, which means that no religion, including yours, is the entire ocean. The next time I teach the course I will try to be more honest. 'Engaging the faith of others will almost certainly cause you to lose faith in the old box you kept God in,' I will say. 'The truths you glimpse in other religions are going to crowd up against some of your own. Holy envy may lead you to borrow some things, and you will need a place to put them. You may find spiritual guides outside your box whom you want to make room for, or some neighbors from other faith who have stopped by for a visit. However it happens, your old box will turn out to be too small for who you have become. You will need a bigger one with more windows in it - something more like a home than a box, perhaps - where you can open the door to all kinds of people without fearing their faith will cancel yours out if you let them in. If things go well, they may invite you to visit them in their homes as well, so that your children can make friends.

Barbara Brown Taylor (Holy Envy: Finding God in the Faith of Others)

One of my most vivid memories is of coming back West from prep school and later from college at Christmas time. Those who went farther than Chicago would gather in the old dim Union Station at six o’clock of a December evening, with a few Chicago friends, already caught up into their own holiday gayeties, to bid them a hasty good-by. I remember the fur coats of the girls returning from Miss This-or-that’s and the chatter of frozen breath and the hands waving overhead as we caught sight of old acquaintances, and the matchings of invitations: “Are you going to the Ordways’? the Herseys’? the Schultzes’?” and the long green tickets clasped tight in our gloved hands. And last the murky yellow cars of the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul railroad looking cheerful as Christmas itself on the tracks beside the gate.When we pulled out into the winter night and the real snow, our snow, began to stretch out beside us and twinkle against the windows, and the dim lights of small Wisconsin stations moved by, a sharp wild brace came suddenly into the air. We drew in deep breaths of it as we walked back from dinner through the cold vestibules, unutterably aware of our identity with this country for one strange hour, before we melted indistinguishably into it again.That’s my Middle West — not the wheat or the prairies or the lost Swede towns, but the thrilling returning trains of my youth, and the street lamps and sleigh bells in the frosty dark and the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow. I am part of that, a little solemn with the feel of those long winters, a little complacent from growing up in the Carraway house in a city where dwellings are still called through decades by a family’s name. I see now that this has been a story of the West, after all — Tom and Gatsby, Daisy and Jordan and I, were all Westerners, and perhaps we possessed some deficiency in common which made us subtly unadaptable to Eastern life.

F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby)

We have now reached a level in which many people are not merely unacquainted with the fundamentals of punctuation, but don’t evidently realize that there are fundamentals. Many people—people who make posters for leading publishers, write captions for the BBC, compose letters and advertisements for important institutions—seem to think that capitalization and marks of punctuation are condiments that you sprinkle through any collection of words as if from a salt shaker. Here is a headline, exactly as presented, from a magazine ad for a private school in York: “Ranked by the daily Telegraph the top Northern Co-Educational day and Boarding School for Academic results.” All those capital letters are just random. Does anyone really think that the correct rendering of the newspaper is “the daily Telegraph”? Is it really possible to be that unobservant? Well, yes, as a matter of fact. Not long ago, I received an e-mail from someone at the Department for Children, Schools and Families asking me to take part in a campaign to help raise appreciation for the quality of teaching in Great Britain. Here is the opening line of the message exactly as it was sent to me: “Hi Bill. Hope alls well. Here at the Department of Children Schools and Families…” In the space of one line, fourteen words, the author has made three elemental punctuation errors (two missing commas, one missing apostrophe; I am not telling you more than that) and gotten the name of her own department wrong—this from a person whose job is to promote education. In a similar spirit, I received a letter not long ago from a pediatric surgeon inviting me to speak at a conference. The writer used the word “children’s” twice in her invitation, spelling it two different ways and getting it wrong both times. This was a children’s specialist working in a children’s hospital. How long do you have to be exposed to a word, how central must it be to your working life, to notice how it is spelled?

Bill Bryson (The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island)

The old woman sat in her leather recliner, the footrest extended, a dinner tray on her lap. By candlelight, she turned the cards over, halfway through a game of Solitaire. Next door, her neighbors were being killed. She hummed quietly to herself. There was a jack of spades. She placed it under the queen of hearts in the middle column. Next a six of diamonds. It went under the seven of spades. Something crashed into her front door. She kept turning the cards over. Putting them in their right places. Two more blows. The door burst open. She looked up. The monster crawled inside, and when it saw her sitting in the chair, it growled. “I knew you were coming,” she said. “Didn’t think it’d take you quite so long.” Ten of clubs. Hmm. No home for this one yet. Back to the pile. The monster moved toward her. She stared into its small, black eyes. “Don’t you know it’s not polite to just walk into someone’s house without an invitation?” she asked. Her voice stopped it in its tracks. It tilted its head. Blood—from one of her neighbor’s no doubt—dripped off its chest onto the floor. Belinda put down the next card. “I’m afraid this is a one-player game,” she said, “and I don’t have any tea to offer you.” The monster opened its mouth and screeched a noise out of its throat like the squawk of a terrible bird. “That is not your inside voice,” Belinda snapped. The abby shrunk back a few steps. Belinda laid down the last card. “Ha!” She clapped. “I just won the game.” She gathered up the cards into a single deck, split it, then shuffled. “I could play Solitaire all day every day,” she said. “I’ve found in my life that sometimes the best company is your own.” A growl idled again in the monster’s throat. “You cut that right out!” she yelled. “I will not be spoken to that way in my own home.” The growl changed into something almost like a purr. “That’s better,” Belinda said as she dealt a new game. “I apologize for yelling. My temper sometimes gets the best of me.

Blake Crouch (The Last Town (Wayward Pines, #3))

Has he invited you to dinner, dear? Gifts, flowers, the usual?”I had to put my cup down, because my hand was shaking too much. When I stopped laughing, I said, “Curran? He isn’t exactly Mr. Smooth. He handed me a bowl of soup, that’s as far as we got.”“He fed you?” Raphael stopped rubbing Andrea.“How did this happen?” Aunt B stared at me. “Be very specific, this is important.”“He didn’t actually feed me. I was injured and he handed me a bowl of chicken soup. Actually I think he handed me two or three. And he called me an idiot.”“Did you accept?” Aunt B asked.“Yes, I was starving. Why are the three of you looking at me like that?”“For crying out loud.” Andrea set her cup down, spilling some tea. “The Beast Lord’s feeding you soup. Think about that for a second.”Raphael coughed. Aunt B leaned forward. “Was there anybody else in the room?”“No. He chased everyone out.”Raphael nodded. “At least he hasn’t gone public yet.”“He might never,” Andrea said. “It would jeopardize her position with the Order.”Aunt B’s face was grave. “It doesn’t go past this room. You hear me, Raphael? No gossip, no pillow talk, not a word. We don’t want any trouble with Curran.”“If you don’t explain it all to me, I will strangle somebody.” Of course, Raphael might like that . . .“Food has a special significance,” Aunt D said.I nodded. “Food indicates hierarchy. Nobody eats before the alpha, unless permission is given, and no alpha eats in Curran’s presence until Curran takes a bite.”“There is more,” Aunt B said. “Animals express love through food. When a cat loves you, he’ll leave dead mice on your porch, because you’re a lousy hunter and he wants to take care of you. When a shapeshifter boy likes a girl, he’ll bring her food and if she likes him back, she might make him lunch. When Curran wants to show interest in a woman, he buys her dinner.”“In public,” Raphael added, “the shapeshifter fathers always put the first bite on the plates of their wives and children. It signals that if someone wants to challenge the wife or the child, they would have to challenge the male first.”“If you put all of Curran’s girls together, you could have a parade,” Aunt B said. “But I’ve never seen him physically put food into a woman’s hands. He’s a very private man, so he might have done it in an intimate moment, but I would’ve found out eventually. Something like that doesn’t stay hidden in the Keep. Do you understand now? That’s a sign of a very serious interest, dear.”“But I didn’t know what it meant!”Aunt B frowned. “Doesn’t matter. You need to be very careful right now. When Curran wants something, he doesn’t become distracted. He goes after it and he doesn’t stop until he obtains his goal no matter what it takes. That tenacity is what makes him an alpha.”“You’re scaring me.”“Scared might be too strong a word, but in your place, I would definitely be concerned.”I wished I were back home, where I could get to my bottle of sangria. This clearly counted as a dire emergency.As if reading my thoughts, Aunt B rose, took a small bottle from a cabinet, and poured me a shot. I took it, and drained it in one gulp, letting tequila slide down my throat like liquid fire.“Feel better?”“It helped.” Curran had driven me to drinking. At least I wasn’t contemplating suicide.

Ilona Andrews (Magic Burns (Kate Daniels, #2))

We are so busy, so occupied with many little things, that we are blind to the one great thing. Only in the pauses between things, in the brief contemplative spaces of just being, can we catch a glimpse of love itself. Even then, we often feel so unfree that we think we are unworthy of love. But the glimpses keep coming. In the momentary emptiness when an addictive need is not yet satisfied, in encountering a situation in which we do not know what to do, in finding ourselves giving or receiving a touch of tenderness for no reason at all, in the spontaneous eruption of laughter, another small space opens. The invitation is given again.Time and time again we ignore the invitations and fill the spaces immediately, dulling our consciousness with drivenness. But love continues, hoping to catch us in a willing moment. Thousands of little spaces come each day. They exist between each choice we make and the next, after each thought is completed and before the next begins, between each breath and the next, in every hunger or wanting, whenever something wakes us up to presence.Now and then, through some mysterious interweaving of divine grace and human willingness, we see what is in the space and do not run away. We become aware of our hearts’ response and are given the most wonderful experience of freedom . . .

Gerald G. May (The Awakened Heart: Opening Yourself to the Love You Need)

From Our Narrative:“Baila…I am going to kiss you now,” Reid says. I smile and nod my head in agreement. Because Lord knows I am not able to get any words out of my mouth.As his lips reach mine and we tenderly kiss. I start to feel a pounding in my head as the blood rushes through my body, signaling more than just a regular kiss. The kiss is sweet, his lips are soft and inviting to mine. My hands instinctively reach for his chest, crumpling his t-shirt in my grasp as the kiss deepens and our tongues happily do a twisting dance. Feeling his well-formed muscles beneath his long sleeved t-shirt. I let out a small satisfied moan when we break apart to catch our breath.

S.P. Wilcox (Our Narrative)

Since we had religion in the classroom, my Sunday-school caper was an add-on. As usual, I was propelled by curiosity: wouldn’t I find out more about religious knowledge in a Sunday school than I could in an ordinary school? Not likely, as it turned out the most interesting parts of the Bible, those dealing with sex, rape, child sacrifice, mutilations, massacres, the gathering up in baskets of the lopped-off heads of your enemy’s kids, and the cutting up of concubines’ bodies and sending them around as invitations-to-a-war were studiously avoided, though I did spend a lot of time colouring in angels and sheep and robes, and singing hymns about letting my little candle shine in my own small, dark corner.

Margaret Atwood (Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth)

Your life is always speaking to you in whispers, guiding you to your next right step. And in many situations, the whisper is also the first warning. It’s a quiet nudge from deep within saying, Hmmm, something feels off. A small voice that tells you, This is no longer your place of belonging. It’s the pit in your stomach, or the pause before you speak. It’s the shiver, the goosebumps that raise the hairs on the back of your neck. Whatever form the whisper takes, it’s not a coincidence. Your life is trying to tell you something. Heeding these signs can open the doors to your personal evolution, pushing you toward your life’s purpose. Ignoring them or sleepwalking through your life, is an invitation to chaos.

Oprah Winfrey (The Path Made Clear: Discovering Your Life's Direction and Purpose)

The Never Unfriended PromiseI promise I will never unfriend you.Not with the swipe of my finger, not with the roll of my eyes, not with a mean word said behind your back, or a circle too small to pull up one more chair.I choose to like you.I choose to choose you. To include you. To invite you.Even on the days we hit road bumps. I don’t want another friendship break up. I want a friendship that won’t give up.So, I give you my too-loud laughter and my awkward tears.I give you my sofa for the days you just can’t even. And the nights you need a safe place to feel heard without saying a word.Let there be coffee and long conversations.Let there be messy, ordinary Tuesdays where neither of us is embarrassed by our dust bunnies.I won't try to force our friendship into jeans that won't fit.I won't treat you like a quick fix.I will like you just the way you are.Because I believe in guilt-free friendship.And on the days we’re tangled up in our own insecurities let’s agree to give each other the gift of the benefit of the doubt. Wrapped up with the giant bow of believing the best about each other, even when we don’t feel like it.I'm sure I won't always get it right.But I'll keep showing up.With encouragement instead of competition. With Kleenex, big news or sad news on the bad hair days and the Mondays and all the in between days with their ordinary news too.Friendship on purpose.Here's to me and you.

Lisa-Jo Baker (Never Unfriended: The Secret to Finding and Keeping Lasting Friendships)

Leaning back in his chair, Ian listened to Larimore’s irate summation of the wild and fruitless chase he’d been sent on for two days by Lady Thornton and her butler: “And after all that,” Larimore flung out in high dudgeon, “I returned to the house on Promenade Street to demand the butler allow me past the stoop, only to have the man-““Slam the door in your face?” Ian suggested dispassionately.“No, my lord, he invited me in,” Larimore bit out. “He invited me to search the house to my complete satisfaction. She’s left London,” Larimore finished, avoiding his employer’s narrowed gaze.“She’ll go to Havenhurst,” Ian said decisively, and he gave Larimore directions to find the small estate.When Larimore left, Ian picked up a contract he needed to read and approve; but before he’d read two lines Jordan stalked into his study unannounced, carrying a newspaper and wearing an expression Ian hadn’t seen before. “Have you seen the paper today?”Ian ignored the paper and studied his friend’s angry face instead. “No, why?”“Read it,” Jordan said, slapping it down on the desk. “Elizabeth allowed herself to be questioned by a reporter from the Times. Read that.” He jabbed his finger at a few lines near the bottom of the article about Elizabeth by one Mr. Thomas Tyson. “That was your wife’s response when Tyson asked her how she felt when she saw you on trial before your peers.”Frowning at Jordan’s tone, Ian read Elizabeth’s reply:My husband was not tried before his peers. He was merely tried before the Lords of theBritish Realm. Ian Thornton has no peers.Ian tore his gaze from the article, refusing to react to the incredible sweetness of her response, but Jordan would not let it go. “My compliments to you, Ian,” he said angrily. “You serve your wife with a divorce petition, and she responds by giving you what constitutes a public apology!” He turned and stalked out of the room, leaving Ian behind to stare with clenched jaw at the article. One month later Elizabeth had still not been found. Ian continued trying to purge her from his mind and tear her from his heart, but with decreasing success. He knew he was losing ground in the battle, just as he had been slowly losing it from the moment he’d looked up and seen her walking into the House of Lords.

Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))

But you must admit,it's taking up an inordinate amount of your time. Why it's taken us six months to have dinner together.""Is that all?"He misinterpreted the quiet response, and the gleam in her eyes.And leaned toward her.She slapped a hand on his chest. "Don't even think about it.Let me tell you something,pal.I do more in one day with my school than you do in a week of pushing papers in that office your grandfather gave you between your manicures and amaretto lattes and soirees. Men like you hold no interest for me whatsoever,which is why it's taken six months for this tedious little date.And the next time I have dinner with you,we'll be slurping Popsicles in hell.So take your French tie and your Italian shoes and stuff them."Utter shock had him speechless as she shoved open her door.As insult trickled in,his lips thinned. "Obviously spending so much time in the stables has eroded your manners, and your outlook.""That's right, Chad." She leaned back in the door. "You're too good for me. I'm about to go up and weep into my pillow over it.""Rumor is you're cold," he said in a quiet, stabbing voice. "But I had to find out for myself."It stung,but she wasn't about to let it show. "Rumor is you're a moron. Now we've both confirmed the local gossip."He gunned the engine once,and she would have sworn she saw him vibrate. "And it's a British tie."She slammed the car door, then watched narrow-eyed as he drove away. "A British tie." A laugh gurgled up,deep from the belly and up into the throat so she had to stand, hugging herself, all but howling at the moon. "That sure told me."Indulging herself in a long sigh, she tipped her head back,looked up at the sweep of stars. "Moron," she murmured. "And that goes for both of us."She heard a faint click, spun around and saw Brian lighting up a slim cigar. "Lover's spat?""Why yes." The temper Chad had roused stirred again. "He wants to take me to Antigua and I simply have my heart set on Mozambique.Antigua's been done to death."Brian took a contemplative puff of his cigar.She looked so damn beautiful standing there in the moonlight in that little excuse of a black dress, her hair spilling down her back like fire on silk.Hearing her long, gorgeous roll of laughter had been like discovering a treasure.Now the temper was back in her eyes,and spitting at him.It was almost as good.He took another lazy puff, blew out a cloud of smoke. "You're winding me up, Keeley.""I'd like to wind you up, then twist you into small pieces and ship them all back to Ireland.""I figured as much." He disposed of the cigar and walked to her. Unlike Chad, he didn't misinterpret the glint in her eyes. "You want to have a pop at someone." He closed his hand over the one she'd balled into a fist, lifted it to tap on his own chin. "Go ahead.""As delightful as I find that invitation, I don't solve my disputes that way." When she started to walk away, he tightened his grip. "But," she said slowly, "I could make an exception.""I don't like apologizing, and I wouldn't have to-again-of you'd set me straight right off."She lifted an eyebrow.Trying to free herself from that big, hard hand would only be undignified.

Nora Roberts (Irish Rebel (Irish Hearts, #3))

Small wonder, then, that an institution like the Library found space to take root. It was presented as a good cause, created in the hope of encouraging people to be more open with one another. Its creators were little more than boys: perky, smiling youngsters, well groomed and well dressed, without a trace of facial hair. They looked designed to win people's trust. And who wouldn't trust a cheerful, articulate young man who came calling at your door, inviting you to chat with him about this and that, about the meaning of life, about all the hunger and suffering in the world? It's true; it was whispered that dark forces acted behind them, national and international groups hungry for vengeance after certain recent defeats. But who could believe such things in front of polite young lads who always looked you in the eyes and shook your hand.

Giorgio De Maria (The Twenty Days of Turin)

Well, what happened to your scruples in the woodcutter’s cottage? You knew I thought you’d already left when I went inside.”“Why did you stay,” he countered smoothly, “when you realized I was still there?”In confused distress Elizabeth raked her hair off her forehead. “I knew I shouldn’t do it,” she admitted. “I don’t know why I remained.”“You stayed for the same reason I did,” he informed her bluntly. “We wanted each other.”“I was wrong,” she protested a little wildly. “Dangerous and-foolish!”“Foolish or not,” he said grimly, “I wanted you. I want you now.” Elizabeth made the mistake of looking at him, and his amber eyes captured hers against her will, holding them imprisoned. The shawl she’d been clutching as if it was a lifeline to safety slid from her nerveless hand and dangled at her side, but Elizabeth didn’t notice.“Neither of us has anything to gain by continuing this pretense that the weekend in England is over and forgotten,” he said bluntly. “Yesterday proved that it wasn’t over, if it proved nothing else, and it’s never been forgotten-I’ve remembered you all this time, and I know damn well you’ve remembered me.”Elizabeth wanted to deny it; she sensed that if she did, he’d be so disgusted with her deceit that he’d turn on his heel and leave her. She lifted her chin, unable to tear her gaze from his, but she was too affected by the things he’d just admitted to her to lie to him. “All right,” she said shakily, “you win. I’ve never forgotten you or that weekend. How could I?” she added defensively.He smiled at her angry retort, and his voice gentled to the timbre of rough velvet. “Come here, Elizabeth.”“Why?” she whispered shakily.“So that we can finish what we began that weekend.”Elizabeth stared at him in paralyzed terror mixed with violet excitement and shook her head in a jerky refusal.“I’ll not force you,” he said quietly, “nor will I force you to do anything you don’t want to do once you’re in my arms. Think carefully about that,” he warned, “because if you come to me now, you won’t be able to tell yourself in the morning that I made you do this against your will-or that you didn’t know what was going to happen. Yesterday neither of us knew what was going to happen. Now we do.”Some small, insidious voice in her mind urged her to obey, reminded her that after the public punishment she’d taken for the last time they were together she was entitled to some stolen passionate kisses, if she wanted them. Another voice warned her not to break the rules again. “I-I can’t,” she said in a soft cry.“There are four steps separating us and a year and a half of wanting drawing us together,” he said.Elizabeth swallowed. “Couldn’t you meet me halfway?”The sweetness of the question was almost Ian’s undoing, but he managed to shake his head. “Not this time. I want you, but I’ll not have you looking at me like a monster in the morning. If you want me, all you have to do is walk into my arms.”“I don’t know what I want,” Elizabeth cried, looking a little wildly at the valley below, as if she were thinking of leaping off the path.“Come here,” he invited huskily, “and I’ll show you.”It was his tone, not his words, that conquered her. As if drawn by a will stronger than her own, Elizabeth walked forward and straight into his arms that closed around her with stunning force. “I didn’t think you were going to do it,” he whispered gruffly against her hair.

Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))

I pulled at the knot again and heard threads begin to pop.“Allow me, Miss Jones,” said Armand, right at my back.There was no gracious way to refuse him. Not with Mrs. Westcliffe there, too.I exhaled and dropped my arms. I stared at the lotus petals in my painting as the new small twists and tugs of Armand’s hands rocked me back and forth. Jesse’s music began to reverberate somewhat more sharply than before.“There,” Armand said, soft near my ear. “Nearly got it.”“Most kind of you, my lord.” Mrs. Westcliffe’s voice was far more carrying. “Do you not agree, Miss Jones?”Her tone said I’d better.“Most kind,” I repeated. For some reason I felt him as a solid warmth behind me, behind all of me, even though only his knuckles made a gentle bumping against my spine.How blasted long could it take to unravel a knot?“Yes,” said Chloe unexpectedly. “Lord Armand is always a perfect gentleman, no matter who or what demands his attention.”“There,” the gentleman said, and at last his hands fell away. The front of the smock sagged loose. I shrugged out of it as fast as I could, wadding it up into a ball.“Excuse me.” I ducked a curtsy and began my escape to the hamper, but Mrs. Westcliffe cut me short.“A moment, Miss Jones. We require your presence.”I turned to face them. Armand was smiling his faint, cool smile. Mrs. Westcliffe looked as if she wished to fix me in some way. I raised a hand instinctively to my hair, trying to press it properly into place.“You have the honor of being invited to tea at the manor house,” the headmistress said. “To formally meet His Grace.”“Oh,” I said. “How marvelous.”I’d rather have a tooth pulled out.“Indeed. Lord Armand came himself to deliver the invitation.”“Least I could do,” said Armand. “It wasn’t far. This Saturday, if that’s all right.”“Um…”“I am certain Miss Jones will be pleased to cancel any other plans,” said Mrs. Westcliffe.“This Saturday?” Unlike me, Chloe had not concealed an inch of ground. “Why, Mandy! That’s the day you promised we’d play lawn tennis.”He cocked a brow at her, and I knew right then that she was lying and that she knew that he knew. She sent him a melting smile.“Isn’t it, my lord?”“I must have forgotten,” he said. “Well, but we cannot disappoint the duke, can we?”“No, indeed,” interjected Mrs. Westcliffe.“So I suppose you’ll have to come along to the tea instead, Chloe.”“Very well. If you insist.”He didn’t insist. He did, however, sweep her a very deep bow and then another to the headmistress. “And you, too, Mrs. Westcliffe. Naturally. The duke always remarks upon your excellent company.”“Most kind,” she said again, and actually blushed.Armand looked dead at me. There was that challenge behind his gaze, that one I’d first glimpsed at the train station.“We find ourselves in harmony, then. I shall see you in a few days, Miss Jones.”I tightened my fingers into the wad of the smock and forced my lips into an upward curve. He smiled back at me, that cold smile that said plainly he wasn’t duped for a moment.I did not get a bow.Jesse was at the hamper when I went to toss in the smock. Before I could, he took it from me, eyes cast downward, no words. Our fingers brushed beneath the cloth.That fleeting glide of his skin against mine. The sensation of hardened calluses stroking me, tender and rough at once. The sweet, strong pleasure that spiked through me, brief as it was.That had been on purpose. I was sure of it.

Shana Abe (The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark, #1))

My own heartbeat was slowing under my hand, under the deep rose silk, the color of a baby’s sleep-flushed cheek. When you hold a child to your breast to nurse, the curve of the little head echoes exactly the curve of the breast it suckles, as though this new person truly mirrors the flesh from which it sprang. Babies are soft. Anyone looking at them can see the tender, fragile skin and know it for the rose-leaf softness that invites a finger’s touch. But when you live with them and love them, you feel the softness going inward, the round-checked flesh wobbly as custard, the boneless splay of the tiny hands. Their joints are melted rubber, and even when you kiss them hard, in the passion of loving their existence, your lips sink down and seem never to find bone. Holding them against you, they melt and mold, as though they might at any moment flow back into your body. But from the very start, there is that small streak of steel within each child. That thing that says “I am,” and forms the core of personality. In the second year, the bone hardens and the child stands upright, skull wide and solid, a helmet protecting the softness within. And “I am” grows, too. Looking at them, you can almost see it, sturdy as heartwood, glowing through the translucent flesh. The bones of the face emerge at six, and the soul within is fixed at seven. The process of encapsulation goes on, to reach its peak in the glossy shell of adolescence, when all softness then is hidden under the nacreous layers of the multiple new personalities that teenagers try on to guard themselves. In the next years, the hardening spreads from the center, as one finds and fixes the facets of the soul, until “I am” is set, delicate and detailed as an insect in amber.

Diana Gabaldon (Dragonfly in Amber (Outlander, #2))

The people of this island and of all the other islands which I have found and seen, or have not seen, all go naked, men and women, as their mothers bore them, except that some women cover one place only with the leaf of a plant or with a net of cotton which they make for that purpose. They have no iron or steel or weapons, nor are they capable of using them, although they are well-built people of handsome stature, because they are wondrous timid. . . . [T]hey are so artless and free with all they possess, that no one would believe it without having seen it. Of anything they have, if you ask them for it, they never say no; rather they invite the person to share it, and show as much love as if they were giving their hearts; and whether the thing be of value or of small price, at once they are content with whatever little thing of whatever kind may be given to them.

David E. Stannard (American Holocaust: Columbus and the Conquest of the New World)

Does God get what God wants?That’s a good question. An interesting question. And it’s an important question that has given us much to discuss. But there’s a better question. One that we actually can answer. One that takes all of the speculation about the future, which no one has been to and returned with hard empirical evidence, and brings it back to one absolute we can depend on in the midst of all of this which turns out to be another question. It’s not, “Does God get what God wants?” but “Do we get what we want?” and the answer to that is a resounding, affirming, sure and certain yes. Yes, we get what we want, God is that loving. If we want isolation, despair, and the right to be our own god, God graciously grants us that option. If we insist on using our God-given power and strength to make the world in our own image, God allows us that freedom and we have that kind of license to do that. If we want nothing to do with light, love, hope, grace, and peace God respects that desire on our part and we are given a life free from any of those realities. The more we want nothing to do with what God is, the more distance and space is created. If we want nothing to do with love, we are given a reality free from love. If, however, we crave light, we’re drawn to truth, we’re desperate for grace, we’ve come to the end of our plots and schemes and we want someone else’s path, God gives us what we want. If we have this sense that we have wandered far from home and we want to return, God is there standing in the driveway arms open, ready to invite us in. If we thirst for Shalom and we long for the peace that transcends all understanding, God doesn’t just give, they are poured out on us lavishly, heaped until we are overwhelmed. It’s like a feast where the food and wine do not run out.These desires can start with the planting of an infinitesimally small seed in our heart, or a yearning for life to be better, or a gnawing sense that we are missing out, or an awareness that beyond the routine and grind of life there is something more, or the quiet hunch that this isn’t all there is. It often has it’s birth in the most unexpected ways, arising out of our need for something we know we do not have, for someone we know we are not. And to that, that impulse, craving, yearning, longing, desire God says, “Yes!”.Yes there is water for that thirst, food for that hunger, light for that darkness, relief for that burden. If we want hell, if we want heaven then they are ours. that’s how love works, it can’t be forced, manipulated, or coerced. It always leaves room for the other to decide. God says, “yes”, we can have what we want because love wins.

Rob Bell (Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived)

It [the charcuterie] was almost on the corner of the Rue Pirouette and was a joy to behold. It was bright and inviting, with touches of brilliant colour standing out amidst white marble. The signboard, on which the name QUENU-GRADELLE glittered in fat gilt letter encircled by leaves and branches painted on a soft-hued background, was protected by a sheet of glass. On the two side panels of the shop front, similarly painted and under glass, were chubby little Cupids playing in the midst of boars' heads, pork chops, and strings of sausages; and these still lifes, adorned with scrolls and rosettes, had been designed in so pretty and tender a style that the raw meat lying there assumed the reddish tint of raspberry jam. Within this delightful frame, the window display was arranged. It was set out on a bed of fine shavings of blue paper; a few cleverly positioned fern leaves transformed some of the plates into bouquets of flowers fringed with foliage. There were vast quantities of rich, succulent things, things that melted in the mouth. Down below, quite close to the window, jars of rillettes were interspersed with pots of mustard. Above these were some boned hams, nicely rounded, golden with breadcrumbs, and adorned at the knuckles with green rosettes. Then came the larger dishes--stuffed Strasbourg tongues, with their red, varnished look, the colour of blood next to the pallor of the sausages and pigs' trotters; strings of black pudding coiled like harmless snakes; andouilles piled up in twos and bursting with health; saucissons in little silver copes that made them look like choristers; pies, hot from the oven, with little banner-like tickets stuck in them; big hams, and great cuts of veal and pork, whose jelly was as limpid as crystallized sugar. Towards the back were large tureens in which the meats and minces lay asleep in lakes of solidified fat. Strewn between the various plates and sishes, on the bed of blue shavings, were bottles of relish, sauce, and preserved truffles, pots of foie gras, and tins of sardines and tuna fish. A box of creamy cheeses and one full of snails stuffed with butter and parsley had been dropped in each corner. Finally, at the very top of the display, falling from a bar with sharp prongs, strings of sausages and saveloys hung down symmetrically like the cords and tassels of some opulent tapestry, while behind, threads of caul were stretched out like white lacework. There, on the highest tier of this temple of gluttony, amid the caul and between two bunches of purple gladioli, the alter display was crowned by a small, square fish tank with a little ornamental rockery, in which two goldfish swam in endless circles.

Émile Zola

But Alice had meant nothing awful; it seemed to her no dreadful issue, if you were condemned to death, to make out of death a country. That was the similarity she saw: for she had perceived, what none of the others had and Sophie only dimly and backwardly, that the place they had been invited to was no place. She had perceived in her own growing larger that there was no place there distinct from those who lived in it: the fewer of them, the smaller their country. And if there were now to be a migration to that land, each emigrant would have to make the place he traveled to, make it out of himself. It was what she, pioneer, would have to do: make out of her own death, or what now seemed like her death, a land for the rest of them to travel to. She would have to grow larger enough to contain the whole world, or the whole great world turn out to be small enough after all to fit within the compass of her bosom.

John Crowley (Little, Big)

The ghostly movement of the Parisian tribes. Watch the crowd rushing out in the (cold and rainy) spring night towards the urban deserts of La Villette to attend the inaugural cult of the Biennale and then, when that is ended, flowing back in great waves towards the inauguration of the Book Fair at the Grand Palais, crossing Paris in a tide of two thousand people (always the same ones) who, after having communed in fairground thronging and bookish vanity will meet up again around midnight at the end of a third collective migration, in the small number of Montparnasse restaurants marked with the sign of the tribe. Preceded perhaps by some minister or other, followed as ever by a horde of journalists. You can mark out the trajectory of this fauna culturalis every evening in advance, working from the order of the invitations, as in days gone by you could follow popular gatherings from place to place with certainty.

Jean Baudrillard (Cool Memories)

Gary Cooper called to invite me to a dinner party he was giving for Clark Gable at his house. When I accepted and he asked if I would mind picking up Barbara Stanwyck, I was delighted. I had always thought she was one of the greatest. The Lady Eve and Double Indemnity are two of my favorite films and feature two of the many terrific performances she gave through the years. I arrived at her door promptly at 6:30 P.M., a huge bouquet of pink peonies in hand. The maid said she would be right down, took the flowers, and offered me a glass of champagne. Barbara came down a few minutes later, looking terrific in something silver and slinky. She carried on about the flowers as the maid brought them in and joined me for some champagne. I was anxious to get things off to a good start with the right kind of small talk, but unfortunately I was out of touch with the latest gossip. I asked how and where her husband was. An expletive told me how she felt about her husband: “That son of a bitch ran off with some kraut starlet.” As I struggled to pull my foot out of my mouth, she started to laugh and said, “Don’t worry about it, baby, he’s not worth sweating over,” and the rest of the evening went like gangbusters. We arrived at 7:30 on the dot and were met at the door by Rocky, Mrs. Gary Cooper, who hugged Barbara and said, “He’s going to be so glad to see you.” Cooper and Stanwyck had made a couple of great films together, Meet John Doe and Ball of Fire, the latter for Sam Goldwyn, whom she liked even though she referred to him as “that tough old bastard.” Rocky sent Barbara out to the garden to see Coop, took my arm, and showed me around their lovely home. As we walked into the garden, I spotted him laughing with Barbara. Rocky took me over to meet him. He was tall, lean, warm, and friendly. The thing I remember most about him is the twinkle in his deep blue eyes, which were framed by thick dark lashes. He was a movie star.

Farley Granger (Include Me Out: My Life from Goldwyn to Broadway)

When she finally reached it, she bent forward and looked through the peephole.Jay was grinning back at her from outside.Her heart leaped for a completely different reason.She set aside her crutches and quickly unbolted the door to open it."What took you so long?"Her knee was bent and her ankle pulled up off the ground. She balanced against the doorjamb. "What d'you think, dumbass?" she retorted smartly, keeping her voice down so she wouldn't alert her parents. "You scared the crap out of me, by the way. My parents are already in bed, and I was all alone down here.""Good!" he exclaimed as he reached in and grabbed her around the waist, dragging her up against him and wrapping his arms around her.She giggled while he held her there, enjoying everything about the feel of him against her. "What are you doing here? I thought I wouldn't see you till tomorrow.""I wanted to show you something!" He beamed at her, and his enthusiasm reached out to capture her in its grip. She couldn't help smiling back excitedly. "What is it?" she asked breathlessly.He didn't release her; he just turned, still holding her gently in his arms, so that she could see out into the driveway. The first thing she noticed was the officer in his car, alert now as he kept a watchful eye on the two of them. Violet realized that it was late, already past eleven, and from the look on his face, she thought he must have been hoping for a quiet, uneventful evening out there.And then she saw the car. It was beautiful and sleek, painted a glossy black that, even in the dark, reflected the light like a polished mirror. Violet recognized the Acura insignia on the front of the hood, and even though she could tell it wasn't brand-new, it looked like it had been well taken care of."Whose is it?" she asked admiringly. It was way better than her crappy little Honda.Jay grinned again, his face glowing with enthusiasm. "It's mine. I got it tonight. That's why I had to go. My mom had the night off, and I wanted to get it before..." He smiled down at her. "I didn't want to borrow your car to take you to the dance.""Really?" she breathed. "How...? I didn't even know you were..." She couldn't seem to find the right words; she was envious and excited for him all at the same time."I know right?" he answered, as if she'd actually asked coherent questions. "I've been saving for...for forever, really. What do you think?"Violet smiled at him, thinking that he was entirely too perfect for her. "I think it's beautiful," she said with more meaning than he understood. And then she glanced back at the car. "I had no idea that you were getting a car. I love it, Jay," she insisted, wrapping her arms around his neck as he hoisted her up, cradling her like a small child.""I'd offer to take you for a test-drive, but I'm afraid that Supercop over there would probably Taser me with his stun gun. So you'll have to wait until tomorrow," he said, and without waiting for an invitation he carried her inside, dead bolting the door behind him. He settled down on the couch, where she'd been sitting by herself just moments before, without letting her go. There was a movie on the television, but neither of them paid any attention to it as Jay reclined, stretching out and drawing her down into the circle of his arms. They spent the rest of the night like that, cradled together, their bodies fitting each other perfectly, as they kissed and whispered and laughed quietly in the darkness.At some point Violet was aware that she was drifting into sleep, as her thoughts turned dreamlike, becoming disjointed and fuzzy and hard to hold on to. She didn't fight it; she enjoyed the lazy, drifting feeling, along with the warmth created by the cocoon of Jay's body wrapped protectively around her.It was the safest she'd felt in days...maybe weeks...And for the first time since she'd been chased by the man in the woods, her dreams were free from monsters.

Kimberly Derting (The Body Finder (The Body Finder, #1))

Two seconds went by before I got a response.Lenny: The offer stands, bish.Lenny: You’re the best person I know, fyi.I smiled down at my phone.Me: I love you tooLenny: [eye rolling emoji]Lenny: I was texting you because Grandpa G is making margaritas and he was asking where you were.Me: Tell him I love him.Lenny: I will. You find Rip?Me: I’m watching him.Lenny: StalkerMe: He’s standing in front of me, I can’t help it.Lenny: Pretty sure that’s what every stalker thinks.I chanced another glance at the man and held back a sigh.Me: Sometimes I don’t understand why him.Lenny: Because he looks like he’s been in jail and that’s about as far away from what every jackass you’ve ever dated looks like?Lenny: Grandpa G says he loves you too and to come over and bring the girl with you if she’s around. I didn’t tell him you’re at the bar, otherwise he’d want to invite himself. You know how that man gets in public.I almost laughed at the first comment and definitely laughed at the second one. Rip did look like he’d done time. That was unfair, but it was the truth.For all I knew, he probably had.Then again, I was probably judging him by a face he had no say in. For all I knew, he had a marshmallow heart and rescued and rehabilitated small animals when he wasn’t at work. Deep down, he might have a caring and loving disposition that he only shared around very few people—people who had won his trust.You never knew.The idea of that put a small smile on my face and kept it there as I typed a message back, leaving the first comment alone.Me: I don’t know how much longer I’ll be here, but if I leave soon, I’ll drop by. Tell Grandpa G that the girl is working tonight. You’re all coming for the graduation, right?Lenny: Yes. I’m legit ready to cry this Saturday.Lenny: I’ve got the blow horn ready by the way. TOOT TOOT, bish.She wasn’t the only one preparing herself to cry this weekend, and that made me happy for some reason.

Mariana Zapata (Luna and the Lie)

I’m all for these moments of impossible joy – whether they come in the course of an ordinary day or in an extraordinary ecstatic experience. There are some who would have us believe that we have to choose - warning us away from the ecstatic rush of feeling that comes in moments of real magic, admonishing us to focus only on the joy found in ordinary moments. Their warning is understandable. Moments of mystical union can tempt us to spend our life searching for those peak experiences and leave us unable or unwilling to receive the same joy where it is offered in simpler experiences, and the taste of a ripe mango eaten slowly or a moment of quiet stillness.But I am a greedy woman. I want it all. I want a small daily joy. I want to celebrate the birthdays, the graduations, and the days well lived, and I want to experience the ecstasy, the vision of wholeness that dissolves my boundaries and let me taste the God that lives within and around me. I am a blessed woman, for I have had both.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer (The Invitation)

Arin had bathed. He was wearing house clothes, and when Kestrel saw him standing in the doorway his shoulders were relaxed. Without being invited, he strode into the room, pulled out the other chair at the small table where Kestrel waited, and sat. He arranged his arms in a position of negligent ease and leaned into the brocaded chair as if he owned it. He seemed, Kestrel thought, at home.But then, he had also seemed so in the forge. Kestrel looked away from him, stacking the Bite and Sting tiles on the table. It occurred to her that it was a talent for Arin to be comfortable in such different environments. She wondered how she would fare in his world.He said, “This is not a sitting room.”“Oh?” Kestrel mixed the tiles. “And here I thought we were sitting.”His mouth curved slightly. “This is a writing room. Or, rather”--he pulled his six tiles--“it was.”Kestrel drew her Bite and Sting hand. She decided to show no sign of curiosity. She would not allow herself to be distracted. She arranged her tiles facedown.“Wait,” he said. “What are the stakes?”She had given this careful consideration. She took a small wooden box from her skirt pocket and set it on the table. Arin picked up the box and shook it, listening to the thin, sliding rattle of its contents. “Matches.” He tossed the box back onto the table. “Hardly high stakes.”But what were appropriate stakes for a slave who had nothing to gamble? This question had troubled Kestrel ever since she had proposed the game. She shrugged and said, “Perhaps I am afraid to lose.” She split the matches between them.“Hmm,” he said, and they each put in their ante.Arin positioned his tiles so that he could see their engravings without revealing them to Kestrel. His eyes flicked to them briefly, then lifted to examine the luxury of his surroundings. This annoyed her--both because she could glean nothing from his expression and because he was acting the gentleman by averting his gaze, offering her a moment to study her tiles without fear of giving away something to him. As if she needed such an advantage.“How do you know?” she said.“How do I know what?”“That this was a writing room. I have never heard of such a thing.” She began to position her own tiles. It was only when she saw their designs that she wondered whether Arin had really been polite in looking away, or if he had been deliberately provoking her.She concentrated on her draw, relieved to see that she had a good set. A tiger (the highest tile); a wolf, a mouse, a fox (not a bad trio, except the mouse); and a pair of scorpions. She liked the Sting tiles. They were often underestimated.Kestrel realized that Arin had been waiting to answer her question. He was watching her.“I know,” he said, “because of this room’s position in your suite, the cream color of the walls, and the paintings of swans. This was where a Herrani lady would pen her letters or write journal entries. It’s a private room. I shouldn’t be allowed inside.”“Well,” said Kestrel, uncomfortable, “it is no longer what it was.

Marie Rutkoski (The Winner's Curse (The Winner's Trilogy, #1))

She and I spend a good twenty minutes talking about sperm (truly a magnificent topic), then dry shampoo, then book recommendations. We talk so much that we get distracted from our work. And it clicks. I’ve been on so many average friend-dates and had so many lacklustre networking chats that I now recognise chemistry when I see it. I take the leap of faith and ask for her number.She invites me to her book club. This time, I don’t have to walk into an unfamiliar flat full of strangers alone – I walk in with her, my new friend, who introduces me to everyone.A small book club, at someone’s house, eating homemade pie: this was where I want to be. It is somehow one of the most outgoing things I have ever done and also somehow feels kinda normal. Everyone here works in the same field, but we aren’t talking about work. We are drinking wine and discussing the book over dinner. Casual. Intimate. This is what Emma had meant. And it all started with a single question: what was the deal with all this sperm from Denmark in the noughties?

Jessica Pan (Sorry I'm Late, I Didn't Want to Come: An Introvert's Year of Living Dangerously)

It is not death that human beings are most afraid of, it is love. The heart is bigger than a mountain. One human life is deeper than the ocean. Strange fishes and sea-monsters and mighty plants live in the rock-bed of our spirits. The whole of human history is an undiscovered continent deep in our souls. There are dolphins, plants that dream, magic birds inside us. The sky is inside us. The earth is in us. The trees of the forest, the animals of the bushes, tortoises, birds, and flowers know our future. The world that we see and the world that is there are two different things. Wars are not fought on battlegrounds but in a space smaller than the head of a needle. We need a new language to talk to one another. Inside a cat there are many histories, many books. When you look into the eyes of dogs strange fishes swim in your mind. All roads lead to death, but some roads lead to things which can never be finished. Wonderful things. There are human beings who are small but if you can SEE you will notice that their spirits are ten thousand feet wide. In my dream I met a child sitting on a cloud and his spirit covered half the earth. Angels and demons are amongst us; they take many forms. They can enter us and dwell there for one second or half a lifetime. Sometimes both of them dwell in us together. Before everything was born there was first the spirit. It is the spirit which invites things in, good things, or bad. Invite only good things, my son. Listen to the spirit of things. To your own spirit. Follow it. Master it. So long as we are alive, so long as we feel, so long as we love, everything in us is an energy we can use. There is a stillness which makes you travel faster. There is a silence which makes you fly. If your heart is a friend of Time nothing can destroy you. Death has taught me the religion of living – I am converted – I am blinded – I am beginning to see – I am drunk on sleep – My words are the words of a stranger – Wear a smile on your faces – Pour me some wine and buy me some cigarettes, my son, for your father has returned to his true home.

Ben Okri (The Famished Road)

Next week is Beltane,” she reminded him. “Do you suppose we will make it through the wedding this time?”“Not if Gideon says you cannot get out of this bed,” he countered sternly.“Absolutely not!” she burst out, making him wince and cover the ear she’d been too close to. She immediately regretted her thoughtlessness, making a sad sound before reaching to kiss the ear she had offended with quiet gentleness.Jacob extricated himself from her hold enough to allow himself to turn and face her.“Okay, explain what you meant,” he said gently.“I refuse to wait another six months. We are getting married on Beltane, come hell or . . . necromancers . . . or . . . the creature from the Black Lagoon. There is no way Corrine is going to be allowed to get married without me getting married, too. I refuse to listen to her calling me the family hussy for the rest of the year.”“What does it matter what she says?” Jacob sighed as he reached to touch the soft contours of her face. “You and I are bonded in a way that transcends marriage already. Is that not what is important?”“No. What’s important is the fact that I am going to murder the sister I love if she doesn’t quit. And she will not quit until I shut her up either with a marriage or a murder weapon. Understand?”Clearly, by his expression, Jacob did not understand.“Thank Destiny all I have is a brother,” he said dryly. “I have been inundated with people tied into knots over one sister or another for the past weeks.”“You mean Legna. Listen, it’s not her fault if everyone has their shorts in a twist because of who her Imprinted mate is! Frankly, I think she and Gideon make a fabulous couple. Granted, a little too gorgeously ‘King and Queen of the Prom’ perfect for human eyes to bear looking at for long, but fabulous just the same.”Jacob blinked in confusion as he tried to decipher his fiancée’s statement. Even after all these months, she still came out with unique phraseologies that totally escaped his more classic comprehension of the English language. But he had gotten used to just shrugging his confusion off, blaming it on the fact that English wasn’t his first, second, or third language, so it was to be expected.“Anyway,” she went on, “Noah and Hannah need to chill. You saw Legna when she came to visit yesterday. If a woman could glow, she was as good as radioactive.” She smiled sweetly at him. “That means,” she explained, “that she looks as brilliantly happy as you make me feel.”“I see,” he chuckled. “Thank you for the translation.”He reached his arms around her, drawing her body up to his as close as he could considering the small matter of a fetal obstacle. He kissed her inviting mouth until she was breathless and glowing herself.“I thought I would be kind to you,” she explained with a laugh against his mouth.“You, my love, are all heart.”“And you are all pervert. Jacob!” She laughed as she swatted one of his hands away from intimate places, only to be shanghaied by another. “What would Gideon say?”“He better not say anything, because if he did that would mean he was in here while you are naked. And that, little flower, would probably cost him his vocal chords in any event.”“Oh. Well . . . when you put it that way . . .

Jacquelyn Frank (Gideon (Nightwalkers, #2))

I have heard the songs of many gods, child. Silly gods, powerful gods, and capricious gods, and biddable gods, and dull. Long ago, when you first welcomed us to your household, and fed us and gave us shelter, and invited us to stay, I listened to you say that we are all -- Jana'ata and Runa and H'uman -- children of a God so high that our ranks and our differences are as nothing in his far sight."Suukmel looked out over the sweep of the valley, dotted now with small stone houses and filled with the sound of voices high and low, home to Runa and to Jana'ata and to the one single outlandish being whom Ha'anala called brother. "I thought then that this was merely a song sung by a foreigner to a foolish girl who believed nonsense. But Taksayu was dear to me, and Isaac was dear to you. I was willing to hear this song, because I had once yearned for a world in which lives would be governed not by lineage and lust and moribund law, but by love and loyalty. In this one valley, such lives are possible," she said. "If it is a mistake to hope for such a world, then it is a magnificent mistake.

Mary Doria Russell (Children of God (The Sparrow, #2))

Ellie made her way up the familiar twist of Wicker Road. Even with just the porch light on, her house looked inviting and settled. The single oak that took up the majority of her front lawn was already beginning to collect the first measures of snow. She quickly walked up the three steps and went in.There was nothing grandiose about the place, but it was a perfect fit for Ellie. The house looked a little like an old English cottage. It was tiny, reminding her of a dollhouse. Which suited her perfectly. Any bigger and the place would have echoed, and Ellie would have been aware of how acutely alone she was. She filled the walls with various pieces of artwork, and her queen-sized bed with pillows she made from pieces of vintage fabric. There were two fireplaces and wall-to-wall hardwood floors with perfectly worn-in wainscoting. The back rooms were all windows that could be opened up so it seemed almost a part of the garden. Ellie's study was lined with bookshelves on every wall except the alcove, in front of which she had placed an old secretary. She even had a small balcony off the master that looked over the garden and was a wonderful place to read.

Amy S. Foster (When Autumn Leaves)

At the end of the oak-lined avenue, the girls came to a weather-stained loggia of stone. Its four handsomely carved pillars rose to support a balcony over which vines trailed. Steps led to the upper part. After mounting to the balcony, Nancy and her friends obtained a fine view of the nearby gardens. They had been laid out in formal sections, each one bounded by a stone wall or an un-trimmed hedge. Here and there were small circular pools, now heavy with lichens and moss, and fountains with leaf-filled basins. Over the treetops, about half a mile away, the girls could see two stone towers. “That’s the castle,” said George. Amid the wild growth, Nancy spotted a bridge. “Let’s go that way,” she suggested, starting down from the balcony. In a few minutes the trio had crossed the rickety wooden span. Before them lay a slippery moss-grown path. “The Haunted Walk,” Nancy read aloud the name on a rustic sign. “Why not try another approach?” Bess said with a shiver. “This garden looks spooky enough without deliberately inviting a meeting with ghosts!” “Oh, come on!” Nancy laughed, taking her friend firmly by the arm. “It’s only a name. Besides, the walk may lead to something interesting.

Carolyn Keene (The Clue in the Crumbling Wall (Nancy Drew, #22))

We'll have something private and very quiet, and above all, small,” she said. “It's the only choice, really.” “I agree,” he said readily. “On second thought, we don't need to invite more than three hundred guests.” Holly gave him an incredulous glance. “When I said ‘small,’ I had a different number in mind. Perhaps half a dozen.” His jaw set obstinately. “I want all of London to know that I've won you.” “They'll know,” she said dryly. “I'm sure the ton will talk of little else… and it's a certainty that none of my scandal-avoiding former friends would attend the wedding, extravagant or otherwise.” “Nearly all of mine would,” he said cheerfully. “Undoubtedly,” she agreed, knowing that he was referring to the crowd of ruffians, dandies and social climbers who ran the gamut from being bad ton to complete wastrels. “Nevertheless, the wedding will be as discreet as possible. You can save the doves and trumpeters and such for Elizabeth's wedding.” “I suppose it would be faster that way,” he said grudgingly. Holly stopped on the graveled path and smiled up at him. “We'll keep our wedding small, then, and get on with it.” She slid her arms around his lean waist. “I don't want to wait a day longer than necessary to belong to you.

Lisa Kleypas (Where Dreams Begin)

Don’t think, muñeca. Everything will work itself out.”“But--”“No buts. Trust me.” My mouth closes over hers. The smell of rain and cookies eases my nerves.My hand braces the small of her back. Her hands grip my soaked shoulders, urging me on. My hands slide under her shirt, and my fingers trace her belly button.“Come to me,” I say, then lift her until she’s straddling me over my bike.I can’t stop kissing her. I whisper how good she feels to me, mixing Spanish and English with every sentence. I move my lips down her neck and linger there until she leans back and lets me take her shirt off. I can make her forget about the bad stuff. When we’re together like this, hell, I can’t think of anything else but her.“I’m losing control,” she admits, biting her lower lip. I love those lips.“Mamacita, I’ve already lost it,” I say, grinding against her so she knows exactly how much control I’ve lost.She moves her hips in a slow rhythm against me, an invitation I don’t deserve. My fingertips graze her mouth. She kisses them before I slowly slide my hand down her chin to her neck and in between her breasts.She catches my hand. “I don’t want to stop, Alex.”I cover her body with mine.I can easily take her. Hell, she’s asking for it. But God help me if I don’t grow a conscience.It’s that loco bet I made with Lucky. And what my mom said about how easy it is to get a girl pregnant. When I made the bet, I had no feelings for this complex white girl. But now…shit, I don’t want to think about my feelings. I hate feelings; they’re only good for screwing up someone’s life. And may God strike me down right now because I want to make love to Brittany, not fuck her on my motorcycle like some cheap whore.I move my hands away from her cuerpo perfecto, the first sane thing I’ve done tonight. “I can’t take you like this. Not here,” I say, my voice hoarse from emotion overload. This girl was going to gift me with her body, even though she knows who I am and what I’m about to do. The reality is hard to swallow.I expect her to be embarrassed, maybe even mad. But she curls into my chest and hugs me. Don’t do this to me, I want to say. Instead I wrap my arms around her and hold on tight.“I love you,” I hear her say so softly it might have been her thoughts.Don’t, I’m tempted to say. ¡Noǃ ¡NoǃMy gut twists and I hold her tighter. Dios mío, if things were different I’d never give her up. I burrow my face in her hair and fantasize about stealing her away from Fairfield.We stay that way for a long time, long after the rain stops and reality sets in.

Simone Elkeles (Perfect Chemistry (Perfect Chemistry, #1))

The morning after / my death”The morning aftermy deathwe will sit in cafésbut I will notbe thereI will not be*There was the great death of birdsthe moon was consumed withfirethe stars were visibleuntil noon.Green was the forest drenchedwith shadowsthe roads were serpentineA redwood tree stoodalonewith its lean and lit bodyunable to follow thecars that went by withfrenzya tree is always an immutabletraveller.The moon darkened at dawnthe mountain quiveredwith anticipationand the ocean was double-shaded:the blue of its surface with theblue of flowersmingled in horizontal water trailsthere was a breeze towitness the hour*The sun darkened at thefifth hour of thedaythe beach was covered withconversationspebbles started to pour into holesand waves came in likehorses.*The moon darkened on Christmas eveangels ate lemonsin illuminated churchesthere was a blue rugplanted with starsabove our headslemonade and war newscompeted for our attentionour breath was warmer thanthe hills.*There was a great slaughter ofrocks of spring leavesof creeksthe stars showed fullythe last king of the Mountaingave battleand got killed.We lay on the grasscovered dried blood with ourbodiesgreen blades swayed betweenour teeth.*We went out to seaa bank of whales was headingSoutha young man among us a herotried to straddle one of thesea creatureshis body emerged as a muddy pool as mudwe waved goodbye to his remnantshappy not to have to buryhim in the early hours of the dayWe got drunk in a barroomthe small town of Fairfaxhad just gone to bedcherry trees were bending under theweight of their flowers:they were involved in a ceremonialdance to which no onehad ever been invited.*I know flowers to be funeral companionsthey make poisons and venomsand eat abandoned stone wallsI know flowers shine strongerthan the suntheir eclipse means the end oftimesbut I love flowers for their treacherytheir fragile bodiesgrace my imagination’s avenueswithout their presencemy mind would be an unmarkedgrave.*We met a great storm at sealooked back at therocking cliffsthe sand was going underblack birds wereleavingthe storm ate friends and foesalikewater turned into salt formy wounds.*Flowers end in frozen patternsartificial gardens coverthe floorswe get up close to midnightsearch with powerful lightsthe tiniest shrubs on themeadowsA stream desperately is running tothe oceanThe Spring Flowers Own & The Manifestations of the Voyage (The Post-Apollo Press, 1990)

Elinor Wylie

classic work like The Tale of Genji, as one recent translator has it, “The more intense the emotion, the more regular the meter.” As in the old-fashioned England in which I grew up—though more unforgivingly so—the individual’s job in public Japan is to keep his private concerns and feelings to himself and to present a surface that gives little away. That the relation of surface to depth is uncertain is part of the point; it offers a degree of protection and makes for absolute consistency. The fewer words spoken, the easier it is to believe you’re standing on common ground. One effect of this careful evenness—a maintenance of the larger harmony, whatever is happening within—is that to live in Japan, to walk through its complex nets of unstatedness, is to receive a rigorous training in attention. You learn to read the small print of life—to notice how the flowers placed in front of the tokonoma scroll have just been changed, in response to a shift in the season, or to register how your visitor is talking about everything except the husband who’s just run out on her. It’s what’s not expressed that sits at the heart of a haiku; a classic sumi-e brush-and-ink drawing leaves as much open space as possible at its center so that it becomes not a statement but a suggestion, an invitation to a collaboration. The reader or viewer is asked to complete a composition, and so the no-color surfaces make

Natsume Sōseki (The Gate)

Even with his eyes concealed, I sensed Amar’s gaze. “What world do you belong to? Theirs?” I pointed at an Otherworldly being sharpening his horns.“No. My kingdom is neither among humans nor Otherworldly beings. It is between.”“Why did you come to Bharata?” I asked. “The invitation to my swayamvara was issued only to the nations we’re at war with.”“Everyone is at war with my nation,” he said with a smile.“How did you even know about me?”“Akaran has its eyes and ears.”He could have been lying. Nothing escaped me from the rafters where I had spied for years. But my father had other meetings…and he was not always in Bharata.I hesitated. “How can I trust someone who won’t even reveal their face?”“It’s far too easy to be recognized here.”He drew the cloak closer and the gesture was so final, so closed off and unwelcoming, that I stepped back, chastened. Amar removed the wedding garland from around his neck. From the sleeves of his jacket, he withdrew a small knife. Before I could react, he swiped the knife across his palm. Small beads of blood welled to the surface. He held his palm out to me like a perverse offering.“I make this bond to you in blood, not flowers,” he said. “Come with me and you shall be an empress with the moon for your throne and constellations to wear in your hair. Come with me and I promise you that we will always be equals.”My mouth went dry. A blood oath was no trifling undertaking. Vassals swore it to lords, priests to the gods. But husbands to wives? Unthinkable.

Roshani Chokshi (The Star-Touched Queen (The Star-Touched Queen, #1))

PARABLE Worries come to a man and a woman. Small ones, light in the hand. The man decides to swallow his worries, hiding them deep within himself. The woman throws hers as far as she can from their porch. They touch each other, relieved. They make coffee, and make plans for the seaside in May. All the while, the worries of the man take his insides as their oyster, coating themselves in juice—first gastric, then nacreous—growing layer upon layer. And in the fields beyond the wash-line, the worries of the woman take root, stretching tendrils through the rich soil. The parable tells us Consider the ravens, but the ravens caw useless from the gutters of this house. The parable tells us Consider the lilies, but they shiver in the side-yard, silent. What the parable does not tell you is that this woman collects porcelain cats. Some big, some small, some gilded, some plain. One stops doors. One cups cream and another, sugar. This man knows they are tacky. Still, when the one that had belonged to her great-aunt fell and broke, he held her as she wept, held her even after her breath had lengthened to sleep. The parable does not care about such things. Worry has come to the house of a man and a woman. Their garden yields greens gone bitter, corn cowering in its husk. He asks himself, What will we eat? They sit at the table and open the mail: a bill, a bill, a bill, an invitation. She turns a saltshaker cat between her palms and asks, What will we wear? He rubs her wrist with his thumb. He wonders how to offer the string of pearls writhing in his belly.

Sandra Beasley (Count the Waves: Poems)

Moscow can be a cold, hard place in winter. But the big old house on Tverskoy Boulevard had always seemed immune to these particular facts, the way that it had seemed immune to many things throughout the years. When breadlines filled the streets during the reign of the czars, the big house had caviar. When the rest of Russia stood shaking in the Siberian winds, that house had fires and gaslight in every room. And when the Second World War was over and places like Leningrad and Berlin were nothing but rubble and crumbling walls, the residents of the big house on Tverskoy Boulevard only had to take up a hammer and drive a single nail—to hang a painting on the landing at the top of the stairs—to mark the end of a long war. The canvas was small, perhaps only eight by ten inches. The brushstrokes were light but meticulous. And the subject, the countryside near Provence, was once a favorite of an artist named Cézanne. No one in the house spoke of how the painting had come to be there. Not a single member of the staff ever asked the man of the house, a high-ranking Soviet official, to talk about the canvas or the war or whatever services he may have performed in battle or beyond to earn such a lavish prize. The house on Tverskoy Boulevard was not one for stories, everybody knew. And besides, the war was over. The Nazis had lost. And to the victors went the spoils. Or, as the case may be, the paintings. Eventually, the wallpaper faded, and soon few people actually remembered the man who had brought the painting home from the newly liberated East Germany. None of the neighbors dared to whisper the letters K-G-B. Of the old Socialists and new socialites who flooded through the open doors for parties, not one ever dared to mention the Russian mob. And still the painting stayed hanging, the music kept playing, and the party itself seemed to last—echoing out onto the street, fading into the frigid air of the night. The party on the first Friday of February was a fund-raiser—though for what cause or foundation, no one really knew. It didn’t matter. The same people were invited. The same chef was preparing the same food. The men stood smoking the same cigars and drinking the same vodka. And, of course, the same painting still hung at the top of the stairs, looking down on the partygoers below. But one of the partygoers was not, actually, the same. When she gave the man at the door a name from the list, her Russian bore a slight accent. When she handed her coat to a maid, no one seemed to notice that it was far too light for someone who had spent too long in Moscow’s winter. She was too short; her black hair framed a face that was in every way too young. The women watched her pass, eyeing the competition. The men hardly noticed her at all as she nibbled and sipped and waited until the hour grew late and the people became tipsy. When that time finally came, not one soul watched as the girl with the soft pale skin climbed the stairs and slipped the small painting from the nail that held it. She walked to the window. And jumped. And neither the house on Tverskoy Boulevard nor any of its occupants ever saw the girl or the painting again.

Ally Carter (Uncommon Criminals (Heist Society, #2))

But if her idiot suitors were staying at Halstead Hall with her, then by thunder, he'd be here, too. They wouldn't take advantage of her on his watch. "We're agreed that you won't do any of that foolish nonsense you mentioned, like spying on them, right?""Of course not. That's what I have you for."Her private lackey to jump at her commands. He was already regretting this."Surely the gentlemen will accept the invitation," she went on, blithely ignoring his disgruntlement. "It's hunting season, and the estate has some excellent coveys.""I wouldn't know."She cast him an easy smile. "Because you generally hunt men, not grouse. And apparently you do it very well."A compliment? From her "No need to flatter me, my lady," he said dryly. "I've already agreed to your scheme."Her smile vanished. "Really, Mr. Pinter, sometimes you can be so...""Honest?" he prodded."Irritating." She tipped up her chin. "It will be easier to work together if you're not always so prickly."He felt more than prickly, and for the most foolish reasons imaginable. Because he didn't like her trawling for suitors. Or using him to do it. And because he hated her "lady of the manor" role. It reminded him too forcibly of the difference in their stations."I am who I am, madam," he bit out, as much a reminder for himself as for her. "You knew what you were purchasing when you set out to do this."She frowned. "Must you make it sound so sordid?"He stepped as close as he dared. "You want me to gather information you can use in playing a false role to catch s husband. I am not the one making it sordid.""Tell me, sir, will I have to endure your moralizing at every turn?" she said in a voice dripping with sugar. "Because I'd happily pay extra to have you keep your opinions to yourself.""There isn't enough money in all the world for that."Her eyes blazed up at him. Good. He much preferred her in a temper. At least then she was herself, not putting on some show.She seemed to catch herself, pasting an utterly false smile to her lips. "I see. Well then, can you manage to be civil for the house party? It does me no good to bring suitors here if you'll be skulking about, making them uncomfortable."He tamped down the urge to provoke her further. If he did she'd strike off on her own, and that would be disastrous. "I shall try to keep my 'skulking' to a minimum.""Thank you." She thrust out her hand. "Shall we shake on it?"The minute his fingers closed about hers, he wished he'd refused. Because having her soft hand in his roused everything he'd been trying to suppress during this interview.He couldn't seem to let go. For such a small-boned female, she had a surprisingly firm grip. Her hand was like her-fragility and strength all wrapped in beauty. He had a mad impulse to lift it to his lips and press a kiss to her creamy skin.But he was no Lancelot to her Guinevere. Only in legend did lowly knights dare to court queens.Releasing her hand before he could do something stupid, he sketched a bow. "Good day, my lady. I'll begin my investigation at once and report to you as soon as I learn something."He left her standing there, a goddess surrounded by the aging glories of an aristocrat's mansion. God save him-this had to be the worst mission he'd ever undertaken, one he was sure to regret.

Sabrina Jeffries (A Lady Never Surrenders (Hellions of Halstead Hall, #5))

Speaking of debutantes,” Jake continued cautiously when Ian remained silent, “what about the one upstairs? Do you dislike her especially, or just on general principle?”Ian walked over to the table and poured some Scotch into a glass. He took a swallow, shrugged, and said, “Miss Cameron was more inventive than some of her vapid little friends. She accosted me in a garden at a party.”“I can see how bothersome that musta been,” Jake joked, “having someone like her, with a face that men dream about, tryin’ to seduce you, usin’ feminine wiles on you. Did they work?”Slamming the glass down on the table, Ian said curtly, “They worked.” Coldly dismissing Elizabeth from his mind, he opened the deerskin case on the table, removed some papers he needed to review, and sat down in front of the fire.Trying to suppress his avid curiosity, Jake waited a few minutes before asking, “Then what happened?”Already engrossed in reading the documents in his hand, Ian said absently and without looking up, “I asked her to marry me; she sent me a note inviting me to meet her in the greenhouse; I went there; her brother barged in on us and informed me she was a countess, and that she was already betrothed.”The topic thrust from his mind, Ian reached for the quill lying on the small table beside his chair and made a note in the margin of the contract.“And?” Jake demanded avidly.“And what?”“And then what happened-after the brother barged in?”“He took exception to my having contemplated marrying so far above myself and challenged me to a duel,” Ian replied in a preoccupied voice as he made another note on the contract.“So what’s the girl doin’ here now?” Jake asked, scratching his head in bafflement over the doings of the Quality.“Who the hell knows,” Ian murmured irritably. “Based on her behavior with me, my guess is she finally got caught in some sleezy affair or another, and her reputation’s beyond repair.”“What’s that got to do with you?”Ian expelled his breath in a long, irritated sigh and glanced at Jake with an expression that made it clear he was finished answering questions. “I assume,” he bit out, “that her family, recalling my absurd obsession with her two years ago, hoped I’d come up to scratch again and take her off their hands.”“You think it’s got somethin’ to do with the old duke talking about you bein’ his natural grandson and wantin’ to make you his heir?” He waited expectantly, hoping for more information, but Ian ignored him, reading his documents. Left with no other choice and no prospect for further confidences, Jake picked up a candle, gathered up some blankets, and started for the barn. He paused at the door, struck by a sudden thought. “She said she didn’t send you any note about meetin’ her in the greenhouse.”“She’s a liar and an excellent little actress,” Ian said icily, without taking his gaze from the papers. “Tomorrow I’ll think of some way to get her out of here and off my hands.”Something in Ian’s face made him ask, “Why the hurry? You afraid of fallin’ fer her wiles again?”“Hardly.”“Then you must be made of stone,” he teased. “That woman’s so beautiful she’d tempt any man who was alone with her for an hour-includin’ me, and you know I ain’t in the petticoat line at all.”“Don’t let her catch you alone,” Ian replied mildly.“I don’t think I’d mind.” Jake laughed as he left.

Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))

As it is my practice here to conceal nothing, I shall relate on this page the episode of the wall. Virigilia and Lobo Neves were soon to sail. Entering Dona Placida’s house, I saw on the table a folded piece of paper. It was a note from Virgilia. It said that she would be waiting for me in the garden at sundown, without fail. It concluded, “The wall is low on the side toward the little path.” I made a gesture of displeasure. The letter seemed to me extraordinary audacious, ill-considered, and even ridiculous. It not only invited scandal, it invited it together with laughter and sneers. I pictured myself leaping over the wall and caught in the act by an officer of the law, who led me off to jail. “The wall is low…” And what if it was low? Obviously Virgilia did not know what she was doing; perhaps by now she wished she had not sent the note. I looked at it, a small piece of paper, wrinkled by inflexible. I felt an urge to tear it in thirty thousand pieces and to throw it to the wind as the last vestige of my adventure; but I did not do so. Self-love, shame at the thought of fleeing from danger…There was no way out; I would have to go. “Tell her I’ll go.” “Where?” asked Dona Placida. “Where she said she would wait for me.” “She said nothing to me.” “In this note.” Dona Placida stared. “But this paper, I found it this morning in your drawer, and I thought that…” I felt a queer sensation. I reread the paper and looked at it a long time; it was, indeed an old note that Virgilia had sent me in the early days of our love, and I had leaped the cooperatively low wall and had met her in the garden. I had put the note away and…I felt a queer sensation.

Machado de Assis (Memórias Póstumas de Brás Cubas)

My brave husband came back from fighting the Turks and brought me a robe of silk and a necklace of human teeth. He sat up at night by his hearth telling tales of battle. Apparently the Turks are ten times more ferocious and fearless than the Scots. 'Perhaps we should invite them here to drive the Scots back,' I suggested, and he laughed, but he didn't kiss me. That's when I learned the truth about scars. A man with a battle scar is a veteran, a hero, given an honoured place at the fire. Small boys gaze up fascinated, dreaming of winning such badges of courage. Maids caress his thighs with their buttocks as they bend over to mull his ale. Women cluck and cosset, and if in time other men grow a little weary of that tale of honour, then they call for his cup to be filled again and again until he is fuddled and dozes quietly in the warmth of the embers. But a scarred woman is not encouraged to tell her story. Boys jeer and mothers cross themselves. Pregnant women will not come close for fear that if they look upon such a sight, the infant in their belly will be marked. You've heard of the tales of Beauty and the Beast no doubt. How a fair maid falls in love with a monster and sees the beauty of his soul beneath the hideous visage. But you've never heard the tale of the handsome man falling for the monstrous woman and finding joy in her love, because it doesn't happen, not even in fairytales. The truth is that the scarred woman's husband buys her a good thick veil and enquires about nunneries for the good of her health. He spends his days with his falcons and his nights instructing pageboys in their duties. For if nothing else, the wars taught him how to be a diligent master to such pretty lads.

Karen Maitland (Company of Liars)

For the next twenty minutes Elizabeth asked for concessions, Ian conceded, Duncan wrote, and the dowager duchess and Lucinda listened with ill-concealed glee.. In the entire time Ian made but one stipulation, and only after he was finally driven to it out of sheer perversity over the way everyone was enjoying his discomfort: He stipulated that none of Elizabeth’s freedoms could give rise to any gossip that she was cuckolding him.The duchess and Miss Throckmorton-Jones scowled at such a word being mentioned in front of them, but Elizabeth acquiesced with a regal nod of her golden head and politely said to Duncan, “I agree. You may write that down.” Ian grinned at her, and Elizabeth shyly returned his smile. Cuckolding, to the best of Elizabeth’s knowledge, was some sort of disgraceful conduct that required a lady to be discovered in the bedroom with a man who was not her husband. She had obtained that incomplete piece of information from Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones, who, unfortunately, actually believed it.“Is there anything more?” Duncan finally asked, and when Elizabeth shook her head, the dowager spoke up. “Indeed, though you may not need to write it down.” Turning to Ian, she said severely, “If you’ve any thought of announcing this betrothal tomorrow, you may put it out of your head.”Ian was tempted to invite her to get out, in a slightly less wrathful tone than that in which he’d ordered Julius from the house, but he realized that what she was saying was lamentably true. “Last night you went to a deal of trouble to make it seem there had been little but flirtation between the two of you two years ago. Unless you go through the appropriate courtship rituals, which Elizabeth has every right to expect, no one will ever believe it.”“What do you have in mind?” Ian demanded shortly.“One month,” she said without hesitation. “One month of calling on her properly, escorting her to the normal functions, and so on.”“Two weeks,” he countered with strained patience.“Very well,” she conceded, giving Ian the irritating certainty that two weeks was all she’d hoped for anyway. “Then you may announce your betrothal and be wed in-two months!”“Two weeks,” Ian said implacably, reaching for the drink the butler had just put in front of him.“As you wish,” said the dowager. Then two things happened simultaneously: Lucinda Throckmorton-Jones let out a snort that Ian realized was a laugh, and Elizabeth swept Ian’s drink from beneath his fingertips. “There’s-a speck of lint in it,” she explained nervously, handing the drink to Bentner with a severe shake of her head.Ian reached for the sandwich on his plate.Elizabeth watched the satisfied look on Bentner’s face and snatched that away, too. “A-a small insect seems to have gotten on it,” she explained to Ian.“I don’t see anything,” Ian remarked, his puzzled glance on his betrothed. Having been deprived of tea and sustenance, he reached for the glass of wine the butler had set before him, then realized how much stress Elizabeth had been under and offered it to her instead.“Thank you,” she said with a sigh, looking a little harassed. Bentner’s arm swopped down, scooping the wineglass out of her hand. “Another insect,” he said.“Bentner!” Elizabeth cried in exasperation, but her voice was drowned out by a peal of laughter from Alexandra Townsende, who slumped down on the settee, her shoulders shaking with unexplainable mirth.Ian drew the only possible conclusion: They were all suffering from the strain of too much stress.

Judith McNaught (Almost Heaven (Sequels, #3))

When Diana returned to work on Monday, September 16, she came directly to my bedroom and announced, “Mrs. Robertson, I have something important to tell you.” I could see out of the corner of my eye that she had a slight, mischievous grin on her face.“Go right ahead,” I said as I continued to blow-dry my hair in front of the mirror above the dresser.“No, Mrs. Robertson, I’d like your full attention.” I switched off my hair dryer and faced her as she stood in the doorway. “When you leave for work this morning, you’ll notice a lot of reporters and photographers at the entrance to the mews.”I wondered aloud if the press were following either Lord Vestey, a notorious international financier, or John Browne, a bright young M.P. known as one of “Maggie’s boys,” both of whom lived on our small street.“No, actually, Mrs. Robertson, they’re waiting for me,” Diana said with a great deal of blushing, staring at the floor, and throat clearing.“Good heavens, Diana, why?”“Well . . . I spent last weekend at Balmoral.”“With Prince Andrew?” I asked, remembering my friend Lee’s comment on the way to Glyndebourne.“No, actually, I was there to see Prince Charles.” More blushes and throat clearing, quickly followed by her disclaimer, “But he didn’t invite me. His mother did.” Hearing Diana speak of Her Majesty the Queen as “his mother” certainly gave me a clear picture of the circles in which Diana moved.I gasped and asked, probably rather tactlessly, “Gosh, do you think there’s any chance of a romance developing?”“Not really,” she said with noticeable regret. “After all, he’s thirty-one and I’m only nineteen. He’d never look seriously at me.” So modest, so appealing. I couldn’t imagine him not learning to love her. We certainly had.“Well, Diana, I wouldn’t be so sure,” I replied, thinking of my prediction from July.

Mary Robertson (The Diana I Knew: Loving Memories of the Friendship Between an American Mother and Her Son's Nanny Who Became the Princess of Wales)

Pat and I smiled to see a small evening bag with a short handle hooked over her left elbow. We wondered why she would carry a handbag in her own home. What would she possibly need from it?I was longing to walk over to Her Majesty, the Queen, and tell her, mother to mother, “Your Majesty, we’ve known Lady Diana quite well for the past year and a half. We’d like you to know what a truly lovely young woman your son is about to marry.” A sincere and uncontroversial prewedding remark. Unfortunately, this was not only the groom’s mother but also Her Majesty, the Queen of England. Protocol prevented our approaching her, since we had not been personally introduced. I toyed briefly with the idea of walking up to her anyway and pretending that, as an American, I didn’t know the rules. But I was afraid of a chilling rebuff and did not want to embarrass Diana, who had been kind enough to invite us. Pat did not encourage me to plunge ahead. In fact, this time he exclaimed, “Have you lost your mind?” Maybe I should have taken a chance. Too timid again! Our next glimpse of the royal family was Prince Philip, socializing a room or two away from the queen and surrounded by attractive women. He was a bit shorter than he appears in photographs, but quite handsome with a dignified presence and a regal, controlled charm. Pat was impressed by how flawlessly Prince Philip played his role as host, speaking graciously to people in small groups, then moving smoothly on to the next group, unhurried and polished. I thought he had an intimidating, wouldn’t “suffer fools gladly” air—not a person with whom one could easily make small talk, although his close friends seemed relaxed with him. It was easy to believe that he had been a stern and domineering father to Prince Charles. The Prince of Wales had seemed much warmer and more approachable.

Mary Robertson (The Diana I Knew: Loving Memories of the Friendship Between an American Mother and Her Son's Nanny Who Became the Princess of Wales)

A Presidential speech by a real President on Peace in the WorldJohn Kennedy 10th June 1963“We need to examine our attitude toward peace itself. Too many think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But this is a dangerous defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that War is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are man made and they therefore can be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable. I am not here referring to the absolute and universal concept of peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the values of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our immediate goal. Let us focus instead on a more practical more attainable goal—based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution of human institutions in a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single simple key to his peace—no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic not static, changing to meet the needs of each new generation. For peace is a process, a way of solving problems. So let us not be blind to our differences but let us also direct our attention to our common interests and the means by which these differences can be resolved, and if we now can not end our differences at least we can make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air, we all cherish our childrens futures and we are all mortal.

John F. Kennedy

The essence of Roosevelt’s leadership, I soon became convinced, lay in his enterprising use of the “bully pulpit,” a phrase he himself coined to describe the national platform the presidency provides to shape public sentiment and mobilize action. Early in Roosevelt’s tenure, Lyman Abbott, editor of The Outlook, joined a small group of friends in the president’s library to offer advice and criticism on a draft of his upcoming message to Congress. “He had just finished a paragraph of a distinctly ethical character,” Abbott recalled, “when he suddenly stopped, swung round in his swivel chair, and said, ‘I suppose my critics will call that preaching, but I have got such a bully pulpit.’ ” From this bully pulpit, Roosevelt would focus the charge of a national movement to apply an ethical framework, through government action, to the untrammeled growth of modern America. Roosevelt understood from the outset that this task hinged upon the need to develop powerfully reciprocal relationships with members of the national press. He called them by their first names, invited them to meals, took questions during his midday shave, welcomed their company at day’s end while he signed correspondence, and designated, for the first time, a special room for them in the West Wing. He brought them aboard his private railroad car during his regular swings around the country. At every village station, he reached the hearts of the gathered crowds with homespun language, aphorisms, and direct moral appeals. Accompanying reporters then extended the reach of Roosevelt’s words in national publications. Such extraordinary rapport with the press did not stem from calculation alone. Long before and after he was president, Roosevelt was an author and historian. From an early age, he read as he breathed. He knew and revered writers, and his relationship with journalists was authentically collegial. In a sense, he was one of them. While exploring Roosevelt’s relationship with the press, I was especially drawn to the remarkably rich connections he developed with a team of journalists—including Ida Tarbell, Ray Stannard Baker, Lincoln Steffens, and William Allen White—all working at McClure’s magazine, the most influential contemporary progressive publication. The restless enthusiasm and manic energy of their publisher and editor, S. S. McClure, infused the magazine with “a spark of genius,” even as he suffered from periodic nervous breakdowns. “The story is the thing,” Sam McClure responded when asked to account for the methodology behind his publication. He wanted his writers to begin their research without preconceived notions, to carry their readers through their own process of discovery. As they educated themselves about the social and economic inequities rampant in the wake of teeming industrialization, so they educated the entire country. Together, these investigative journalists, who would later appropriate Roosevelt’s derogatory term “muckraker” as “a badge of honor,” produced a series of exposés that uncovered the invisible web of corruption linking politics to business. McClure’s formula—giving his writers the time and resources they needed to produce extended, intensively researched articles—was soon adopted by rival magazines, creating what many considered a golden age of journalism. Collectively, this generation of gifted writers ushered in a new mode of investigative reporting that provided the necessary conditions to make a genuine bully pulpit of the American presidency. “It is hardly an exaggeration to say that the progressive mind was characteristically a journalistic mind,” the historian Richard Hofstadter observed, “and that its characteristic contribution was that of the socially responsible reporter-reformer.

Doris Kearns Goodwin (The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism)

The mornings came hard, and our caddie master, Dick Millweed, had a temper that could make a hangover seem like a seismic fracture. He was a small man with a soft, friendly voice. He was not intimidating at all, until he lost it. In his defense, he took shit from all sides - from the members who wanted their favorite caddie and their preferred tee time, from the golf staff who wanted him to perform a million menial duties, and from us when we showed up bleary eyed and incoherent and sometimes didn't show up at all. And God forbid a caddie should stumble in late, because then Millweed's lips would begin to tremble and his blue eyes would explode from his head. They grew as large as saucers and shook as though his skull was suffering earthquake. And he appeared to grow with them. It was like some shaman or yogi trick. Pound for pound, I've never met anyone else who could so effectively deliver anger. He would yell, "You like fucking with me, don't you? You like making me look bad! You wake up and say, 'Today I'm gonna fuck with Millweed!' and it makes you happy, doesn't it?"And we had no choice but to stand there and take it - hang our heads and blubber apologies and promise never to be hung over again, never to show up late again, because he held the ultimate trump card _ he could fire us and cut us off from the golden tit. But once we were out on the course walking it off, the hanover and any cares associated with it (including Millweed) evaporated into the light mountain air. And after the round, with our pockets replenished and our spirits restored by the carefree, self-congratulatory ebullience of the uberrich, we were powerless to resist the siren song of clinking glasses, the inviting golden light of the street lamps and tavern windows in town, and the slopeside hot tubs steaming under the stars. We all jumped ship and dined, danced, and romanced the night away and then were dashed against the rocks of Millweed's wrath all over again the next morning.

John Dunn (Loopers: A Caddie's Twenty-Year Golf Odyssey)

Patrick Vlaskovits, who was part of the initial conversation that the term “growth hacker” came out of, put it well: “The more innovative your product is, the more likely you will have to find new and novel ways to get at your customers.”12 For example: 1. You can create the aura of exclusivity with an invite-only feature (as Mailbox did). 2. You can create hundreds of fake profiles to make your service look more popular and active than it actually is—nothing draws a crowd like a crowd (as reddit did in its early days). 3. You can target a single service or platform and cater to it exclusively—essentially piggybacking off or even stealing someone else’s growth (as PayPal did with eBay). 4. You can launch for just a small group of people, own that market, and then move from host to host until your product spreads like a virus(which is what Facebook did by starting in colleges—first at Harvard—before taking on the rest of the population). 5. You can host cool events and drive your first users through the system manually (as Myspace, Yelp, and Udemy all did). 6. You can absolutely dominate the App Store because your product provides totally new features that everyone is dying for (which is what Instagram did—twenty-five thousand downloads on its first day—and later Snapchat). 7. You can bring on influential advisors and investors for their valuable audience and fame rather than their money (as About.me and Trippy did—a move that many start-ups have emulated). 8. You can set up a special sub-domain on your e-commerce site where a percentage of every purchase users make goes to a charity of their choice (which is what Amazon did with Smile.Amazon.com this year to great success, proving that even a successful company can find little growth hacks). 9. You can try to name a Planned Parenthood clinic after your client or pay D-list celebrities to say offensive things about themselves to get all sorts of publicity that promotes your book (OK, those stunts were mine).

Ryan Holiday (Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising)

And sometimes, when I find that sweet solitude, I hear warnings about isolation. Some summers, when I was alone in the wilderness, content in my tiny trailer at the edge of the lake, I would not speak to or see another human being for weeks. There, I could slow it all down. I felt the power of life being lived around and within me. I became like a sun warmed rock in the centre of the stream. The water parted around me, eddied in spirals, and flowed on, gently wearing away all my sharp edges.Once, a man who is my lover and friend, I wanted to be more, came to see me there unexpectedly. I had just split an arm load of wood and was carrying it into the trailer as he appeared. He stayed only briefly. Later he told me, “When I came down the driveway and saw you standing there with the wood in your arms, your face glowing from the wind off the lake and the effort of chopping wood, I thought, ‘She belongs to this place. She’s at home here, alone in the bush. She’s not missing me, doesn’t need me here.’ I felt like an intruder.”His observation surprised me. I heard the voice of my mother warning, “You are too independent. Don’t get too good at being alone or you’ll end up by yourself. Everyone needs someone.”Her fear finds a small corner in me, but I resist the idea that I will be with another only to avoid being alone. Surely, the ability to truly be with myself does not exclude the willingness to fully be with another. I do not seek isolation. The longing for another remains even when I am able to be with myself, although it is smaller, a whisper that tugs at me gently. Even there, in my place of solitude in the wilderness, I found myself at moments wanting to turn to someone and share my awe at the brilliance of the full moon on the still water, the delight of watching otters playing at the edge of the stream. But the loneliness was bittersweet and bearable because I knew myself and the world in a way I sometimes do not when I let my life become too full of doing things that do not really need to be done.

Oriah Mountain Dreamer (The Invitation)

The Rabbit The rabbit wanted to grow. God promised to increase his size if he would bring him the skins of a tiger, of a monkey, of a lizard, and of a snake. The rabbit went to visit the tiger. “God has let me into a secret,” he said confidentially. The tiger wanted to know it, and the rabbit announced an impending hurricane. “I’ll save myself because I’m small. I’ll hide in some hole. But what’ll you do? The hurricane won’t spare you.” A tear rolled down between the tiger’s mustaches. “I can think of only one way to save you,” said the rabbit. “We’ll look for a tree with a very strong trunk. I’ll tie you to the trunk by the neck and paws, and the hurricane won’t carry you off.” The grateful tiger let himself be tied. Then the rabbit killed him with one blow, stripped him, and went on his way into the woods of the Zapotec country. He stopped under a tree in which a monkey was eating. Taking a knife, the rabbit began striking his own neck with the blunt side of it. With each blow of the knife, a chuckle. After much hitting and chuckling, he left the knife on the ground and hopped away. He hid among the branches, on the watch. The monkey soon climbed down. He examined the object that made one laugh, and he scratched his head. He seized the knife and at the first blow fell with his throat cut. Two skins to go. The rabbit invited the lizard to play ball. The ball was of stone. He hit the lizard at the base of the tail and left him dead. Near the snake, the rabbit pretended to be asleep. Just as the snake was tensing up, before it could jump, the rabbit plunged his claws into its eyes. He went to the sky with the four skins. “Now make me grow,” he demanded. And God thought, “The rabbit is so small, yet he did all this. If I make him bigger, what won’t he do? If the rabbit were big, maybe I wouldn’t be God.” The rabbit waited. God came up softly, stroked his back, and suddenly caught him by the ears, whirled him about, and threw him to the ground. Since then the rabbit has had big ears, short front feet from having stretching them out to break his fall, and pink eyes from panic. (92)

Eduardo Galeano (Genesis: Volume 1 (Memory of Fire, 1))

Finally, he looked sideways at Vaughn. “So. I guess this is probably a good time to mention that Isabelle is pregnant.”That got a small chuckle out of Vaughn. “I kind of figured that already. I’ve had my suspicions for a few weeks.”Simon nodded. “Isabelle wondered if you knew.”“You could’ve told me, Simon,” Vaughn said, not unkindly. “I get why you might not want Mom to know yet, but why not talk to me about it?”Simon leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees. “I guess I didn’t think you’d understand.”“I wouldn’t understand that you want to marry the woman who’s pregnant with your child? I think that’s a concept I can grasp.”“See, that’s just it.” Simon gestured emphatically. “I knew that’s how you would see it. That I’m marrying Isabelle because I got her pregnant. And I don’t want you, or Mom, or anyone else to think about Isabelle that way—that she’s the woman I had to marry, because it was the right thing to do. Because the truth is, I knew I wanted to marry Isabelle on our second date. She invited me up to her apartment that night, and I saw that she had the entire James Bond collection on Blu-ray. Naturally, being the Bond aficionado that I am, I threw out a little test question for her: ‘Who’s the best Bond?’”Vaughn scoffed. “Like there’s more than one possible answer to that.”“Exactly. Sean Connery’s a no-brainer, right? But get this—she says Daniel Craig.” Simon caught Vaughn’s horrified expression. “I know, right? So I’m thinking the date is over because clearly she’s either crazy or has seriously questionable taste, but then she starts going on and on about how Casino Royale is the first movie where Bond is touchable and human, and then we get into this big debate that lasts for nearly an hour. And as I’m sitting there on her couch, I keep thinking that I don’t know a single other person who would relentlessly argue, for an hour, that Daniel Craig is a better Bond than Sean Connery. She pulled out the DVDs and showed me movie clips and everything.” He smiled, as if remembering the moment. “And somewhere in there, it hit me. I thought to myself, I’m going to marry this woman.

Julie James (It Happened One Wedding (FBI/US Attorney, #5))

The real improvements then must come, to a considerable extent, from the local communities themselves. We need local revision of our methods of land use and production. We need to study and work together to reduce scale, reduce overhead, reduce industrial dependencies; we need to market and process local products locally; we need to bring local economies into harmony with local ecosystems so that we can live and work with pleasure in the same places indefinitely; we need to substitute ourselves, our neighborhoods, our local resources, for expensive imported goods and services; we need to increase cooperation among all local economic entities: households, farms, factories, banks, consumers, and suppliers. If. we are serious about reducing government and the burdens of government, then we need to do so by returning economic self-determination to the people. And we must not do this by inviting destructive industries to provide "jobs" to the community; we must do it by fostering economic democracy. For example, as much as possible the food that is consumed locally ought to be locally produced on small farms, and then processed in small, non- polluting plants that are locally owned. We must do everything possible to provide to ordinary citizens the opportunity to own a small, usable share of the country. In that way, we will put local capital to work locally, not to exploit and destroy the land but to use it well. This is not work just for the privileged, the well-positioned, the wealthy, and the powerful. It is work for everybody. I acknowledge that to advocate such reforms is to advocate a kind of secession-not a secession of armed violence but a quiet secession by which people find the practical means and the strength of spirit to remove themselves from an economy that is exploiting and destroying their homeland. The great, greedy, indifferent national and international economy is killing rural America, just as it is killing America's cities--it is killing our country. Experience has shown that there is no use in appealing to this economy for mercy toward the earth or toward any human community. All true patriots must find ways of opposing it. --1991

Wendell Berry (Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community: Eight Essays)

Oh, Gray, she said. Oh, gray, indeed. As in, oh Gray what the holy hell has come over you and what the devil do you intend to do about it?He took the coward’s way out. He looked away.“I thought you were painting a portrait. Of me.”She turned her head, following his gaze to her easel. A vast seascape overflowed the small canvas. Towering thunderclouds and a violent, frothy sea. And slightly off center, a tiny ship cresting a massive wave.“I am painting you.”“What, am I on the little boat, then?” It was a relief to joke.The relief was short-lived.“No,” she said softly, turning back to look at him. “I’m on the little boat. You’re the storm. And the ocean. You’re…Gray, you’re everything.”And that was when things went from “very bad” to “worse.”“I can’t take credit for the composition. It’s inspired by a painting I once saw, in a gallery on Queen Anne Street. By a Mr. Turner.”“Turner. Yes, I know his work. No relation, I suppose?”“No.” She looked back at the canvas. “When I saw it that day, so brash and wild…I could feel the tempest churning in my blood. I just knew then and there, that I had something inside me-a passion too bold, too grand to keep squeezed inside a drawing room. First I tried to deny it, and then I tried to run from it…and then I met you, and I saw you have it, too. Don’t deny it, Gray. Don’t run from it and leave me alone.”She sat up, still rubbing his cheek with her thumb. Grasping his other hand, she drew it to her naked breast. Oh, God. She was every bit as soft as he’d dreamed. Softer. And there went his hand now. Trembling.“Touch me, Gray.” She leaned forward, until her lips paused a mere inch away from his. “Kiss me.”Perhaps that dagger had missed his heart after all, because the damned thing was hammering away inside his chest. And oh, he could taste her sweet breath mingling with his. Her lips were so close, so inviting.So dangerous.Panic-that’s what had his knees trembling and his heart hammering and his lips spouting foolishness. It had to be panic. Because something told Gray that he could see her mostly naked, and watch her toes curl as she reached her climax, and even cup her dream-soft breast in his palm-but somehow, if he touched his lips to hers, he would be lost.“Please,” she whispered. “Kiss me.

Tessa Dare (Surrender of a Siren (The Wanton Dairymaid Trilogy, #2))

I ask them to write brief descriptions of two recent moments in the classroom: a moment when things went so well that you knew you were born to be a teacher and a moment when things went so poorly that you wished you had never been born!Then we get into small groups to learn more about our own natures through the two cases. First, I ask people to help each other identify the gifts that they possess that made thegood moment possible. It is an affirming experience to see our gifts at work in a real-life situation-and it often takes the eyes of others to help us see. Our strongest gifts are usually those we are barely aware of possessing. They are a part of our God-given nature, with us from the moment we drew first breath, and we are no more conscious of having them than we are of breathing.Then we turn to the second case. Having been bathed with praise in the first case, people now expect to be subjected to analysis, critique, and a variety of fixes: "If I had been in your shoes, I would have ... ," or, "Next time you are in a situation like that, why don't you ... ?" But I ask them to avoid that approach. I ask them instead to help each other see how limitations and liabilities are the flip side of our gifts, how a particular weakness is the inevitable trade-off for a particular strength. We will become better teachers not by trying to fill the potholes in our souls but by knowing them so well that we can avoid falling into them.My gift as a teacher is the ability to "dance" with my students, to teach and learn with them through dialogue and interaction. When my students are willing to dance with nee, the result can be a thing of beauty. When they refuse to dance, when my gift is denied, things start to become messy: I get hurt and angry, I resent the students-whom I blame for my plight-and I start treating them defensively, in ways that make the dance even less likely to happen.But when I understand this liability as a trade-off for my strengths, something new and liberating arises within me. I no longer want to have my liability "fixed"-by learning how to dance solo, for example, when no one wants to dance with me-for to do that would be to compromise or even destroy my gift. Instead I want to learn how to respond more gracefully to students who refuse to dance, not projecting my limitation on them but embracing it as part of myself.I will never be a good teacher for students who insist on remaining wallflowers throughout their careers-that is simply one of my many limits. But perhaps I can develop enough self-understanding to keep inviting the wallflowers onto the floor, holding open the possibility that some of them might hear the music, accept the invitation, and join me in the dance of teaching and learning.

Parker J. Palmer (Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation)

In Hiding - coming summer of 2020 WAYNE ANTHONY SEEKS REDEMPTION FROM A BAD DAY - Although warned about getting the stitches wet, he believed a hot shower was the only road to his redemption. Experienced taught him the best way to relieve the tightness in his lower back was by standing beneath the near-scalding water. Dropping the rest of his clothing, he turned the shower on full blast. The hot water rushed from the showerhead filling the tiny room with steam, instantly the small mirror on the medicine cabinet fogged up. The man quietly pulled the shower curtain back and entered the shower stall without a sound. Years of acting as another’s shadow had trained him to live soundlessly. The hot water cascaded over his body as the echo from the pounding water deadened slightly. Grabbing the sample sized soap, he pulled the paper off and tossed the wrapper over the curtain rail. Wayne rubbed the clean smelling block until his large hands disappeared beneath the lather. He ignored the folded washcloth, opting to use his hands across his body. Gently he cleaned the injury allowing the slime of bacterial soap to remove the residual of the rust-colored betadine. All that remained when he finished was the pale orange smear from the antiseptic. This scar was not the only mar to his body. The water cascaded down hard muscles making rivulets throughout the thatches of dark hair. He raised his arms gingerly as he washed beneath them; the tight muscles of his abdomen glistened beneath the torrent of water. Opening a bottle of shampoo-slash-conditioner, he applied a dab then ran his hands across his scalp. Finally, the tension in his square jaw had eased, making his handsome face more inviting. The cords of his neck stood out as he rinsed the shampoo from his hair. It coursed down his chest leading down to his groin where the scented wash caught in his pelvic hair.Wayne's body was one of perfection for any woman; if that was, she could ignore the mutilations. Knife injuries left their mark with jagged white lines. Most of these, he had doctored himself; his lack of skill resulted in crude scars. The deepest one, undulated along the left side of his abdomen, that one had required the art of a surgeon. Dropping his arms, he surrenders himself to the pelting deluge from the shower. The steamy water cascaded down his body, pulling the soap toward the drain. Across his back, it slid down several small indiscernible pockmarks left by gunshot wounds, the true extent of their damage far beneath his skin. Slowly the suds left his body, snaking down his muscular legs. It slithered down the scars on his left knee, the result of replacement surgery after a thug took a bat to it. Wayne stood until the hot water cooled, and ran translucent over his body. Finally, he washes the impact of the long day from his mind and spirit.

Caroline Walken

College students were instructed to sit by themselves for up to fifteen minutes in a sparsely furnished, unadorned room and “entertain themselves with their thoughts.” They were allowed to think about whatever they liked, the only rules being that they should remain in their seat and stay awake. Before they entered the room they were obliged to surrender any means of distraction they had about their person, such as cell phones, books, or writing materials. Afterward, they were asked to rate the experience on various scales. Unsurprisingly, a majority reported that they found it difficult to concentrate and their minds had wandered, with around half saying they didn’t enjoy the experience. A subsequent experiment, however, revealed that many found being left alone in an empty room with nothing to occupy their minds so unpleasant (this is, after all, what makes solitary confinement such a harsh punishment in prisons) that they would rather give themselves electric shocks. In the first part of this experiment, the volunteers were asked to rate the unpleasantness of a shock delivered via electrodes attached to their ankle and say whether they would pay a small amount of money to avoid having to experience it again. In the second part, during which they were left alone with their thoughts for fifteen minutes, they were presented with the opportunity to zap themselves once again. Amazingly, among those who had said they would pay to avoid a repeat experience, 67 percent of the men (12 out of 18) and 25 percent of the women (6 out of 24) opted to shock themselves at least once. One of the women gave herself nine electric shocks. One of the men subjected himself to no fewer than 190 shocks, though he was considered exceptional—a statistical “outlier”—and his results were excluded from the final analysis. In their report for the journal Science, the researchers write, “What is striking is that simply being alone with their own thoughts for 15 minutes was apparently so aversive that it drove many participants to self-administer an electric shock that they had earlier said they would pay to avoid.” This goes a long way toward explaining why many people initially find it so hard to meditate, because to sit quietly with your eyes closed is to invite the mind to wander here, there, and everywhere. In a sense, that is the whole point: we are simply learning to notice when this has happened. So the frustrating realization that your thoughts have been straying—yet again—is a sign of progress rather than failure. Only by noticing the way thoughts ricochet about inside our heads like ball bearings in a pinball machine can we learn to observe them dispassionately and simply let them come to rest, resisting the urge to pull back the mental plunger and fire off more of them. One of the benefits of meditation is that one develops the ability to quiet the mind at will. “Without such training,” the psychologists conclude drily in their paper, “people prefer doing to thinking, even if what they are doing is so unpleasant they would normally pay to avoid it. The untutored mind does not like to be alone with itself.

James Kingsland (Siddhartha's Brain: Unlocking the Ancient Science of Enlightenment)

Cursing himself, he glided his fingertips from her shoulder inward along the elegant line of her collarbone.She responded to him with a sigh of intoxicated pleasure, arching her head back, lifting her breasts slightly as her body rose to his touch. His eyes glazed over as he realized then that she was awake enough to know what she wanted.He leaned down at once and kissed her shoulder softly, whispering her name. "Wake to me." She touched his head in answer, draping her arm weakly over his neck.He moved onto the bed with her, his heart pounding. He lay beside her, close enough to consume with his lips the small, heady sigh that escaped hers.He watched the dreamy smile that curved her lips as he began caressing her with seductive reassurance, letting her get accustomed to his touch."That's right. You just relax," he breathed. He skimmed his palm down her arm, but at her elbow, he diverted his explorations to her slender waist. From there, he ran his hand down lower, to her hip.She stretched a little like a pampered cat under his patient stroking. He bent his head at length and pressed a kiss to the white line of her tender neck.He was rewarded with another enticing undulation of her body, drawing him closer. As his lips worked his way higher, Kate turned her mouth to his invitingly. She met his gaze for a fleeting instant before he kissed her; her glittering, heavy-lidded eyes teemed with feverish desire."Hullo there," he whispered, then he bent his head and claimed her mouth. Her low moan passed from her lips to his. Rohan answered in kind as he deepened the kiss, capturing her chin between his finger and thumb. She clutched two fistfuls of his shirt for a passing instant.Her mouth tasted of red wine. He drank deeper. As she opened her mouth to his hungry kiss, he skimmed his fingertips down her throat to her chest. He slipped his hand into her gown and cupped her breast.With tingling hands, he took her nipple between his finger and thumb and held it lightly as he kissed her. Her approving groan asked wordlessly for more. She touched his shoulders, arms, and chest as he moved downward over her body to indulge himself in sampling her breasts.She made no move to stop him, no longer cold or shivering as she had been in the great hall, but panting, her skin aglow with newfound heat as he undid the bodice of her skimpy gown and bared her lovely breasts.Closing his eyes, he took her nipple into his mouth and sucked until it swelled to glorious fullness against his tongue. The kiss went on and on, for she was even sweeter than he had already fantasized in the great hall. Now that he had her nipple in his mouth, he could not get enough of her. But when she began to writhe hungrily beneath him, her moans climbing, he obliged her, taking his hand down slowly over her quivering stomach through her gown. She was wanton, but he stoked her fire by keeping a leisurely pace for now. He put his hand between her legs, giving her a taste of what she craved. She began rubbing restlessly against the snug hold of his hand cupping her mound.He was rock hard, and enjoyed pleasuring her for a while further, feeling the dampness of her core permeating the thin cloth of her gown

Gaelen Foley (My Dangerous Duke (Inferno Club, #2))

I was in a copse of pine trees, and the pine was overpowering my scent. The pheromones of the big cat mingled with the pine and I spun around. I was smelling and looking for the flash of white, but I couldn’t see it. I grew angry and I pawed at the earth. The aroma of the soil cleansed my nose as I leaned down and sniffed deeply. I slowly closed and opened my eyes. As I looked ahead I saw something. There, further on, I had another glimpse of the large white cat. She was stopped and her hindquarters were in the air. I stared, trying to figure out what she was doing. Her forepaws and head were on the ground, but her hind was wiggling. She was next to a tree, marking it, so I slowly paced in a zigzag pattern as I walked close to her. I was being cautious because poachers had been known to employ shifters to entice real animals in the wild. She turned her head and growled at me. I took it as an invite to come closer. I ran up to her and started circling. She was an albino panther as I thought. I paced closer, breathing deep. I was in the middle of Ohio, outside of a lost cougar and a few bobcats there were no big cats here, at least not counting lycanthropes, and this creature didn’t smell like one of those. Her rump almost wagged in anticipation, and I felt my tiger body respond.I circled her, taking a swipe in her direction to see if she was going to respond negatively to me. The pink eyes followed me and she growled. I walked up to her, sniffed her face and neckline. I didn’t smell any other male on her, and I walked to her raised rump. Burying my nose in her groin I smelled deeper, and she shifted her body. I felt it before I could see it. She was shifting, changing from albino panther to human. I sat on my hindquarters as I watched. Her white fur seemed to melt from her, sliding upwards, starting with her back legs. The flesh and fur on her feet slid forward, leaving human feet and calves. It was fully fleshed, unlike some lycanthrope changes when they’re younger. The calves of her legs appeared, and slowly slid up. The panther flesh was sliding forward, slowly and methodically. Across her ass and groin, now lower back and stomach. The pheromones I smelled earlier were coming from her, the human form. I stood and started pacing behind her, and her panther head shook in a very human gesture. I stopped, fighting the desire to lean forward and lick her wetness with my large tongue. The flesh was sliding forward and as her teats turned into breasts, I growled in need. Next were her shoulders and arms, then her head and hands. As the transformation ended, there was a pile of fur and flesh lying in front of her. Her human form was beautiful; a full figured woman with long white hair, that was perfectly natural. She looked to be in her early forties, but didn’t have a line on her face that she didn’t want. In the corners of her eyes were small, but beautiful, crow’s feet, laugh lines surrounded her mouth. She laid out with her former form under her, laying on it, propped up by her elbows. She smiled with the confidence of someone who was used to being in charge. Her long hair flowed around her shoulders, framing her body. She reminded me of someone, but I couldn’t figure out who.

Todd Misura (Divergence: Erotica from a Different Angle)

LEAD PEOPLE TO COMMITMENT We have seen that nonbelievers in worship actually “close with Christ” in two basic ways: some may come to Christ during the service itself (1 Cor 14:24 – 25), while others must be “followed up with” by means of after-service meetings. Let’s take a closer look at both ways of leading people to commitment. It is possible to lead people to a commitment to Christ during the service. One way of inviting people to receive Christ is to make a verbal invitation as the Lord’s Supper is being distributed. At our church, we say it this way: “If you are not in a saving relationship with God through Christ today, do not take the bread and the cup, but as they come around, take Christ. Receive him in your heart as those around you receive the food. Then immediately afterward, come up and tell an officer or a pastor about what you’ve done so we can get you ready to receive the Supper the next time as a child of God.” Another way to invite commitment during the service is to give people a time of silence or a period of musical interlude after the sermon. This affords people time to think and process what they have heard and to offer themselves to God in prayer. In many situations, it is best to invite people to commitment through after-meetings. Acts 2 gives an example. Inverses 12 and 13 we are told that some folks mocked after hearing the apostles praise and preach, but others were disturbed and asked, “What does this mean?” Then, we see that Peter very specifically explained the gospel and, in response to the follow-up question “What shall we do?” (v. 37), he explained how to become a Christian. Historically, many preachers have found it effective to offer such meetings to nonbelievers and seekers immediately after evangelistic worship. Convicted seekers have just come from being in the presence of God and are often the most teachable and open at this time. To seek to “get them into a small group” or even to merely return next Sunday is asking a lot. They may also be “amazed and perplexed” (Acts 2:12), and it is best to strike while the iron is hot. This should not be understood as doubting that God is infallibly drawing people to himself (Acts 13:48; 16:14). Knowing the sovereignty of God helps us to relax as we do evangelism, knowing that conversions are not dependent on our eloquence. But it should not lead us to ignore or minimize the truth that God works through secondary causes. The Westminster Confession (5.2 – 3), for example, tells us that God routinely works through normal social and psychological processes. Therefore, inviting people into a follow-up meeting immediately after the worship service can often be more conducive to conserving the fruit of the Word. After-meetings may take the shape of one or more persons waiting at the front of the auditorium to pray with and talk with seekers who wish to make inquiries right on the spot. Another way is to host a simple Q&A session with the preacher in or near the main auditorium, following the postlude. Or offer one or two classes or small group experiences targeted to specific questions non-Christians ask about the content, relevance, and credibility of the Christian faith. Skilled lay evangelists should be present who can come alongside newcomers, answer spiritual questions, and provide guidance for their next steps.

Timothy J. Keller (Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City)

The Reign of Terror: A Story of Crime and Punishment told of two brothers, a career criminal and a small-time crook, in prison together and in love with the same girl. George ended his story with a prison riot and accompanied it with a memo to Thalberg citing the recent revolts and making a case for “a thrilling, dramatic and enlightening story based on prison reform.”---Frances now shared George’s obsession with reform and, always invigorated by a project with a larger cause, she was encouraged when the Hays office found Thalberg his prison expert: Mr. P. W. Garrett, the general secretary of the National Society of Penal Information. Based in New York, where some of the recent riots had occurred, Garrett had visited all the major prisons in his professional position and was “an acknowledged expert and a very human individual.” He agreed to come to California to work with Frances for several weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas for a total of kr 4,470.62 plus expenses. Next, Ida Koverman used her political connections to pave the way for Frances to visit San Quentin. Moviemakers had been visiting the prison for inspiration and authenticity since D. W. Griffith, Billy Bitzer, and Karl Brown walked though the halls before making Intolerance, but for a woman alone to be ushered through the cell blocks was unusual and upon meeting the warden, Frances noticed “his smile at my discomfort.” Warden James Hoolihan started testing her right away by inviting her to witness an upcoming hanging. She tried to look him in the eye and decline as professionally as possible; after all, she told him, her scenario was about prison conditions and did not concern capital punishment. Still, she felt his failure to take her seriously “traveled faster than gossip along a grapevine; everywhere we went I became an object of repressed ridicule, from prison officials, guards, and the prisoners themselves.” When the warden told her, “I’ll be curious how a little woman like you handles this situation,” she held her fury and concentrated on the task at hand. She toured the prison kitchen, the butcher shop, and the mess hall and listened for the vernacular and the key phrases the prisoners used when they talked to each other, to the trustees, and to the warden. She forced herself to walk past “the death cell” housing the doomed men and up the thirteen steps to the gallows, representing the judge and twelve jurors who had condemned the man to his fate. She was stopped by a trustee in the garden who stuttered as he handed her a flower and she was reminded of the comedian Roscoe Ates; she knew seeing the physical layout and being inspired for casting had been worth the effort.---Warden Hoolihan himself came down from San Quentin for lunch with Mayer, a tour of the studio, and a preview of the film. Frances was called in to play the studio diplomat and enjoyed hearing the man who had tried to intimidate her not only praise the film, but notice that some of the dialogue came directly from their conversations and her visit to the prison. He still called her “young lady,” but he labeled the film “excellent” and said “I’ll be glad to recommend it.”----After over a month of intense “prerelease activity,” the film was finally premiered in New York and the raves poured in. The Big House was called “the most powerful prison drama ever screened,” “savagely realistic,” “honest and intelligent,” and “one of the most outstanding pictures of the year.

Cari Beauchamp (Without Lying Down: Screenwriter Frances Marion and the Powerful Women of Early Hollywood)

1) We need to take our minds off what we don’t want and onto what we do want, so that the way to manifest your desires is to think about them as often as possible. Thoughts become things; we create our world with our thoughts, and so on. 2) We are told again and again that if we expect things to turn out badly, they will. I have lost count of how many times I have been told not to talk of worst-case scenarios because in doing so I will ‘make them happen’ and so court disaster. ‘Speak of the Devil and he will appear’, so the saying goes. 3) Want is another word for lack. Thoughts of wanting only attracts more wanting and more lack. By continually thinking about your goal, you are continually wanting, continually asking. This will act to ‘freeze’ things, keeping you in a state of constant state of waiting, wanting, anticipation and lack. Wanting = Asking = Lack. 4) Complaining and focusing on the negative at the expense of the positive is prevalent in every society. There is a very clear correlation between those who are very happy and an almost non-existent level of complaining. Those who complain a lot, generally have lives that are poorer in all ways than those who do not complain. Those who do not complain, generally have fuller, richer and happier lives. It is complaining that keeps you in a state of wanting. Complaining just invites more into your life to complain about because complaining means wanting things to be different. 5) What isn’t allowed is complaining for the sake of complaining – talking in a negative way about something for fun, to gossip about someone in a derogatory way, to pass the time of day, or worse, to make you feel better, more important or as a way of connecting with another negative person. 6) The point is not to get the words right, the point is to change your focus to all the good that is in your life. Your energy will rise automatically and naturally just by this one move. 7) A person who notices a lot of good in their life, has a lot of good in their life. A person who is grateful a lot, has a lot to be grateful for. It works that way around. Look at the world and smile, and it will smile back at you. 8) BELIEFS BECOME THINGS Rather than mere thoughts, it is your deeply held beliefs which have the greatest effect on your life. 9) You need to believe in your own power, really believe it; not just wishfully think it. Not just say ‘I believe in myself’ in some sort of self-help sound bite-type way, while inside part of you is disagreeing. 10) This is yet another reason for not working on goals too quickly. Any failure in achieving a particular goal will only dent your belief; we cannot risk that. But, every success, no matter how small, will grow your belief in your own ability. Little tiny successes all build into a wonderful strong belief. 11) Having worked hard for a few days (preferably weeks) to eradicate the bulk of your negativity, you start noticing the effect of doing this. Notice, accept and believe that small changes in you do indeed bring about a positive change in the people, events and situations around you. See the world, not as a separate realm over which you have greater or lesser effect, but as a mirror, reflecting not just your thoughts, but you. 12) Expecting the world to change, without changing you is like looking into a mirror and expecting the reflection to smile first. The world simply will never change, until you change. 13) Begin to realize that your experience of life is nothing but a reflection of the person you are

Genevieve Davis

Evening,” Zane said.It was a pretty wordy opening for him.Phoebe debated inviting him in, then decided it would be too much like an offer to sleep with him. Instead of stepping back and pointing to the bed, which was really what she wanted to do, she moved down the hallway, shutting the door behind her, and did her best to look unimpressed.“Hi, Zane. How are the preparations coming?”He gave her one of his grunts, then shrugged. She took that to mean, “Great. And thanks so much for asking.”They weren’t standing all that close, but she was intensely aware of him. Despite the fact that he’d probably been up at dawn and that it was now close to ten, he still smelled good. He wasn’t wearing his cowboy hat, so she could see his dark hair. Stubble defined his jaw. She wanted to rub her hands over the roughness, then maybe hook her leg around his hip and slide against him like the sex-starved fool she was turning out to be. “Maya’ll be here tomorrow,” he said. “Elaine Mitchell is bringing her out to the ranch with all of the greenhorns in her tourist bus.”She had to clear her throat before speaking. “Maya called me about an hour ago to let me know she’d be getting here about three.”He folded his arms across his broad chest, then leaned sideways against the doorjamb beside her. So very close. Her attention fixed on the strong column of his neck, and a certain spot just behind his jaw that she had a sudden urge to kiss. Would it be warm? Would she feel his pulse against her lips?“She doesn’t need to know what happened,” Zane said.Phoebe couldn’t quite make sense of his words, and he must have read the confusion in her eyes. They were alone, it was night and the man seemed to be looming above her in the hallway. She’d never thought she would enjoy being loomed over, but it was actually very nice. She had the feeling that if she suddenly saw a mouse or something, she could shriek and jump, and he would catch her. Of course he would think she was an idiot, but that was beside the point.“Between us,” he explained. “Outside. She doesn’t need to know about the kiss.”A flood of warmth rushed to her face as she understood that he regretted kissing her. She instinctively stepped backward, only to bump her head against the closed bedroom door. Before she had time to be embarrassed about her lack of grace or sophistication, he groaned, reached for her hips and drew her toward him.“She doesn’t need to know about this one, either.”His lips took hers with a gentle but commanding confidence. Her hands settled on either side of the strong neck she’d been eyeing only seconds ago. His skin was as warm as she’d imagined it would be. The cords of his muscles moved against her fingers as he lifted his head to a better angle.His hands were still, except his thumbs, which brushed her hip bones, slow and steady. His fingers splayed over the narrowest part of her waist and nearly met at the small of her back. She wished she could feel his fingertips against her skin, but her thin cotton top got in the way. He kept her body at a frustrating distance from his. In fact, when she tried to move closer, he held her away even as he continued the kiss. Lips on lips. Hot and yielding. She waited for him to deepen the kiss, but he didn’t. And she couldn’t summon the courage to do it herself. Finally, he drew back and rested his forehead against hers for a long moment.“Do me a favor,” he said. “Try to be a little more resistible. I don’t think I can take a week of this.”Then he turned on his heel, walked to a door at the end of the long hallway, and went inside. She stood in place, her fingers pressed against her still-tingling lips. More than a minute passed before she realized she was smiling.

Susan Mallery (Kiss Me (Fool's Gold, #17))

Her enormous eyes were staring straight into his silver ones. He couldn’t look away, couldn’t let go of her hand. He couldn’t have moved if his life depended on it. He was lost in those blue-violet eyes, somewhere in their mysterious, haunting, sexy depths. What was it he had decided? Decreed? He was not going to allow her anywhere near Peter’s funeral. Why was his resolve fading away to nothing? He had reasons, good reasons. He was certain of it. Yet now, drowning in her huge eyes, his thoughts on the length of her lashes, the curve of her cheek, the feel of her skin, he couldn’t think of denying her. After all, she hadn’t tried to defy him; she didn’t know he had made the decision to keep her away from Peter’s funeral. She was including him in the plans, as if they were a unit, a team. She was asking his advice. Would it be so terrible to please her over this? It was important to her. He blinked to keep from falling into her gaze and found himself staring at the perfection of her mouth. The way her lips parted so expectantly. The way the tip of her tongue darted out to moisten her full lower lip. Almost a caress. He groaned. An invitation. He braced himself to keep from leaning over and tracing the exact path with his own tongue. He was being tortured. Tormented. Her perfect lips formed a slight frown. He wanted to kiss it right off her mouth. “What is it, Gregori?” She reached up to touch his lips with her fingertip. His heart nearly jumped out of his chest. He caught her wrist and clamped it against his pumping heart. “Savannah,” he whispered. An ache. It came out that way. An ache. He knew it. She knew it. God, he wanted her with every cell in his body. Untamed. Wild. Crazy. He wanted to bury himself so deep inside her that she would never get him out. Her hand trembled in answer, a slight movement rather like the flutter of butterfly wings. He felt it all the way through his body. “It is all right, mon amour,” he said softly. “I am not asking for anything.” “I know you’re not. I’m not denying you anything. I know we need to have time to become friends, but I’m not going to deny what I feel already. When you’re close to me, my body temperature jumps about a thousand degrees.” Her blue eyes were dark and beckoning, steady on his. He touched her mind very gently, almost tenderly, slipped past her guard and knew what courage it took for her to make the admission. She was nervous, even afraid, but willing to meet him halfway. The realization nearly brought him to his knees. A muscle jumped in his jaw, and the silver eyes heated to molten mercury, but his face was as impassive as ever. “I think you are a witch, Savannah, casting a spell over me.” His hand cupped her face, his thumb sliding over her delicate cheekbone. She moved closer, and he felt her need for comfort, for reassurance. Her arms slid tentatively around his waist. Her head rested on his sternum. Gregori held her tightly, simply held her, waiting for her trembling to cease. Waiting for the warmth of his body to seep into hers. Gregori’s hand came up to stroke the thick length of silken, ebony hair, taking pleasure in the simple act. It brought a measure of peace to both of them. He would never have believed what a small thing like holding a woman could do to a man. She was turning his heart inside out; unfamiliar emotions surged wildly through him and wreaked havoc with his well-ordered life. In his arms, next to his hard strength, she felt fragile, delicate, like an exotic flower that could be easily broken. “Do not worry about Peter, ma petite,” he whispered into the silken strands of her hair. “We will see to his resting place tomorrow.” “Thank you, Gregori,” Savannah said. “It matters a lot to me.” He lifted her easily into his arms. “I know. It would be simpler if I did not. Come to my bed, chérie, where you belong.

Christine Feehan (Dark Magic (Dark, #4))

What I have been doing lately from my WIP "In Hiding" is available on my website. *Strong language warning* Wayne sat in the hygienic emergency room trying to ignore the bitch of a headache that began radiating at the back of his skull. His worn jeans, a blood-stained t-shirt, and his makeshift bandage sat on a nearby chair. The hysteria created by his appearance in the small hospital ward had died down. A local cop greeted him as soon as he was escorted to the examination room. The conversation was brief, once he revealed he was a bail enforcer the topic changed from investigation to shooting the bull. The experienced officer shook his hand before leaving then joked he hoped this would be their only encounter. The ER doc was a woman about his age. Already the years of long hours, rotating shifts and the rarity of a personal life showed on her face. Her eyelids were pink-rimmed, her complexion sallow; all were earmarks of the effect of long-term exhaustion. Wayne knew it all too well as he rubbed his knuckle against his own grainy eyes. Despite this, she attended to him with an upbeat demeanor and even slid in some ribbing at his expense. He was defenseless, once the adrenaline dropped off Wayne felt drained. He accepted her volleys without a response. All he mustered was a smile and occasional nod as she stitched him up.Across the room, his cell toned, after the brief display of the number a woman’s image filled the screen. Under his breath, he mumbled, “Shit.”He intends for his exclamation to remain ignored, having caught it the doctor glanced his direction with a smile. Without invitation, she retrieved his phone handing it to him without comment. Wayne noted the raised eyebrow she failed to hide. The phone toned again as he glanced at the flat image on the device. The woman’s likeness was smiling brightly, her blue eyes dancing. Just looking at her eased the pain in his head. He swiped the screen and connected the call as the doctor finished taping his injury. Using his free uninjured arm, he held the phone away from him slightly, utilizing the speaker option.“Hey Baby.”“What the hell, Wayne!” Her voice filled the small area, in his peripheral vision he saw the doc smirk. Turning his head, he addressed the caller.“Babe, I was getting ready to call.” The excuse sounded lame, even to him.“Why the hell do I have to hear about this secondhand?”Wayne placed the phone to his chest, loudly he exclaimed; “F***!”The ER doc touched his arm, “I will give you privacy.” Wayne gave her a grateful nod. With a snatch, she grabbed the corner of the thin curtain suspended from the ceiling and pulled it close. Alone again, he refocused on the call. The woman on the other end had continued in her tirade without him. When he rejoined the call mid-rant, she was issuing him a heartfelt ass-chewing. “...bullshit Wayne that I have to hear about this from my cousin. We’ve talked about this!”“Honey...” She interrupts him before he can explain himself. “So what the hell happened?”Wisely he waited for silence to indicate it was his turn to speak. “Lou, Honey first I am sorry. You know I never meant to upset you. I am alright; it is just a flesh wound.” As he speaks, a sharp pain radiates across his side. Gritting his teeth, Wayne vows to continue without having the radiating pain affect his voice. “I didn’t want you to worry Honey; you know calling Cooper first is just business.” Silence.The woman miles away grits her teeth as she angrily brushes away her tears. Seated at the simple dining table, she takes a napkin from the center and dabs at her eyes. Mentally she reminds herself of her promise that she was done crying over this man. She takes an unsteady breath as she returns her attention to the call.“Lou, you still there?”There is something in his voice, the tender desperation he allows only her to see. Furrowing her brow she closes her eyes, an errant tear coursed down her cheek.

Caroline Walken

The Buddha told his disciples the following fable: “Once upon a time, a clever king invited several people blind from birth to visit the palace. He brought out an elephant and asked them to touch it and then describe what the elephant was like. The blind man who rubbed its legs said that the elephant was like the pillars of a house. The man who stroked its tail said the elephant was like a feather duster. The person who touched its ears said it was like a winnowing basket, and the man who touched its stomach said it was like a round barrel. The person who rubbed its head said the elephant was like a large earthenware jar, and the person who touched its tusk said the elephant was like a stick. When they sat down to discuss what the elephant was like, no one could agree with anyone else, and a very heated argument arose. “Bhikkhus, what you see and hear comprises only a small part of reality. If you take it to be the whole of reality, you will end up having a distorted picture. A person on the path must keep a humble, open heart, acknowledging that his understanding is incomplete. We should devote constant effort to study more deeply in order to make progress on the path. A follower of the Way must remain open-minded, understanding that attachment to present views as if they were absolute truth will only prevent us from realizing the truth. Humility and open-mindedness are the two conditions necessary for making progress on the path.

Thich Nhat Hanh (Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha)

Cincinnatus, after passing many other doors, stumbled, hopped, and found himself in a small courtyard, filled with various parts of the dismantled moon.

Vladimir Nabokov (Invitation to a Beheading)

The invitation came from Studio Morra in Naples: Come and perform whatever you want. It was early 1975. With the scandalized reactions of the Belgrade press fresh in my mind, I planned a piece in which the audience would provide the action. I would merely be the object, the receptacle.My plan was to go to the gallery and just stand there, in black trousers and a black T-shirt, behind a table containing seventy-two objects: A hammer. A saw. A feather. A fork. A bottle of perfume. A bowler hat. An ax. A rose. A bell. Scissors. Needles. A pen. Honey. A lamb bone. A carving knife. A mirror. A newspaper. A shawl. Pins. Lipstick. Sugar. A Polaroid camera. Various other things. And a pistol, and one bullet lying next to it.When a big crowd had gathered at eight P.M., they found these instructions on the table:There are 72 objects on the table that one can use on me as desired.I am the object.During this period I take full responsibility.Duration: 6 hours (8pm - 2am)Slowly at first and then quickly, things began to happen. It was very interesting: for the most part, the women in the gallery would tell the men what to do to me, rather than do it themselves (although later on, when someone stuck a pin into me, one woman wiped the tears from my eyes). For the most part, these were just normal members of the Italian art establishment and their wives. Ultimately I think the reason I wasn’t raped was that the wives were there.As evening turned into late night, a certain air of sexuality arose in the room. This came not from me but from the audience. We were in southern Italy, where the Catholic Church was so powerful, and there was this strong Madonna/whore dichotomy in attitudes toward women.After three hours, one man cut my shirt apart with the scissors and took it off. People manipulated me into various poses. If they turned my head down, I kept it down; if they turned it up, I kept it that way. I was a puppet—entirely passive. Bare-breasted, I stood there, and someone put the bowler hat on my head. With the lipstick, someone else wrote IO SONO LIBERO—“I am free”—on the mirror and stuck it in my hand. Someone else took the lipstick and wrote END across my forehead. A guy took Polaroids of me and stuck them in my hand, like playing cards.Things got more intense. A couple of people picked me up and carried me around. They put me on the table, spread my legs, stuck the knife in the table close to my crotch.Someone stuck pins into me. Someone else slowly poured a glass of water over my head. Someone cut my neck with the knife and sucked the blood. I still have the scar.There was one man—a very small man—who just stood very close to me, breathing heavily. This man scared me. Nobody else, nothing else, did. But he did. After a while, he put the bullet in the pistol and put the pistol in my right hand. He moved the pistol toward my neck and touched the trigger. There was a murmur in the crowd, and someone grabbed him. A scuffle broke out.Some of the audience obviously wanted to protect me; others wanted the performance to continue. This being southern Italy, voices were raised; tempers flared. The little man was hustled out of the gallery and the piece continued. In fact, the audience became more and more active, as if in a trance.And then, at two A.M., the gallerist came and told me the six hours were up. I stopped staring and looked directly at the audience. “The performance is over,” the gallerist said. “Thank you.”I looked like hell. I was half naked and bleeding; my hair was wet. And a strange thing happened: at this moment, the people who were still there suddenly became afraid of me. As I walked toward them, they ran out of the gallery.

Marina Abramović

People were wondering why the Desoto Solar Farm community opening had been canceled and replaced by a small group of invite only guests with President Obama.

Steven Magee

The launch of the Desoto Solar Farm was supposed to be an open house with 10,000 people expected. Then we discovered it was dangerous and the plan was quickly changed to a small invited audience with President Obama.

Steven Magee

One of the best ways to do that is to cultivate the morning ritual of ignoring your phone until after you have found the gaze of God in Scripture. Going to Scripture before we go to our smartphones is another small way to pattern the morning in the reality of God’s love. But given the black-hole allure of the smartphone, it is probably one of the most radical habits of the household you can cling to. In turning our gaze to Scripture, we turn our gaze to the face of God, and find him looking back at us. In a house full of children, this will look as messy as everything else does. Ideally, the pattern of Scripture before smartphone means I’m up before them, having a few minutes to read and reflect before they wake. But of course that is not always the reality, and it is important to know that that is fine. Sometimes, that is even better, because one of the ways we teach the habits of the household is by letting children observe our habits and inviting them into them. Some mornings this looks like listening to a psalm while holding a kid who is holding a sippy cup of milk on my lap.8 He is invited into the routine. Occasionally it means reading a Bible story out loud to one of them. Many, many mornings it means they also get a book, or a coloring page, and we have some minutes of quiet before we start breakfast.

Justin Whitmel Earley (Habits of the Household: Practicing the Story of God in Everyday Family Rhythms)

The ability of the murderer to know exactly where Edie was, the phone being used only where it would be most difficult to pinpoint who’d used it, which implied knowledge of police methods, and the extraordinarily detailed knowledge about the two new characters for the film that Yasmin had said Ormond had. Murphy was now asking her about her own holiday plans. Robin pulled herself together enough to describe learning to ski, back at New Year. The conversation was only lightly personal, but it was pleasant and easy. Murphy made Robin laugh with a description of a friend’s accident on a dry ski slope, where he’d taken a date he was keen to impress. At no time did he mention his previous invitation for a drink, nor did he make her feel uncomfortable in this small space, and she was grateful for both these things. They were approaching Blackhorse Road when Robin suddenly said, astounded by her own bravery, ‘Listen – that time you called me about a drink – the reason I was so – I’m not used to people asking me out.’ ‘How’s that possible?’ said Murphy, keeping his eyes on the road. ‘I’ve just got divorced – well, a year ago now – from someone I was with since we were seventeen,’ said Robin. ‘So – anyway, I was in work mode when you called, and that’s why I was a bit – you know – clueless.’ ‘Ah,’ said Murphy. ‘I got divorced three years ago.’ Robin wondered how old he was. She’d have guessed a couple of years older than her. ‘Have you got kids?’ she asked. ‘No. My ex didn’t want them.’ ‘Oh,’ said Robin. ‘You?’ ‘No.’ They’d pulled up outside her flat before either spoke again. As she picked up her bag and put her hand on the door handle, Murphy said, ‘So… if, after I get back from holiday, I called you again and asked you out…?’ It’s only a drink, said Ilsa’s voice in Robin’s head. Nobody’s saying you’ve got to jump into bed with him. An image of Madeline Courson-Miles flickered before Robin’s eyes. ‘Er –’ said Robin, whose heart was hammering. ‘Yes, OK. That’d be great.’ She thought he’d look pleased at that, but instead he seemed tense. ‘OK.’ He rubbed his nose, then said, ‘There’s something I should tell you first, though. It’s what you say, isn’t it, “come out for a drink”? But, ah – I’m an alcoholic.’ ‘Oh,’ said Robin again. ‘Been sober two years, nine months,’ said Murphy. ‘I’ve got no problem with people drinking around me. Just need to put that out there. It’s what you’re supposed to do. AA rules.’ ‘Well, that doesn’t make any – I mean, thanks for saying,’ said Robin. ‘I’d still like to go out some time. And thanks for the lift, I really appreciate it.’ He looked cheerful now. ‘Pleasure. Better get back to my packing.’ ‘Yes – have fun in Spain!’ Robin got out of the car. As the blue Avensis pulled away, Murphy raised a hand in farewell, and Robin reciprocated, still amazed at herself. It had been quite some morning. She’d just unlocked her front door when her mobile rang. ‘Hi,’ said Strike. ‘Is that offer of the sofa-bed still open?’ ‘Yes, of course,’ said Robin, both confused and pleased, entering her flat and pushing the door shut with her foot. ‘How’s Pat?’ ‘Bloody grumpy. I got her home all right. Told her to get an emergency appointment with her doctor. Half the door flew off and hit her in the back. I can tell she’s sore: she could’ve cracked something. She told me to piss off, though not in those exact words. Probably thinks I’m accusing her of being too old to survive a door hitting her.’ ‘Strike,’ said Robin, ‘I’ve just found something out. They’re about to arrest Phillip Ormond for murder.’ Silence followed these words. Robin walked into her kitchen and set her handbag down on the counter. ‘Ormond?’ repeated Strike.

Robert Galbraith (The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike, #6))

By D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review "Historical fiction readers are in for a treat with When I Was Better, a love story set in Hungary and Canada which follows the journey of István and Teréza, who flee the Nazi and Soviet invasions and the Hungarian Revolution to finally make their home in Winnipeg in the 1960s.Maps and a cast of characters portend an attention to details that history buffs will appreciate, but the lively chapter headings that begin with "This is What Dying Feels Like" are the real draw, promising inviting scenarios that compel readers to learn more about the characters' lives and influences.Few other books about immigrant experience hold the descriptive power of When I Was Better: "Her world had transformed into a place of gestures and facial expressions, making her feel more vigilant now than she had ever been under Communism. No one understood her but Zolti. Already she ached for her language and the family she left behind."Rita Bozi's ability to capture not just the history and milieu of the times, but the life and passions of those who live it is a sterling example of what sets an extraordinary read apart from a mundane narration of circumstance and history.Her ability to depict the everyday experiences and insights of her protagonist bonds reader to the subject in an intimate manner that brings not just the era, but the psychology of its participants to life through inner reflection, influence and experience, and even dialogue: “Four lengths of sausage, please?” Teréza watched as the man pulled two small lengths from the hook and wrapped them in course paper. “I beg your pardon, sir, but would you kindly add in two more lengths?”“We got an aristocrat here? If you take four lengths, what d’you imagine the workers are gonna eat at the end of the day?”The account of a seven-year separation, Budapest and Winnipeg cultures and contrasts, and refugee experiences brings history to life through the eyes of its beholders.That which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. This saying applies especially strongly to When I Was Better 's powerful story, highly recommended for historical fiction readers and library collections interested in powerfully compelling writing packed with insights: “Why is it so agonizing to be truthful?” István asked, not expecting an answer.“It depends on what truth you’re about to reveal. And how you expect it to be received. If you’re expecting an execution, you have two choices. Die for what you believe in or lie to save your life.”“So in the end, it all comes down to values.” István reached for the martini, took another sip.Bela smiled. “Without truth, there’s no real connection. The truth hurts, but love eventually heals what hurts.”""With sharp insight and the gifts of a natural, Bozi's novel brilliantly chronicles the plight of an entire generation of Hungarians through the intimate portrait of two lovers tested by the political and personal betrayals that ripped through the heart of the twentieth century.

Rita Bozi

Copper sulfate. Algae often invade swimming pools, turning the water greenish and cloudy. By adding a very small amount of copper sulfate to pool water, we can clarify it and make the pool more inviting. There is another benefit: by using copper sulfate, we reduce the amount of chlorine or bromine needed to disinfect the pool. Copper sulfate at such dilutions is an extremely safe substance, and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada has given it a clean bill of health.

Joe Schwarcz (Dr. Joe & What You Didn't Know: 177 Fascinating Questions & Answers about the Chemistry of Everyday Life)

The six other members of the Traitorous Eight bought shares, and Robert Noyce saw to it that his small alma mater, Grinnell College, was invited to participate.

Sebastian Mallaby (The Power Law: Venture Capital and the Making of the New Future)

Learn All About The Benefits of Conversion Rate Optimization for Websites? A conversion rate tells the percentage of the users who finished the desired action, the desired action can be the completion of any web form, sign up, or purchase of any products, etc. The process in which a website and its content are enhanced to generate conversion is known as Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). This process helps a business to increase the number of high leads, increase income, decrease the purchasing cost, gain valuable customers, and most importantly, provide business growth. conversion-rate-optimization A website can obtain many benefits from the Conversion Rate Optimization Strategies. We have discussed some of these benefits below. 1. Homepage A homepage does not only play the role of making the first impression on the website visitors. But it also is a great opportunity to attract more visitors and take them further into your website. This can easily be done by adding links to your product's information on the homepage, for instance, having a free sign-up option or adding a small chatbox on the homepage to ask questions from the website visitors during their browsing time. These strategies can be considered as Effective Conversion Optimization Strategies that you can use for your website. 2. Landing Pages The landing pages play a great role in obtaining visitors to your website. These pages guide the visitors to purchase products or services from you. For example, a page is describing a product and also has a link to the webpage where you can purchase the product. So, CRO strategies help increase your website conversions and business sales. 3. Blog A blog can be a big opportunity for the conversion of a website. Apart from publishing useful content about your industry, you can also add your product page links in the blogs. This process can invite blog visitors to learn more about your business and products also guide them to make a purchase on your website. With this approach, you can generate leads through your website blogs. Moreover, blogs can play an important role in describing your business. Conclusion The conversion rate optimization strategies are helpful for online businesses. It assists the companies in attracting customers to their websites. CRO is a great way to increase your business lead generation and success. You can get help from the Conversion Rate Optimization Services Providers. They will inform you about different strategies that you can follow to improve your website lead generation.


For many in the audience, the attention-starved maniacs on the small Metro stage were a welcome reprieve from the bar’s regular crowd of sweaty boys eye-fucking each other from across the patio. Blindly stumbling ahead, Merrie had busted open the doors of Brooklyn nightlife and invited the amateurs in.

Nicole Pasulka (How You Get Famous: Ten Years of Drag Madness in Brooklyn)

The services Henry and Sandra were so taken with were not evangelistic events; they were regular services designed for the praise of God and the strengthening of believers. There were Bible readings, songs, prayers, creeds and preaching-all the things that have always been part of church gatherings. Henry and Sandra were eavesdroppers, as it were. And this, I think, is part of the power of services like these. Visitors to church can easily feel threatened if they suspect the whole event is pitched at them. But when they feel the freedom simply to observe what Christians do-praying to the Lord, giving thanks to him, listening to his Word-visitors are often more at ease, less defensive and more open to the things they hear. They are more attentive to our “praises” of him who called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. I still think there is a place for the evangelistic church service and even for the so-called seeker service. I also think it is important to consider making small adjustments to our gatherings to make them more comprehensible to the uninitiated. However, I want to stress in the strongest terms that visitor-focused services are not an evangelistic necessity. Normal church meetings conducted exceptionally well will not only inspire the regulars; they will draw in visitors and, through the powerful vehicle of our corporate praise, promote the gospel to them. The burden is on us-whether we are laypeople or leaders-to do everything we can to enhance what goes on in our services and to invite our friends and family to eavesdrop on what we do.

John Dickson (The Best Kept Secret of Christian Mission: Promoting the Gospel with More Than Our Lips)

To be a mother I must leave the telephone unanswered, work undone, arrangements unmet. To be myself I must let the baby cry, must forestall her hunger or leave her for evenings out, must forget her in order to think about other things. To succeed in being one means to fail at being the other. The break between mother and self was less clean than I had imagined it in the taxi: and yet it was a premonition, too; for later, even in my best moments, I never feel myself to have progressed beyond this division. I merely learn to legislate for two states, and to secure the border between them. At first, though, I am driven to work at the newer of the two skills, which is motherhood; and it is with a shock that I see, like a plummeting stock market, the resulting plunge in my own significance. Consequently I bury myself further in the small successes of nurture. After three or four weeks I reach a distant point, a remote outpost at which my grasp of the baby’s calorific intake, hours of sleep, motor development and patterns of crying is professorial, while the rest of my life resembles a deserted settlement, an abandoned building in which a rotten timber occasionally breaks and comes crashing to the floor, scattering mice. I am invited to a party, and though I decide to go, and bathe and dress at the appointed hour, I end up sitting in the kitchen and crying while elsewhere its frivolous minutes tick by and then elapse. The baby develops colic, and the bauble of motherhood is once more crushed as easily as eggshell. The question of what a woman is if she is not a mother has been superceded for me by that of what a woman is if she is a mother; and of what a mother, in fact, is.

Rachel Cusk (A Life's Work: On Becoming a Mother)


What was Nietzsche's most famous quote? ›

What does not kill me makes me stronger.”

What was Nietzsche's last words? ›

Taken home by his neighbor, Nietzsche lay on a couch for two days without speaking a word and then uttered his “obligatory” last words: “Mutter, ich bin dumm (Mother, I am dumb).” Tarr's film investigates the rest of the life of that horse, but the rest of Nietzsche's life is worth investigating too, which I will try ...

Who was Friedrich Nietzsche in love with? ›

Nietzsche's Love Affair with Turin : NPR. Nietzsche's Love Affair with Turin Frederich Nietzsche, the 19th century German philosopher, was in love with Turin. He raved about the city's gelato, its music and its quiet.

What is a powerful Nietzsche quote? ›

Friedrich Nietzsche > Quotes
  • “Without music, life would be a mistake.” ...
  • “It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages.” ...
  • “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” ...
  • “I'm not upset that you lied to me, I'm upset that from now on I can't believe you.”

What is Nietzsche's main philosophy? ›

His philosophy is mainly referred to as “existentialism”, a famous twentieth century philosophy focusing on man's existential situation. In his works, Nietzsche questioned the basis of good and evil. He believed that heaven was an unreal place or “the world of ideas”.

Why did Nietzsche say God was dead? ›

The meaning of this statement is that since, as Nietzsche says, "the belief in the Christian God has become unbelievable", everything that was "built upon this faith, propped up by it, grown into it", including "the whole [...] European morality", is bound to "collapse".

What is the paradox of Nietzsche? ›

First, Nietzsche propounds the art and discipline of suffering while simultaneously praising happiness. This is the joy paradox. Second, Nietzsche denounces the wholesale abolition of suffering, but he also seeks to eliminate meaningless suffering. This is the suffering abolition paradox.

Why did Nietzsche cry? ›

Yet the horse's owner whipped it again and again, trying to make it walk despite its complete exhaustion. Nietzsche was horrified by what he saw, and quickly approached the scene. After denouncing the coachman's behavior, Nietzsche approached the collapsed horse, embraced it, and began to cry.

Who was Nietzsche best friend? ›

Nietzsche subsequently concentrated on studying philology under Professor Friedrich Wilhelm Ritschl, whom he followed to the University of Leipzig in 1865. There he became close friends with his fellow student Erwin Rohde.

Was Nietzsche in love with his mother? ›

Nietzsche may not have liked Franziska, but he certainly loved her. Probably too much. Nietzsche's father died when he was four, and his young mother never remarried.

Who was the woman that dated Nietzsche and Freud? ›

Lou Andreas-Salomé (1861–1937) bridged those worlds of philosophy, literature and psychology, making contributions to each one. Her novels and criticism challenged readers to rethink gender roles, and she became a pioneering psychoanalyst. She developed close relationships with Nietzsche, Rilke, and Freud.

What did Nietzsche teach us? ›

Nietzsche claimed the exemplary human being must craft his/her own identity through self-realization and do so without relying on anything transcending that life—such as God or a soul.

What is the famous line of Martin Heidegger? ›

If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life - and only then will I be free to become myself. ”

What is the abyss niche quote? ›

Battle not with monsters, lest ye become a monster, and if you gaze into the abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” Nietzsche's quote above has become very much a part of who I am. When you gaze into that abyss, it gazes back, and it tells you what you are made of.

What was Jean Paul Sartre's famous saying? ›

Every existing thing is born without reason, prolongs itself out of weakness, and dies by chance.

What is God dead quotes by Nietzsche? ›

God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers?

What did Nietzsche say about life? ›

The meaning of life comes from our choice not to be dictated to by society or religion. A meaningful life is one that strives for self-expression. There is no afterlife or God but only what we have in the here and now. Comfort is not important; only self-expression must be pursued.

What did Nietzsche say about God? ›

Nietzsche is perhaps most famous for making the striking claim that God is dead. He writes, “God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him!” (GS 125).

Does Nietzsche believe in God? ›

Nietzsche was an atheist for his adult life and so he didn't mean that there was a God who had actually died, but rather that our idea of one had. After the Enlightenment, the idea of a universe that was governed by physical laws and not by divine providence had become mainstream.

Does Nietzsche believe in free will? ›

The 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is known as a critic of Judeo-Christian morality and religions in general. One of the arguments he raised against the truthfulness of these doctrines is that they are based upon the concept of free will, which, in his opinion, does not exist.

What is nihilism vs God? ›

Nihilism states that there is no sustainer, such as God, of lasting purpose, meaning, or hope for human life, even if humans create their own transitory purpose, meaning, or hope.

Is Nietzsche a nihilist? ›

Summary. Nietzsche is a self-professed nihilist, although, if we are to believe him, it took him until 1887 to admit it (he makes the admission in a Nachlass note from that year). No philosopher's nihilism is more radical than Nietzsche's and only Kierkegaard's and Sartre's are as radical.

How does Nietzsche disprove God? ›

Friedrich Nietzsche had many notable concepts attributed to him. One of the most infamous was that, “God is dead, and we have killed him.” Nietzsche concluded that with science we disproved the existence of God and eliminated the very possibility of God's existence.

What was Nietzsche's insanity? ›

At 44 he had a mental breakdown ending in a dementia with total physical dependence due to stroke. From the very beginning, Nietzsche's dementia was attributed to a neurosyphilitic infection.

What does Nietzsche reject? ›

He rejects morality because it is disvaluable – that is to say, a bad thing. He thinks it is bad because he thinks it prevents those capable of living the highest kind of life from doing so. All of this raises a number of important ques(ons for understanding and assessing Nietzsche's cri(que.

Why is Nietzsche so misunderstood? ›

This is because his thinking is complex, and difficult to understand, and many of his ideas have been misinterpreted or taken out of context. Many people think that he was a nihilist and ignore his philosophy of the “Will To Power” and Life affirmation (Amor Fati).

What did Nietzsche say in Birth of Tragedy? ›

Nietzsche argues that Greek tragedy arose out of the fusion of what he termed Apollonian and Dionysian elements—the former representing measure, restraint, and harmony and the latter unbridled passion—and that Socratic rationalism and optimism spelled the death of Greek tragedy.

What did Nietzsche think of emotions? ›

He views emotions as central to how individuals understand and situate themselves in the world. He assigns a vital role to emotions in his account of the formation of the self through the interpretation of bodily sensations, a view that sees emotions as both a tool and effect of social forces.

What did Nietzsche do to the horse? ›

In 1889, Friedrich Nietzsche apparently witnessed the beating of a horse on the streets of Turin. He threw his arms around the horse's neck, sobbing, and then lost consciousness. He then had a mental breakdown from which he never recovered, and never wrote again. That's the story, anyway.

Did Nietzsche believe in love? ›

Friedrich Nietzsche might have been disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that we're still obsessed with locks to symbolize love. Love, he thought, can be “the most angelic instinct” and “the greatest stimulus of life.” But too frequently, love manifests as a greedy and decadent desire for possession.

Did Nietzsche love life? ›

One on hand Nietzsche seems hopelessly unqualified to offer relationship advice to anyone. By any account he had a singularly disastrous love life. Several of his marriage proposals were turned down and he ended his days lonely and insane.

Did Nietzsche believe in happiness? ›

Friedrich Nietzsche. Nietzsche saw the mere pursuit of happiness, defined here as that which gives pleasure, as a dull waste of human life. Declaring: “Mankind does not strive for happiness; only the Englishman does”, referencing the English philosophy of Utilitarianism, and its focus on total happiness.

What did Nietzsche think of marriage? ›

For Nietzsche, a marriage based only on romantic love is on shaky ground because it is fleeting: “Sensuality often makes love grow too quickly, so that the root remains weak and is easy to pull out” (1886/1990, p. 98). It is much better if there is no sexual attraction to confuse the friendship.

Why didn t Nietzsche marry? ›

For Nietzsche's professed feelings about marriage would indeed be conflicted; he saw the institution as beneficial for the raising of children, and thus to society as a whole, but also as a potential burden on a man's personal progress and fulfillment.

Did Freud know Nietzsche? ›

Freud repeatedly stated that he had never read Nietzsche. Evidence contradicting this are his references to Nietzsche and his quotations and paraphrases of him, in casual conversation and his now published personal correspondence, as well as in his early and later writings.

Did Nietzsche fall in love? ›

Rée and Nietzsche, and later life

Rée accepted the idea, and suggested that they be joined by his friend Friedrich Nietzsche. The two met Nietzsche in Rome in April 1882, and Nietzsche is believed to have instantly fallen in love with Salomé, as Rée had earlier done.

Did Freud marry his wife? ›

Freud wore this ring for 53 years, engraved with his wife Martha's name and the date of their marriage, 13th September 1886. Martha Bernays was a 20-year-old friend of Freud's sisters when he first met her at his home in April 1882.

Who came first Freud or Nietzsche? ›

Abstract. Background: The striking analogies between the ideas of Freud and Friedrich Nietzsche, whose works were published from one to three decades before those of Freud, have been commented upon, but no previous systematic correlation of the ideas of Nietzsche and Freud has been made.

What are the 4 recommendations of Nietzsche? ›

Nietzsche is not primarily a philosopher but also a poet. A poet with the task to preach a new philosophy in accordance with reality and science. Notably, his thoughts can be centred around 4 main recommendations: Own up to envy; don't be a Christian; never drink alcohol; and God is dead.

What does Nietzsche say about failure? ›

Nietzsche's basic premise: Failure is an option. It is the necessary correlate of living the kind of life worth living, of having the kind of goal worth having. For those raised in the religion of success, accepting this possible outcome can be difficult. Success appears as a matter of life and death.

What did Nietzsche say about failure? ›

Nietzsche once famously wrote, in one of his notebooks and published in The Will to Power, that failure and pain are richly to be embraced, and even desired – “To those human beings who are of any concern to me I wish suffering, desolation, sickness, ill-treatment, indignities – I wish that they should not remain ...

What does Heidegger mean by nothing? ›

Heidegger on 'nothing'

As Heidegger playfully puts it: "For human existence, the nothing makes possible the manifestness of beings." For philosopher Martin Heidegger, 'nothing' was a key part of what it means to be human. ( Shutterstock / German Vizulis)

What is the famous line of Immanuel Kant? ›

All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to the understanding, and ends with reason. There is nothing higher than reason.

What was Heidegger trying to say? ›

Heidegger tries to prevent people from reverting on his death to its original meaning (in the world), which is associated with fear and anxiety. According to Heidegger, looking to death as a suddenly occurring reality tricks the existence because it frees man from the fear of existence.

What is an important quote from Sea of Monsters? ›

“Families are messy. Immortal families are eternally messy. Sometimes the best we can do is to remind each other that we're related for better or for worse...and try to keep the maiming and killing to a minimum.”

What is the ocean floor quote? ›

Sometimes, the ocean floor is only a stop on the journey. And it is when you are at this lowest point, that you are faced with a choice. You can stay there at the bottom, until you drown.

What is abyss metaphor? ›

The noun abyss refers to a deep void or chasm — either literal or figurative. Making a momentous life decision with great uncertainty, like enrolling in clown college, might feel like jumping into the abyss. Traditionally, the abyss referred to the "bottomless pit" of Hell.

What Nietzsche said about life? ›

The meaning of life comes from our choice not to be dictated to by society or religion. A meaningful life is one that strives for self-expression. There is no afterlife or God but only what we have in the here and now. Comfort is not important; only self-expression must be pursued.

What is Nietzsche's view on happiness? ›

Nietzsche argued that happiness is not found by default, but is achieved as the result of hard work. One has an unsatisfied desire, works to satisfy the desire and experiences pleasant feelings of desire-satisfaction as byproduct when the goal is reached.

Did Nietzsche believe in free will? ›

The 19th-century philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche is known as a critic of Judeo-Christian morality and religions in general. One of the arguments he raised against the truthfulness of these doctrines is that they are based upon the concept of free will, which, in his opinion, does not exist.

What does Nietzsche say about love? ›

Friedrich Nietzsche might have been disappointed, but not surprised, to learn that we're still obsessed with locks to symbolize love. Love, he thought, can be “the most angelic instinct” and “the greatest stimulus of life.” But too frequently, love manifests as a greedy and decadent desire for possession.

What did Nietzsche say on his deathbed? ›

For instance, Nietzsche writes in book III of Thus Spoke Zarathustra of how the animals deduced the recurrence of Zarathustra himself when they claim to know, before his death, the speech he would give on his deathbed: 'Now I die and vanish,' you would say, 'and in an instant I am a nothing.

What is Nietzsche's opinion on Christianity? ›

Nietzsche's case against Christianity was that it kept people down; that it smothered them with morality and self-loathing. His ideal human is one who is free to express himself (yes, he's sexist), like a great artist or a Viking warrior. Morality is for the little people.

What are moral values Nietzsche? ›

Nietzsche argues that there are two fundamental types of morality: "master morality" and "slave morality". Master morality values pride, wealth, fame and power, while slave morality values kindness, empathy, and sympathy.

What did Nietzsche believe will to power? ›

In his own theory, Nietzsche advanced a notion of the will to power, rather than the will to live that Schopenhauer used. What is the will to power? In brief, the will to power is the continual effort to overcome, which means overcoming obstacles that get in one's way and overcoming oneself.

What did Nietzsche mean by will? ›

Usage of the term by Nietzsche can be summarized as self-determination, the concept of actualizing one's will onto one's self or one's surroundings, and coincides heavily with egoism. Alfred Adler incorporated the will to power into his individual psychology.

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