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Words

A selection of quotes I have collected along my literary and lyrical travels…

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I had given him a life not worth living, but I had also given him an iron will to live. This was a common combination on the planet Earth.

— Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast of Champions

The Fourteenth Book is entitled, “What Can a Thoughtful Man Hope for Mankind on Earth, Given the Experience of the Past Million Years?” It doesn’t take long to read The Fourteenth Book. It consists of one word and a period.
This is it:
“Nothing.”

— Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

All i’ve ever learned from love was how to shoot somebody who outdrew you

— Leonard Cohen, Hallelujah

But maybe boredom is erotic, when women do it, for men.

— Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

Those eyes, those endless mud brown pools of sticky, bottomless love.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

What is this My Life business, anyway? We all have obligations, no one is born on their own, are they?

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

Papas singing always unleashed these emotions which were unfamiliar and instinctive at the same time, in a language I could not recognise but felt I could speak in my sleep, in my dreams, evocative of a country I had never visited but which sounded like the only home I had ever known. The songs made me realise that there was a corner of me that would be forever not England.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

They were so different to the clothes my mother wore, none of these English drawing room colours she was all open-heart crises and burnt vivid oranges, colours that made your pupils dilate and were deep enough to enter your belly and sit there like the aftertaste of a good meal. No flowers, none that I could name, but dancing elephants strutting peacocks and long-necked birds who looked as if they were kissing their own backs, shades and cloth which spoke of bare feet on dust, roadside smokey dhabas, honking taxi horns and heavy sudden rain beating a bhangra on deep green leaves. But when I looked at Mrs Christmas’ frocks, I thought of tea by an open fire with an autumn wind howling outside, horses’ hooves, hats and gloves, toast, wartime brides with cupid bow mouths laughing and waving their hankies to departing soldiers, like I’d seen on that telly programme, All Our Yesterdays.

— Meera Sayal, Anita & Me

Perhaps we don’t fully recover from our first loves. Perhaps, in the extravagance of youth, we give away our devotions easily and all but arbitrarily, on the mistaken assumption that we’ll always have more to give.

— Michael Cunningham, A Home at the End of the World

Yet often the mountain gives itself most completely when I have no destination, when I reach nowhere in particular, but have gone out merely to be with the mountain as one visits a friend with no intention but to be with him.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977
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