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Words

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

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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

The thing to be known grows with the knowing.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

Half closing the eyes can also change the values of what I look upon… Such illusions, depending on how the eye is placed and used, drive home the truth that our habitual vision of things is not necessarily right: it is only one of an infinite number, and to glimpse an unfamiliar one, even for a moment, unmakes us, but steadies us again. It’s queer but invigorating. It will take a long time to get to the end of a world that behaves like this is I do no more than turn round on my side or my back.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

Here then may be lived a life of the sense so pure, so untouched by any mode of apprehension but their own, that the body may be said to think.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

I have heard of a strange delusion that the sun does not shine up here. It does; and because of the clarity of the air its light has power: it has more power, I suppose, in light than in heat.

— Nan Shepherd, The Living Mountain, 1977

Her beauty was of the rare kind, that made you want to look more like yourself and not like her…

— Noam Baumbach, Mistress America (Film)

I closed my notebook and sat in the cafe thinking about real time. Is it time uninterrupted? Only the present comprehended? Are our thoughts nothing but passing trains, no stops, devoid of dimension, whizzing by massive posters with repeating images? Catching a fragment from a window seat, yet another fragment from the next identical frame? If I write in the present yet digress is that real time? Real time, I reasoned, cannot be divided into sections like numbers on the face of a clock. If I write about the past as I simultaneously dwell in the present, am I still in real time? Perhaps there is no past or future, only the perpetual present that contains this trinity of memory.

— Patti Smith, M Train

In a wink, a lifetime, we pass through the infinite movements of a silent overture.

— Patti Smith, M Train
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