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Toate lucrurile au pe dedesubt o urzeală

Nu era dintre cei care-și râdeau de semne și minuni. Nu era nici dintre cei care nu porneau la drum decât după împlinirea unui complicat ritual care cuprindea vreo față bisericească, o căldărușă cu apă și nesfârșite cântări psalmodiate tărăgănat. Se mulțumea numai să privească cu încredere în el și să ia aminte la cele câteva încredințări cu care venise pe lume. Una dintre ele era aceea că toate lucrurile au pe dedesubt o urzeală și că – dacă vrei să-ți conduci viata pe loc trainic – atunci trebuie să iei aminte cam pe unde ar fi urzeala și să împletești tot pe ea, și nu pe alături. Orice clădise vreodată fără a lua seama pe unde se află țesută urzeala, se năruise și se destrămase ca și cum ar fi fost înălțat pe nisip.

Simona Antonescu, Hanul lui Manuc (2017), editura Polirom, 1999

Recursul la convențional

În curând, din nefericire, unul dintre ei trei va recurge la convențional, va spune ceea ce trebuie spus, va comite inepția legitimă, va pleca sau se va întoarce sau se va înșela sau va plânge ori se va omorî sau se va sacrifica sau se va suporta sau se va îndrăgosti de altcineva sau va primi o bursă Guggenheim, oricare dintre pliurile marii rutine, și nu vom mai fi ce am fost, vom reintra in marea masă a celor care gândesc corect și acționează corect. Mai bine să ne specializăm, frate, în jocuri mai demne de plăcerea unui artist, […]

Julio Cortázar, 62: Model de asamblare (1968), ed. Art, 2016

Even the stupidest animals know how to die

Take the moment seriously. What is serious in this life? Is dying serious? Even newborn babies can do it. Even the stupidest animals know how to die. Don’t be afraid, Dad, death isn’t a serious matter, it’s nothing, the lagoon is like the very softest of laps, and the mud is a warm cradle enfolding you as night falls, a mattress of foaming chocolate on which you will rest, on which we will rest.

Rafael Chirbes, On the Edge (2013), New Directions, 2016, p. 210

To guess nothing of blindness

To shut your eyes is to guess nothing of blindness. Beneath your world of skies and faces and buildings exists a rawer and older world, a place where surface planes disintegrate and sounds ribbon in shoals through the air.

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Scribner, 2014, p. 333

Not in years

He says, “You are very brave.” She lowers the bucket. “What is your name?” He tells her. She says, “When I lost my sight, Werner, people said I was brave. When my father left, people said I was brave. But it is not bravery; I have no choice. I wake up and live my life. Don’t you do the same?” He says, “Not in years.”

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Scribner, 2014, p. 394

All the old stones

“You know how diamonds—how all crystals—grow, Laurette? By adding microscopic layers, a few thousand atoms every month, each atop the next. Millennia after millennia. That’s how stories accumulate too. All the old stones accumulate stories.

Anthony Doerr, All the Light We Cannot See (2014), Scribner, 2014, p. 43


Taking pictures ruins memories

Mau used to believe that taking pictures ruined memories. The trick was to be in the Eiffel Tower and not take a photo of it. Who cared about trite, touristy photos? The act of taking a photograph interfered with memory, because instead of living in the moment you were thinking about preserving it for posterity. It sacrificed the present for the sake of a future evocation. But now he felt capable of something altogether different. He didn’t capture a moment with his camera; he captured an object. He created a new image that others could see, understand, and admire.

Lorea Canales, Becoming Marta (2011), AmazonCrossing, 2016, p. 187


What survives the passing of time

[…] what most successfully survives the passing of time is a lie. You can embrace a lie and hold on to it without it ever deteriorating. Truth, on the other hand, is unstable, it rots, dilutes, slips away, escapes. The lie is like water, colorless, odorless, tasteless, and yet even though we can’t taste it on our palate, it nonetheless refreshes us.

Rafael Chirbes, On the Edge (2013), New Directions, 2016, p. 132

No small thing

If money serves any purpose at all, it at least buys innocence for your descendants. Which is no small thing. It removes you from the animal kingdom and places you in the moral kingdom.

Rafael Chirbes, On the Edge (2013), New Directions, 2016, p. 59

No fluidity

I won’t make it, I won’t be able to do it, I’m playing the wrong roles, I’m overreaching, I’m faking, I have no idea even of how to do the first line. And meanwhile he tried to occupy the hours doing a hundred seemingly necessary things to prepare: I have to look at this speech again, I have to rest, I have to exercise, I have to look at that speech again, and by the time he got to the theater he was exhausted. And dreading going out there. He would hear the cue coming closer and closer and know that he couldn’t do it. He waited for the freedom to begin and the moment to become real, he waited to forget who he was and to become the person doing it, but instead he was standing there, completely empty, doing the kind of acting you do when you don’t know what you are doing. He could not give and he could not withhold; he had no fluidity and he had no reserve. Acting became a night-after-night exercise in trying to get away with something.

Philip Roth, The Humbling (2009), p. 3

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