John Steinbeck in 1958, discussing matters of love in a letter to his son:
There are several kinds of love. One is a selfish, mean, grasping, egotistical thing which uses love for self-importance. This is the ugly and crippling kind. The other is an outpouring of everything good in you—of kindness and consideration and respect—not only the social respect of manners but the greater respect which is recognition of another person as unique and valuable. The first kind can make you sick and small and weak but the second can release in you strength, and courage and goodness and even wisdom you didn’t know you had.
Ann Patchett in 2011, describing a conversation she once had at an artists’ colony:
Standing waist deep in the swimming pool at Yaddo, I received a gift—it was the first decent piece of instruction about marriage I had ever been given in my twenty-five years of life. “Does your husband make you a better person?” Edra asked.
There I was in that sky-blue pool beneath a bright blue sky, my fingers breaking apart the light on the water, and I had no idea what she was talking about.
“Are you smarter, kinder, more generous, more compassionate, a better writer?” she said, running down her list. “Does he make you better?”
“That’s not the question,” I said. “It’s so much more complicated than that.”
“It’s not more complicated than that,” she said. “That’s all there is: Does he make you better and do you make him better?”
- Extended-release Nesquik
- Attention-deficit Cheerios
- Factory-refurbished corn dogs
- Activia-induced psychosis
- Chicken tetra-Z-Pak
- 256-bit tryptophan
- Zicam communion wafers
- Approval-seeking missiles
Color, while being the most visible thing we can know about a tree, is also created by that part of light that the tree has cast off. The tree absorbs all the other light waves of color, welcomes them as part of itself; the green we see is the negative, the reflected-off reality it wants no part of. Where its definition of itself ends, our definition of it is just beginning.
I don’t think Alien belongs on Earth popping out of a haystack, which is where I was afraid it was going to go. I feel it should take place in the far reaches of the universe where no one in their right mind would go.
We were having dinner with H_____’s friend N_____ at one of the ramen joints on Sawtelle.
My mind, preoccupied with carbohydrates and sodium, had drifted out of the conversation. As I tuned back in, N_____ was looking forward to summering on Mount Blank.
I tried to catch up: “What’s Mount Blank?”
N_____, a bit deliberately: “It’s a summit in the French-Italian Alps.”
“Oh, you mean Mont Blanc!” I brightened, finally getting it.
“Right, I guess I do mean Mont Blanc.”
H_____ observed that we both sounded like assholes.