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Only Forward

Michael Marshall Smith

Top 10 Best Quotes

“How many times have you tried to talk to someone about something that matters to you, tried to get them to see it the way you do? And how many of those times have ended with you feeling bitter, resenting them for making you feel like your pain doesn't have any substance after all? Like when you've split up with someone, and you try to communicate the way you feel, because you need to say the words, need to feel that somebody understands just how pissed off and frightened you feel. The problem is, they never do. "Plenty more fish in the sea," they'll say, or "You're better off without them," or "Do you want some of these potato chips?" They never really understand, because they haven't been there, every day, every hour. They don't know the way things have been, the way that it's made you, the way it has structured your world. They'll never realise that someone who makes you feel bad may be the person you need most in the world. They don't understand the history, the background, don't know the pillars of memory that hold you up. Ultimately, they don't know you well enough, and they never can. Everyone's alone in their world, because everybody's life is different. You can send people letters, and show them photos, but they can never come to visit where you live. Unless you love them. And then they can burn it down.”

“When you're born a light is switched on, a light which shines up through your life. As you get older the light still reaches you, sparkling as it comes up through your memories. And if you're lucky as you travel forward through time, you'll bring the whole of yourself along with you, gathering your skirts and leaving nothing behind, nothing to obscure the light. But if a Bad Thing happens part of you is seared into place, and trapped for ever at that time. The rest of you moves onward, dealing with all the todays and tomorrows, but something, some part of you, is left behind. That part blocks the light, colours the rest of your life, but worse than that, it's alive. Trapped for ever at that moment, and alone in the dark, that part of you is still alive.”

“You haven't seen untidiness until you've seen a room where gravity has failed twice in different directions.”

“You love because you want to need someone the way you did when you were a child, and have them need you too. You eat well because the intensity of taste reminds you of a need satisfied, a pain relieved. The finest paintings are nothing more than the red head of a flower, nodding in the breeze, when you were two years old; the most exciting film is just the way everything was, back in the days when you stared goggle-eyed at the whirling chaos all around you. All these things do is get the adult to shut up for a while, to open for just a moment a tiny sliding window in the cell deep inside, letting the pallid child peep hungrily out and drink the world in before darkness falls again.”

“Everything you've done, everything you've seen, everything you've become, remains. You never can go back, only forward, and if you don't bring the whole of yourself with you, you'll never see the sun again,”

“You know when you've got nothing in particular to do, nothing to stay awake for? When your life is just routine and it doesn't feel like it belongs to you, how you feel tired and listless and everything seems like too much effort? Well, it's like that, but it's much worse, because everything is much worse these days. Everything that's bad is worse, believe me. There are whole Neighborhoods out there where no one has anything to do all their lives. They're born, and from the moment they hit the table, there's nothing to do. They clamber to their feet occasionally, realize there's nothing to do and sit down again. They grow up, and there's nothing to do; they grow up, and there's still nothing. They spend their whole lives indoors, in armchairs, in bed, wondering who they are.”

“When you’re a child the world forbears you, allows you your flights of imagination, your feelings of specialness. But sooner or later the privileges are withdrawn, and all you’re left with is a stunned bitterness at the realisation that you’re just the same as everybody else.”

“All non-smokers seem to live in the belief that smokers have wandered naively through life, bereft of the knowledge that their habit is extremely bad for them.”

“Everyone’s alone in their world, because everybody’s life is different. You can send people letters, and show them photos, but they can never come to visit where you live. Unless you love them. And then they can burn it down.”

“What you have to understand is that sometimes things are the way they seem. By that I don't mean that they aren't the way they might be thought to be, beneath what you see, necessarily, what I mean is that. . . Christ: I"ll start this again. Sometimes, things are not the way they seem. You look at something and it seems straightforward, and you think you understand it, and it's only later you realize that the truth is different. Okay: no prizes for observation so far. Sometimes, on the other hand, you look at something and you know already it's not the way it seems. You know because you understand what you"re seeing, you"re aware of the context and you realize that appearances are being deceptive. But sometimes, and this is the important sometimes, that's wrong. Sometimes, when you think you"re being deceived, you"re not. Sometimes things are the way they look, however surprising that may be. And sometimes that can make all the difference in the world. Let me put it another way. Why does a journey always seem quicker coming back?”

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Book Keywords:

childhood, reality, the-future, adulthood, love, that-s-so-true, life, child, growing-up, the-past, art, trauma, only-forward

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