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Asymmetry

Lisa Halliday

Top 10 Best Quotes

“But then even someone who imagines for a living is forever bound by the ultimate constraint: she can hold her mirror up to whatever subject she chooses, at whatever angle she likes—she can even hold it such that she herself remains outside its frame, the better to de-narcissize the view—but there’s no getting around the fact that she’s always the one holding the mirror. And just because you can’t see yourself in a reflection doesn’t mean no one can.”

“I once heard a filmmaker say that in order to be truly creative a person must be in possession of four things: irony, melancholy, a sense of competition, and boredom.”

“Some of us wage wars. Others write books. The most delusional ones write books. We have very little choice other than to spend our waking hours trying to sort out and make sense of the perennial pandemonium. To forge patterns and proportions where they don’t actually exist. And it is this same urge, this mania to tame and possess—this necessary folly—that sparks and sustains love.”

“We ride too high on deceptive notions of power and security and control and then when it all comes crashing down on us the low is made deeper by the high. By its precipitousness, but also by the humiliation you feel for having failed to see the plummet coming. . . . Lulled by years of relative peace and prosperity we settle into micromanaging our lives with our fancy technologies and custom interest rates and eleven different kinds of milk, and this leads to a certain inwardness, an unchecked narrowing of perspective, the vague expectation that even if we don't earn them and nurture them the truly essential amenities will endure forever as they are. We trust that someone else is looking after the civil liberties shop, so we don't have to. Our military might is unmatched and in any case the madness is at least an ocean away. And then all of a sudden we look up from ordering paper towels online to find ourselves delivered right into the madness. And we wonder: How did this happen? What was I doing when this was in the works? Is it too late to think about it now? . . .”

“You observe what people do with their freedom—what they don’t do—and it’s impossible not to judge them for it. You come to see a mostly peaceful and democratic society as being in a state of incredibly delicate suspension, suspension that requires equilibrium down to the smallest molecule, such that even the tiniest jolt, just one person neglecting its fragility with her complacency or self-absorption, could cause the whole fucking thing to collapse.”

“for a country is considered the more civilized the more the wisdom and efficiency of its laws hinder a weak man from becoming too weak or a powerful one too powerful.”

“The word for bank is the same, but the word for money changer is not, and while I have never learned the etymology behind this minor asymmetry I can imagine it represents centuries of cultural and ideological dissidence.”

“the music made her more desperate than ever to do, invent, create—to channel all her own energies into the making of something beautiful and unique to herself—but it also made her want to love. To submit to the loving of someone so deeply and well that there could be no question as to whether she were squandering her life, for what could be nobler than dedicating it to the happiness and fulfillment of another?”

“think it was Saul Bellow who said that death is the dark backing a mirror needs if we are to see anything; what, then, does one make of so much darkness already showing through?”

“This is because my mind is always turning over this question of how I’m going to feel later, based on what I’m doing now. Later in the day. Later in the week. Later in a life starting to look like a series of activities designed to make me feel good later, but not now. Knowing I’ll feel good later makes me feel good enough now.”

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Book Keywords:

language, writing-process, language-barrier, languages-and-culture, life, creative-mind

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