Monday, October 20, 2014

"What if - is more complicated than that? What if maybe opposite is true as well? Because, if bad can sometimes come from good actions -? where does it ever say, anywhere, that only bad can come from bad actions? Maybe sometimes - the wrong way is the right way? You can take the wrong path and it still comes out where you want to be? Or, spin it another way, sometimes you can do everything wrong and it still turns out to be right?"

. . .

"I only understand it, as I get older. How funny time is. How many tricks and surprises."

. . .

"That maybe even if we're not always glad to be here, it's our task to immerse ourselves anyway: wade straight through it, ride through the cesspool, while keeping eyes and hearts open."

- Donna Tart, The Goldfinch
".... Thinking if only we hadn't stopped, if only we hadn't taken this route, if only they hadn't let us use the pool. Probably no one would ever have known about the comb.

There's something trashy about this kind of imagining, isn't there? Something shameful. Laying your finger on the wire to get the safe shock, feeling a bit of what it's like, then pulling back.

. . . .

"We'll see them on the way back."

Andrew's saying "on the way back" was a surprising pleasure to me. Of course, I had believed that we would be coming back, with our car and our lives and our family intact, having covered all that distance, having dealt somehow with those loyalties and problems, held ourselves up for inspection in such a fool-hardy way. But it was a relief to hear him say it.

"What I can't get over," said Andrew, "is how you got the signal. It's got to be some kind of extra sense that mothers have."

Partly I wanted to believe that, to bask in my extra sense. Partly I wanted to warn him - to warn everybody - never to count on it.

"What I can't understand," I said, "is how you got over the fence."

"Neither can I."

So we went on, with the two in the backseat trusting us, because of no choice, and we ourselves trusting to be forgiven, in time, for everything that had first to be seen and condemned by those children" whatever was flippant, careless, callous - all our natural, and particular, mistake."

- Alice Munro, Miles City, Montana from The Progress of Love

"I thought that if Andrew could see me there in the rain, red-handed, muddy, trying to hold on to turkey legs and row the boat at the same time, he would only want to get me out of there and make me forget about it. This raw life angered him. My attachment to it angered him. I thought I shouldn't have married him. But who else? One of the turkey crew?'

And I didn't want to stay there. I might feel bad about leaving, but I would feel worse if somebody made me stay."

- Alice Munro, Miles City, Montana from The Progress of Love

"Denise hears her father say,"Weltschmerz." He says it as if in quotation marks. He must be quoting from some item they all know about, from a magazine they all read.

I should be like Peter, she thinks. I should stop coming here.

But perhaps it's all right, and this is happiness, which she is too stubborn, too childish, to glumly political - too mired in a past that everyone else has abandoned - to accept?"

- Alice Munro, White Dump from The Progress of Love