I was not happy as a child, although from time to time I was content. I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.
–Neil Gaiman, from The Ocean at the End of the Lane
I was conceived during one of those drunken nights, half of me formed by my father’s whiskey sperm, the other half formed by my mother’s vodka egg. I was born a goofy reservation mixed drink, and my father needed me just as much as he needed every other kind of drink…’You know,’ I said to my father after the song was over, ‘my generation of Indian boys ain’t ever had no real war to fight. The first Indians had Custer to fight. My great-grandfather had World War I, my grandfather had World War II, you had Vietnam. All I have is video games.’
–Sherman Alexie, from The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven
Eternity is in love with the productions of time.
I had gone to the capital to march against the war. Cornered in an alley by men with baseball bats, someone pulled me into the basement of an abandoned building. My eyes were burning from the tear gas, and he tended me. Then he showed me a box of explosives, and said, I’m a soldier against the war. The next day I stood in front of a line of soldiers, to protect them from the rocks and bricks of protesters. That night I wandered into a deserted street, and was stopped by the police. An officer asked me for a cigarette. He said, this is like Hungary; I came to this country after the revolt and it’s all the same. Tomorrow, he said, I may have to kill you. But tonight, you see, we are friends.
–Gary Young, from Braver Deeds
Every one of us is shadowed by an illusory person: a false self. I wind my experiences around myself and cover myself with glory like bandages in order to make myself perceptible to myself and the world, as if I were an invisible body that could only become visible when something visible covered its surface. But there is no substance under the things with which I am clothed, I am hollow, and my structure of pleasures and ambitions has no foundation. I am objectified in them. But they are all destined by their contingency to be destroyed. And when they are gone there will be nothing left but my own nakedness and emptiness and hollowness, to tell me I am my own mistake.
–Thomas Merton, from Seeds of Contemplation