Those of us who know the transporting wonder of a reading life know that it little matters where we are when we talk about books or meet authors or bemoan the state of publishing because when we read, we are always inside, sheltered in that interior room, that clean, well-lighted, timeless place that is the written word.
There was another tear streaming down his windblown cheek and as he replied she lifted the handkerchief in her hand and wiped it away, feeling the not unpleasant pull of his beard against the thin cotton.
He pulled the door closed and the wind became just the slightest rush of air against the rolled-up windows. There was suddenly a pleasant warmth. Their voices, suddenly, seemed rich and sure now that they could speak quietly, now that their words were no longer scattered by the buffeting wind.
My children have gone to Catholic school... Part of their whole education is talking about the inner life and looking at your life, even though you're only 15 or 16 - thinking about your mortality, thinking about the value of your life, thinking about your obligations.
He was not tall, but the fingers that held his hat against his overcoat were exceptionally long and thin. She saw how they moved one at a time against the dark brown felt, pressing themselves against the fabric almost imperceptibly, like a pulse under the skin. The way a child's fingers might move in sleep.
I've got to hear the rhythm of the sentences; I want the music of the prose. I want to see ordinary things transformed not by the circumstances in which I see them but by the language with which they're described. That's what I love when I read.
The paper detritus that she had somewhere read, or had heard it said, trails armies, or was it (she had seen a photograph) the scraps of letters and wrappers and snapshots that blow across battlefields after all but the dead have fled?
Much of my experience with language was formed in the church, which has an oral tradition. There are lots of repetitions in prayers and song refrains. There's a sense of incantation, that if you call not once and not twice but for a third time, the spirit appears.
Michael had slipped beyond the crest of the dune. Jacob was lying flat out now, on his stomach, his little men all before him, and Annie had followed her single soldier up the dune to a grassy patch where the wind whipped her dark hair and the blowing sand made her squint, even.
And a single green soldier was plucked from the shoe box of reservists and replacements and tossed her way, through the air. She picked him up from the sand. The mold had shaped his features precisely, a strong jaw and a sharp nose, the little combat helmet and a sash of ammunition across his chest. Unlike.
It was already there, he said. Someone left it behind. They didn't want it. The super said they couldn't even rent the apartment for a few weeks because it takes up the whole bedroom and nobody wanted to pay to take it out. Can you believe it? A Steinway. Lucky that you play, she said.
Read everything. Write all the time. And if you can do anything else that gives you equal pleasure and allows you to sleep soundly at night, do that instead. The writing life is an odd one, to say the least.
In the arc of an unremarkable life, a life whose triumphs are small and personal, whose trials are ordinary enough, as tempered in their pain as in their resolution of pain, the claim of exclusivity in love requires both a certain kind of courage and a good dose of delusion.
In church she had prayed for contentment. She was thirty, with no husband in sight. A good job, an aging father, a bachelor brother, a few nice friends. At least, she had asked—so humbly, so earnestly, so seriously—let me be content.
I think it's handy for a dramatist of any sort, if I can call myself that, to make use of weddings and wakes, to make use of those moments and those rituals that cause us to pause and look back or look forward and understand that life has changed.
With her silence alone she held off, for a moment longer, the suggestion that the worst was over, the tree had fallen, the storm was passing, and time, as she was given to saying, was marching on: school tomorrow, work for their father, laundry, shopping, meals. For just a moment more, she let them linger.