I am like a room where things once happened and now nothing does, except.

A reader can never tell if it's a real thimble or an imaginary thimble, because by the time you're reading it, they're the same. It's a thimble. It's in the book.

The freezing rain sifts down, handfuls of shining rice thrown by some unseen celebrant. Wherever it hits, it crystallizes into a granulated coating of ice.

She'd given up the idea of dying young, however. By this time it seemed overly romantic.

Rome versus the Visigoths, Ancient Egypt versus the Hyksos, Aztecs versus the Spaniards.

Unlike some other religions, we have never felt it served a higher purpose to lie to children about geology.

It's this message, which may never arrive, that keeps me alive. I believe in the message.

I intend to get out of here. It can't last forever. Others have thought such things, in bad times before this, and they were always right, they did get out one way or another, and it didn't last forever. Although for them it may have lasted all the forever they had.

What's the difference between vision and a vision? The former relates to something it's assumed you've seen, the latter to something it's assumed you haven't. Language is not always dependable either.

Pen Is Envy, Aunt Lydia would say, quoting another Center motto, warning us away from such objects. And they were right, it is envy. Just holding it is envy. I envy the Commander his pen. It's one more thing I would like to steal.

That kind of love comes and goes and is hard to remember afterwards, like pain.

I'll have to bring another one, she said. Such a waste. What was you doing on the floor like that? She.

By telling you anything at all I'm at least believing in you, believe you're there, I believe you into being. Because I'm telling you this story I will your existence. I tell, therefore you are. So I will go on. So I will myself to go on.

Nobody's heart is perfect.

The sun goes and the egg fades.

Canada is a balloon-puncturing country. You are not really allowed to be an icon unless you also make an idiot of yourself.

Don't interfere with false gods, you'll get the gold paint all over your hands.

When chlorophyll chewing gum came into fashion two decades later, it was that colour.

We lived, as usual, by ignoring. Ignoring isn't the same as ignorance, you have to work at it. Nothing changes instantaneously: in a gradually heating bathtub you'd be boiled to death before you knew it.

The genres, it is thought, have other designs on us. They want to entertain, as opposed to rubbing our noses in the daily grit produced by the daily grind. Unhappily for realistic novelists, the larger reading public likes being entertained.

I was warped early by Ray Bradbury and Edgar Allan Poe. I was very fond of Franz Kafka.

It disturbs me to learn I have hurt someone unintentionally. I want all my hurts to be intentional.

She's wearing jeans and a T, ordinary-enough clothes, though with her inside them they look like silk. Life is unfair, he thinks, as he watches her undulate through the hallways.

I was sand, I was snow—written on, rewritten, smoothed over.

And then she began to cry, and when I asked her why she was doing that, she said it was because I was to have a happy ending, and it was just like a book; and I wondered what books she'd been reading.

It's like the Vatican's porn collection," Zeb told her. "Safe in our hands.

All fat women look the same; they all look 42.

When any civilization is dust and ashes," he said, "art is all that's left over. Images, words, music. Imaginative structures. Meaning—human meaning, that is—is defined by them. You have to admit that.

I forgave her, of course. I always did; I had to, because there were only the two of us. The two of us on our thorn-encircled island, waiting for rescue; and, on the mainland, everyone else.

The past no longer belongs only to those who once lived it; the past belongs to those who claim it, and are willing to explore it, and to infuse it with meaning for those alive today. The past belongs to us, because we are the ones who need it.

An odd thing, souvenir-hunting: now becomes then even while it is still now. You don't really believe you're there, and so you nick the proof, or something you mistake for it.

Knowing was a temptation. What you don't know won't tempt you.

She'd given up faking it – no more cardboard moaning – so the act would take place in eerie silence, enclosed in a pink, sickly sweet aura of fabric softener.

I am certain that a Sewing Machine would relieve as much human suffering as a hundred Lunatic Asylums, and possibly a good deal more.

At moments like this I envy those who have found a safe haven in which to bestow their hearts; or perhaps I envy them for having a heart to bestow. I often feel that I myself am without one, and possess in its stead merely a heart shaped stone.

She'd stepped out of sex as if out of a loose dress. Now she was brisk, decisive, no nonsense.

The things I believe can't all be true, though one of them must be.

I know what you mean, we'd say. Or, a quaint expression you sometimes hear, still, from older people: I hear where you're coming from, as if the voice itself were a traveller, arriving from a distant place. Which it would be, which it is. How.

Today on the way home, it snows. Big, soft caressing flakes fall onto our skin like cold moths; the air fills with feathers.

He was deciding whether to cut her throat or love her forever.

Mother, I think. Wherever you may be. Can you hear me? You wanted a women's culture. Well, now there is one.

They are as happy as they can be, given who they are. Though if they'd been different people they might have been happier.

How could I be sleeping with this particular man.... Surely only true love could justify my lack of taste.

Possible, impossible. What could be done? We thought we had such problems. How were we to know we were happy?

Well, they bill by the minute, these lawyers, just like the cheaper whores.

Change and decay in all around I see,' she said, smiling in a way he did not like at all. 'I'm not prepared for eternity.

I lie, then, inside the room, under the plaster eye in the ceiling, behind the white curtains, between the sheets, neatly as they, and step sideways out of my own time. Out of time. Though this is time, nor am I out of it. But the night is my timeout. Where should I go?

The argument for the perfectibility of humankind rests on a logical fallacy. Thus: man is by definition imperfect, say those who would perfect him. But those who would perfect him are themselves, by their own definition, imperfect.

Sex and violence, he thinks now. A lot of the songs were about that. We didn't even notice. We thought it was art.