Words Words Words

Passages from books and other written media, funny or philosophical or just interesting, that have stuck with me.

22. No matter how tempted I am with the prospect of unlimited power, I will not consume any energy field bigger than my head.
— Peter's Evil Overlord List
Each act, each occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join with you in resisting somehow... But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.
— They Thought They Were Free, Milton Sanford Mayer
For a while, his reveries provided an outlet for his imagination; they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy's wing.
— The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
She broke the seal and read the letter. It was addressed to her, and after the salutations, it read:
"Have been unavoidably detained by the world.
Expect us when you see us."
— Stardust, Neil Gaiman
Everything is impermanent and transient. Especially bits on a disk. No use crying over flipped bits.
— keyvin
You can think of your life like this. The growing tip is the present moment—your lived experience of now—which knaws into the future as it advances. The history of your life is the rest of the hypha, the blue lines that you've left in a tangled trail behind you. A mycelial netowrk is a map of a fungus's recent history and a helpful reminder that all life-forms are in fact processes and not things. The "you" of five years ago was made from different stuff than the "you" of today. Nature is an event that never stops.
— Entangled Life, Merlin Sheldrake
Unlike the zombie apocalypse, global annihilation offered a different, better consolation: not that I could escape death, but that when I died, I got to take everyone else with me. I may not have been there at the beginning of creation, but I would be there to turn the lights out. It just felt right.
— Vacationland, John Hodgman
For many years I struggled with a terrible and embarrassing problem: I would be introduced to someone, and I would forget that person's name. Even if the person said his or her name slowly and loudly, and even if I repeated that person's name even more slowly, and even more loudly, I would instantly forget it. This is probably because I don't care about other people and secretly suspect that they are all robots, and I am the only person who is really alive.
— More Information Than You Require, John Hodgman
Everything that exists or occurs makes absolute and complete sense, but in order to understand, you must have access to all of the relevant facts. Don't try to fill in the missing pieces your self, because there are complicated variables at work here, and you are likely to fit the wrong pieces into the wrong locations.
— a geocities site I found once
Oh, how these dead people who lived in houses on lots where they had cut down most of the trees loved trees. How they loved to be out in the trees. The tales they told about the trees and how they loved them. Perhaps because the trees did not resist. Trees fell over of their own accord, sometimes, as if to prove their love of the axe. The chain saw that felled most of them just completed a tree's own inevitable thought.
— Dead Astronauts, Jeff VanderMeer
You never talk about your past with anyone. Talking just releases memories into the air, and they aren't really yours anymore, or they become changed or other people capture them and hold them prisoner. You want to keep them. The bad ones might infect someone.
— Dead Astronauts, Jeff VanderMeer
"How are you?"
I am completely fucking hatstand. "Not sure."
— A Boy's Book of Practical Magic to Mystify, Baffle and Entertain, Phosfate
The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the deadly light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
— The Call of Cthulu, H.P. Lovecraft
— a C programming instruction booklet
Horror as an art form, as escape, as a rendition of what had just happened, became the only possible response for a world that could not stop screaming.
— The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror, W. Scott Poole
The accordion's scratched yet shiny black exterior came back and forth as his arms squeezed the dusty bellows, making it suck in the air and throw it back out. In the kitchen on those mornings, Papa made the accordion live. I guess it makes sense, when you really think about it.
How do you tell if something's alive?
You check for breathing.
— The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
I thought to myself, David Montgomery, you're not being very Spicy right now. What would Ginger Spice do?
Now, for the uninitiated, she left the group at the height of their fame. And in this momentary rush of inspiration, I walked out of my job that day, becoming the first grown man in world history to leave his big-boy job to follow the Spice Girls around.
I mean, at this point in life, I really want to be a teacher. But I really, really wanna zig-a-zig-ah.
— Occasional Magic, The Moth
The surrealists of Paris thought that Frida Kahlo was one of them, but she insisted that she painted her reality (her world was just surreal to outside observers).
— ???
"I have this plan," Merlin says, "that for each formal scientific paper I ever publish I will also write its dark twin, its underground mirror-piece — the true story of how the data for that cool, tidy hypothesis-evidence-proof paper actually got aquired. I want to write about the happenstance and the shaved bumblebees and the pissing monkeys and the drunken conversations and the fuck-ups that actually bring science into being. This is the frothy, mad network that underlies and interconnects all scientific knowledge — but about which we so rarely say anything."
— The Underland: A Deep Time Journey, Robert McFarlane
It was as if a different person put the key in the ignition and drove away from everything that was familiar. There was no going back now. There was no going forward, either. He was going sideways, sort of, and as frightening as that was, there was the thrill of excitement, too. You couldn't feel dead this way, or as if you were just waiting for the next thing to happen to you.
— Authority, Jeff VanderMeer
Just because you've decided to sell out, that doesn't mean that anyone's going to buy!
— Making Comics, Scott McCloud
Our visual systems do not bother to ascertain whether the laws of physics are being obeyed, because it is generally a safe assumption that they are, and even if they weren't being obeyed there is not much use in knowing about it.
— Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing, Margaret Livingstone
As she ran along, Dora passed a tree and noticed something bright and yellow. "Oooh, look!" she said, focusing in on the object. "A golden poison frog. Its skin is lethally toxic and can cause full-body paralysis. Can you say 'severe neurotoxicity'?"
Again, unclear who's supposed to say this, exactly. So, if you feel compelled, now's the time to say
and we'll keep moving.
— Dora and the Lost City of Gold, Steve Behling
The graveyard gates didn't creak open—they screamed, the sound of iron horrified to behold the rust it had become.
— Magnet to a Flame, Shawn Patrick Cooke
The tiger, who had no discernible European accent, said, "Ow! That fucking hurts! This is all there is to life, isn't it? Sadness and pain."
The tiger wept and sobbed as great gushing blobs of viscous, semenlike hydraulic fluid burped from the gaping holes Maurice the giraffe pierced in his torso.
Maurice ate and ate and the tiger cried and cried.
Maurice burbled, "Cette viande de tigre est delicieux!" Four or five days in the lake was starting to look like a pretty good idea.
Parker shouted, "Cager, what do you suggest I do now?"
"Tell him to ride the giraffe," Billy whispered.
And the tiger wailed, "Sartre was right—I cannot escape anguish, because I am anguish!"
Mmmmph mmmph mmmph! went Maurice.
— Rabbit and Robot, Andrew Smith
Billy covered his head with his blanket again. He always covered his head when his mother came to see him in the mental ward—always got much sicker until she went away. It wasn’t that she was ugly, or had bad breath or a bad personality. She was a perfectly nice, standard-issue, brown-haired, white woman with a high-school education.
She upset Billy simply by being his mother. She made him feel embarrassed and ungrateful and weak because she had gone to so much trouble to give him life, and to keep that life going, and Billy didn’t really like life at all.
— Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut
Maybe the BDED Corp juice really does try to live up to its slogan and maybe the human heart just cannot bear the burden of growing wings, and when the juice is gulped, there begins a rearrangement of nerves and the slight shift and elongation of ligaments in the shoulder but as soon as the human heart gets the notion that it might be party to the growing of wings, it just fucking explodes. We are not meant to fly. We are the falling sort.
— Acid West, Joshua Wheeler
Perhaps in Heaven I'll look like an angel. Or perhaps the angels will look like me. What a surprise that will be, for everyone else! It's something to look forward to.
— Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood
The difficult thing is, your brain can't tell if there's something wrong with your brain. If you have a rash on your leg, you can look down and see it. But you don't have a spare brain to make an assessment of your own brain. You're always the last to know—that's the bitch.
— Natural Causes, Ruby Wax
"Yes," says Jack. "We did have fun." From this distance it does resemble fun. Fun is not knowing how it will end.
— Stone Mattress, Margaret Atwood
If you were standing in the path of the beam, you would obviously die pretty quickly. You wouldn't really die of anything, in the traditional sense. You would just stop being biology and start being physics.
— What If, Randall Munroe

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