Elizabeth Strout · Love

Love, old love

What young people didn’t know, she thought, lying down beside this man, his hand on her shoulder, her arm; oh, what young people did not know. They did not know that lumpy, aged, and wrinkled bodies were as needy as their own young, firm ones, that love was not to be tossed away carelessly, as if it were a tart on a platter with others that got passed around again. No, if love was available, one chose it, or didn’t choose it. And if her platter had been full with the goodness of Henry and she had found it burdensome, had flicked it off crumbs at a time, it was because she had not known what one should know: that day after day was unconsciously squandered. And so, if this man next to her now was not a man she would have chosen before this time, what did it matter? He most likely wouldn’t have chosen her either. But here they were, and Olive pictured two slices of Swiss cheese pressed together, such holes they brought to this union—what pieces life took out of you. Her eyes were closed, and throughout her tired self swept waves of gratitude—and regret. She pictured the sunny room, the sun-washed wall, the bayberry outside. It baffled her, the world. She did not want to leave it yet.

Elizabeth Strout – Olive Kitteridge

Death

The youth evaporates

“Your youth evaporates in your early 40s when you look in the mirror. And then it becomes a full-time job pretending you’re not going to die, and then you accept that you’ll die. Then in your 50s everything is very thin. And then suddenly you’ve got this huge new territory inside you, which is the past, which wasn’t there before. A new source of strength. Then that may not be so gratifying to you as the 60s begin, but then I find that in your 60s, everything begins to look sort of slightly magical again. And it’s imbued with a kind of leave-taking resonance, that it’s not going to be around very long, this world, so it begins to look poignant and fascinating.”

Martin Amis (from an article in Smithsonian magazine)

Stephen King

The brain doesn’t age #StephenKing #Revival

“When I was a teenager, I looked at over-fifties with pity and unease: they walked too slow, they talked too slow, they watched TV instead of going out to movies and concerts, their idea of a great party was hotpot with the neighbors and tucked into bed after the eleven o’clock news. But—like most other fifty-, sixty-, and seventysomethings who are in relative good health—I didn’t mind it so much when my turn came. Because the brain doesn’t age, although its ideas about the world may harden and there’s a greater tendency to run off at the mouth about how things were in the good old days.”

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“Reverend was right about one thing:: People always want a reason for the bad things in life. Sometimes there ain’t one.”

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“Frightened people live in their own special hell. You could say they make it themselves, but they can’t help it. It’s the way they’re built. They deserve sympathy and compassion.”

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“People have many ways to be lousy to one another, as you’ll find out when you’re older, but I think that all bad behavior stems from plain old selfishness.”

Stephen King – Revival

Life · Love · Paul Auster

Try to roll with it

“Try to roll with the punches. Keep your chin up. Don’t take any wooden nickels. Vote Democrat in every election. Ride your bike in the park. Dream about my perfect, golden body. Take your vitamins. Drink eight glasses of water a day. Pull for the Mets. Watch a lot of movies. Don’t work too hard at your job. Take a trip to Paris with me. Come to the hospital when Rachel has her baby and hold my grandchild in your arms. Brush your teeth after every meal. Don’t cross the street on a red light. Defend the little guy. Stick up for yourself. Remember how beautiful you are. Remember how much I love you. Drink one Scotch on the rocks every day. Breathe deeply. Keep your eyes open. Stay away from fatty foods. Sleep the sleep of the just. Remember how much I love you.”

Paul Auster, The Brooklyn Follies

Life · Paul Auster

Life #PaulAuster

“When you’ve lived as long as I have, you tend to think you’ve heard everything, that there’s nothing left that can shock you anymore. You grow a little complacent about your so-called knowledge of the world, and then, every once in a while, something comes along that jolts you out of your smug cocoon of superiority, that reminds you all over again that you don’t understand the first thing about life.”

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“Existence was bigger than just life. It was everyone’s life all together, and even if you lived in Buffalo, New York and had never been more than ten miles from home, you were part of the puzzle, too. It didn’t matter how small your life was.”

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“Life got in the way — two years in the army, work, marriage, family responsibilities, the need to earn more and more money, all the muck that bogs us down when we don’t have the balls to stand up for ourselves — but I had never lost my interest in books.”

Paul Auster – The Brooklyn Follies