On Perspective & Perception


  • “When life itself seems lunatic, who knows where madness lies? Perhaps to be too practical is madness. To surrender dreams — this may be madness. To seek treasure where there is only trash. Too much sanity may be madness — and maddest of all: to see life as it is, and not as it should be!”  ~ Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
  • “Real generosity towards the future lies in giving all to the present.” ~ Albert Camus
  • “there isn’t enough of anything / as long as we live. But at intervals / a sweetness appears and, given a chance / prevails. ”  ~ Raymond Carver, Ultramarine: Poems
  • “What would a narrative of happiness be like? All that can be described is what prepares it, and then what destroys it.” ~ André Gide, The Immoralist
  • “Obviously the facts are never just coming at you but are incorporated by an imagination that is formed by your previous experience. Memories of the past are not memories of facts but memories of your imaginings of the facts.” ~ Philip Roth, The Facts: A Novelist’s Autobiography (1988)
  • “How easy life is when it’s easy, and how hard when it’s hard.”  ~ Philip Roth, The Professor Of Desire 
  • “Because joy and life exist nowhere but the present.” ~ Maxine Hong Kingston, I Love a Broad Margin to My Life

  • “Actually we did not have the feelings we said we had until we spoke them–at least I didn’t; to phrase them was to invent them and own them.” ~ Philip Roth, Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories

  • “The past is the present, isn’t it? It’s the future too.” ~ Eugene O’Neill, Long Day’s Journey Into Night

  • Alice: How long is forever? / White Rabbit: Sometimes, just one second.  Lewis Carroll

  • “That’s the way it is: life includes a lot of empty space. We are one-tenth living tissue, nine-tenths water; life is one-tenth Here and Now, nine-tenths a history lesson. For most of the time the Here and Now is neither now nor here.” ~  Graham Swift, Waterland

  • “Outside of that single fatality of death, everything, joy or happiness, is liberty.” ~ Albert Camus

  • “The memory of the heart eliminates the bad and magnifies the good; thanks to this artifice, we are able to bear the past.” ~  Gabriel García Márquez

  • “The universe is made of stories, not atoms.” ~ Muriel Rukeyser

  • “For myself I am an optimist – it does not seem to be much use being anything else.”  ~ Winston Churchill

  • “Whatever it is you’re seeking won’t come in the form you’re expecting.”  ~  Haruki Murakami
  • “All you need now is to stand at the window and let your rhythmical sense open and shut, open and shut, boldly and freely, until one thing melts in another, until the taxis are dancing with the daffodils, until a whole has been made from all these separate fragments.” ~ Virginia Woolf,  A Letter To A Young Poet
  • “I don’t close my eyes. You can disappear here without knowing it.” ~ Bret Easton Ellis
  • “Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.”  ~  Oscar Wilde, – The Picture of Dorian Gray 
  • “I know this much: that there is objective time, but also subjective time, the kind you wear on the inside of your wrist, next to where the pulse lies. And this personal time, which is the true time, is measured in your relationship to memory.”  ~ Julian Barnes, The Sense of an Ending
  • “That’s the curious thing about love, isn’t it? It makes very ordinary things seem special. It makes them seem so much more valuable than they really are.” ~  Alexander McCall Smith, Trains and Lovers

  • “Happiness, not in another place, but this place; not for another hour, but this hour.”  ~  Walt Whitman

  • “All that we see or seem / Is but a dream within a dream.” ~  Edgar Allan Poe

  • “Books say: She did this because. Life says: She did this. Books are where things are explained to you; life is where things aren’t. I’m not surprised some people prefer books.” ~  Julian Barnes, Flaubert’s Parrot

  • “She was incomprehensible, for, in her, soul and spirit were one—the beauty of her body was the essence of her soul. She was that unity sought for by philosophers through many centuries. In this outdoor waiting room of winds and stars she had been sitting for a hundred years, at peace in the contemplation of herself.” ~ F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and the Damned
  • “Past certain ages or certain wisdoms it is very difficult to look with wonder; it is best done when one is a child; after that, and if you are lucky, you will find a bridge of childhood and walk across it.” ~  Truman Capote, Local Color
  • “We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you, have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster, they have sprung from very different beginnings, having been influenced by evil or commonplace that prevailed round them. They represent a struggle and a victory.” ~  Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove

  • “If I had a world of my own, everything would be nonsense. Nothing would be what it is, because everything would be what it isn’t.   And contrary wise, what is, it wouldn’t be. And what it wouldn’t be, it would. You see?”  ~ Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass
  • “I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.” ~ Frida Kahlo
  • “I know paradise has many gates, just as hell does. One has to learn to distinguish between them, or one is lost.” ~  Henning Mankell, The Dogs of Riga

  • “… let’s advance and change everything, but leave these oases in / case the heart gets thirsty en route / … we peer into the future and see you happy and hope it is a sign that we / will be happy too, something to cling to, happiness / the least and best of human attainments.”  ~ Frank O’Hara, ‘Poem Read at Joan Mitchell’s’

  • “I reject your reality and substitute  my own.” ~ Dr. Who

  • “I’m not sentimental – I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last – the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.” ~  F. Scott Fitzgerald, This Side of Paradise

  • “The human world is made of stories, not people. The people the stories use to tell themselves are not to be blamed”  ~  David Mitchell, Ghostwritten 

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