“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place”.
“Baby I have been here before
I know this room, I’ve walked this floor
I used to live alone before I knew you.
I’ve seen your flag on the marble arch
Love is not a victory march
It’s a cold and it’s a broken Hallelujah”
From “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
“A man gains a drop of blood per day from eating.Each night, he gets up to slash himselfAcross the face and wrist.He must be bitten by ten thousand mosquitoes.He sucks and he sucks.Where would all that blood go otherwise?Once a month, a woman drops a teacup on the floor,A fine teacup with bones inside it.Vietnamese and Germans now speak the same language.
-from Linh Dinh’s “Conversation Table” which is published in All Around What Empties Out
“We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of terrorism is terrorism. The object of oppression is oppression. The object of torture is torture. The object of murder is murder. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?”
-From 1984 by George Orwell
From the film adaptation of 1984
Personal notes: Orwell’s 1984 is probably the single most influential novel that I read during high school. It completely reignited my love for literature and pushed me to read genres that I had not previously looked into. Cliche as is sounds, it taught me lessons about questioning authority, thinking for myself, and inspired me to write in ways that I thought to be ‘vulgar’ or ‘manly’ previously. This is one of those pieces that I credit for changing me in ways that I never really thought that I could be changed. I’m certainly glad that I read it at the time of my life that I did.
“People aren’t either wicked or noble. They’re like chef salads, with good things and bad things chopped and mixed together in a vinaigrette of confusion or conflict”.
-Lemony Snicket, The Grim Grotto
Personal notes: The Lemony Snicket books are always something that I can leaf through when I need a smile. I love how the entire series is completely grim and morose, yet peppered with so much humor and wit. Snicket has a rare way of shining light upon the little truths of life in a simplistic and almost childlike way. His writing has always been something that I’ve deemed as special because it’s quirky and completely its own.
“This fall I think you’re riding for—it’s a special kind of fall, a horrible kind. The man falling isn’t permitted to feel or hear himself hit bottom. He just keeps falling and falling. The whole arrangement’s designed for men who, at some time or other in their lives, were looking for something their own environment couldn’t supply them with. Or they thought their own environment couldn’t supply them with. So they gave up looking. They gave it up before they ever really even got started.”
-From Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Personal notes: J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye is the quintessential “lost teenager” book that resonated really well with me during high school. I have to admit, I had the biggest crush on the fictional character Holden Caulfield because I could really relate to how he kind of drifts through life, by just barley skating by. This is a favorite “classic” of mine.