Okay for Now

By the way, in case you weren't paying attention or something, did you catch what Mr. Powell called me? "Young artist." I bet you missed that.

Do you ever wonder what it's like to be so angry that you...And then something happens, and after that, everyone figures that's what you're like, and that's what you're always going to be, and so you just decide to be it? But the whole time you're thinking, Am I going to be like him? Or am I already like him? And then you get angrier, because maybe you are, and you want...
He stopped. He wiped at his eyes. I'm not lying. My brother wiped at his eyes.

Here’s how you practice shrieking like an insane woman who has been locked in an attic for a great many years:
You stand in the middle of the field.
You look around to be sure that no one is going to hear you.
You breathe in a couple of times to get as much air in your chest as you can.
You stretch your neck up like the Great Esquimaux Curlew.
You imagine that it’s Game Seven of the World Series and it’s the bottom of the ninth and Joe Pepitone is rounding third base and the throw is coming in and the catcher has his glove up waiting for the ball and Joe Pepitone is probably going to be out and the game will be over and the Yankees will lose.
Then you let out your shriek, because that’s how everyone in Yankee Stadium would be shrieking right then.
That’s how you practice shrieking like an insane woman who has been locked in an attic for a great many years. And you keep doing it over and over again until all the birds in Marysville have flown away.

How come when you're feeling good like this, something always happens to wreck it all? How come?

I'm a librarian," he said. "I always know what I'm talking about.

I'm a librarian. I always know what I'm talking about

I'm not lying.

In English, we were still on the Introduction to Poetry Unit, and I'm not lying, if I ever meet Percy Bysshe Shelley walking down the streets of Marysville, I'm going to punch him right in the face.

It means, Doug Swieteck, that in this class, you are not your brother.

Maybe the Snowy Heron is going to come off pretty badly when the planes come together. Maybe. But he's still proud and beautiful. His head is high, and he's got this sharp beak that's facing out to the world.

He's okay for now.

Maybe this happens to you every day, but I think it was the first time I could hardly wait to show something that I'd done to someone who would care besides my mother. You know how that feels?

Mr. Powell raised an eyebrow. 'I'm a librarian,' he said. 'I always know what I'm talking about.

Mrs. Daugherty was keeping my bowl of cream of wheat hot, and she had a special treat with it, she said. It was bananas.

In the whole story of the world, bananas have never once been a special treat.

No one ever comes back from Vietnam. Not really.

No one talked because we all wanted to scream.

OKAY. So I was going to the library every Saturday. So what? So what? It's not like I was reading books or anything.

On Saturday mornings during deliveries, I'd practice picking out new words in Jane Eyre, sounding out the ones that needed sounding out—and I'm not lying, there were plenty. "'A new servitude! There is something in that,' I soliloquized." I mean, who talks like that? Do you know how long it takes to sound out a word like soliloquized? And even after you do, you have no idea what the stupid word means except that it probably just means "said," which is what stupid Charlotte Brontë should have said in the first place. When I delivered Mrs. Mason's groceries, she saw that I had Jane Eyre stuck under my arm. "Oh," she said, "that was my favorite novel in school." "It was?" I soliloquized.

Reader, I kissed her. A quiet walk we had, she and I.

She came over and looked at the picture. Then she took my hand.
You know what that feels like?
Like what the astronauts will feel when they step onto the moon for the very first time.

Sometimes--and I know it doesn't last for anything more than a second--sometimes there can be perfect understanding between two people who can't stand each other. He smiled, and I smiled, and we put the Timex watches on, and we watched the seconds flit by.

So you just went in and told him to give you two Cokes and he gave them to you?" "No, I didn't just go in and tell him to give me two Cokes. I asked for a Coke for me and a Coke for the skinny thug sitting on the library steps.

Terrific.

There's no pleasure in getting to be an old coot unless you have some fun along the way.

We were both chumps. But you know what? It's not so bad when you're chumps together.

When Mr. Ferris found out about the Broadway play, Clarence didn't stop rocking during the whole lab.

When you find something that's whole, you do what you can to keep it that way.

And when you fins something that isn't, then maybe it's not a bad idea to try to make it whole again. Maybe.

Why can't poets just say what they want to say and then shut up?

You know how that feels?

You know, there are good reasons to learn how to read. Poetry isn't one of them. I mean, so what if two roads go two ways in a wood? So what? Who cares if it made all that big a difference? What difference? And why should I have to guess what the difference is? Isn't that what he's supposed to say?

Why can't poets just say what they want to say and then shut up?

You know, when someone has been crying, something gets left in the air. It's not something you can see or smell, or feel. Or draw. But it's there.