The Swan Thieves

And how could anyone consent to give up the smell of open books, old or new?

And why should I do such a thing- tell you something that can only dismay you? Well, that is the nature of love: it is brutal in its demands.

A shame that these images had become iconic, a tune we were all tired of humming.

Doesn't every love express itself this way, with the seeds of both its flowering and its ruin in the very first words, the first breath, the first though?

-Do you think artists are supposed to be happy?
-Everyone is supposed to be. -I said staunchly,and I knew that I was indeed an idiot and that was my destiny and I didn't mind it

Faith is simply whatever is real to us.

He can't really love anyone, you know, and in the end such people are always alone, no matter how much other people once loved them.

He was my husband, my apartment mate, my soul mate, the father of the little plant in my confused soil, the lover who had made me adore his body without inhibition after my years of relative solitude, the person for whom I'd given up my old self.

I believe in walking out of a museum before the paintings you've seen begin to run together. How else can you carry anything away with you in your mind's eye?

Ich verstehe mit achtzig was ich mit siebzig noch nicht verstehen konnte, naemlich dass man am Ende so gut wie allen vergibt, nur sich selbst nicht.

I don't think painters have the answers about a painting except the painting itself. Anyway, a painting has to have some kind of mystery to it to make it work.

I lay awake for hours in my twin bed next to the other, empty bed, feeling and hearing the spruces, the hemlocks, the rhododendron scraping at the partly open window, the verdant mountain out there in the night, the burgeoning of nature that did not seem to include me. And when, my restless body asked my teeming brain, had I agreed to be excluded?

In the end, I always act from the heart, even if I also value reason and tradition. I wish I could explain why, but I don't know.

In those days, I still thoroughly enjoyed the romance I called "by myself"; I didn't know yet how it gets lonely, picks up a sharp edge later on that ruins a day now and then-- ruins more than that, if you're not careful.

I remembered some of what I'd read in the past: the small group of the original Impressionists, including one woman-Berthe Morisot- who'd first banded together in 1874 to exhibit works in a style that the Paris Salon found too experimental for inclusion. We postmoderns take them for granted, or disdain them, or love them too easily.

It's a shame for a woman's history to be all about men-first boys, then other boys, then men, men, men. It reminds me of the way our school history textbooks were all about wars and elections, one war after another, with the dull periods of peace skimmed over when they happened.

It's a shame for women's history to be all about men--first boys, then other boys, then men men men. It reminds me of the way our school history textbooks were all about wars and elections, one war after another, with the dull periods of peace skimmed over whenever they occurred. (Our teachers deplored this and added extra units about social history and protest movements, but that was still the message of the books.)

It's funny; in this era of e-mail and voice mail and all those things that even I did not grow up with, a plain old paper letter takes on amazing intimacy.

I was filled with angst in college, that I struggled with the question of my future, the meaning of my life - spoiled sheltered rich girl collides with great books and is devastated by her own banality.

Manchmal gibt es kaum etwas Schwierigeres, als zu jemandem zu sprechen, der ueber die Macht des Schweigens verfuegt.

Marriages are like certain books, a story where you turn the last page and you think it's over and then there's an epilogue, and after that you're inclined to go on wondering about the characters or imagining that their lives continue without you, dear reader. Until you forget most of that book, you're stuck puzzling over what happened to them after you closed it.

My guess is that he remembers some of me, some of us together, and the rest rolled off him like topsoil in a flash flood.

She ate like a polite wolf.

Strangers are strange to each other.

The heart does not go backward. Only the mind.

Then draw everything. Do a hundred drawings a day,' he said fiercely. 'And remember that it's a hellish life.

..then you must say to her, ‘Madame, I observe that your heart is broken. Allow me to repair it for you...

The problem is simply finding the right person. Ask Plato. Just make sure she finishes your thoughts and you finish hers. That's all you need.

We couldn’t be sure of anything except the power of love…and we are under no requirement to believe in a particular source of that love as long as we could keep giving and receiving some in our own lives.

...what will we someday do, I always wonder, without the pleasures of turning through books and stumbling on things we never meant to find?