The Fortress


Have you ever encountered a few sentences and thought, these ones are going into the storage-box of my memory, like a fortress? I have, many times over. I'm feeling a bit reflective due to having a small party in honour of my PhD-completion last night. In my reflective mood, here are a few of the gems I've encountered in the last few years of writing. Feel free to add to my list ...

"How beautiful!" said Lydia, looking at a stage setting. "It's almost real."
"How beautiful!" said Kira, looking at a landscape. "It's almost artificial."
-Ayn Rand, We the Living.

Alice wanted silence. She wanted the nullity of deep space. In her bed in Paris, she experienced a twinge of homesickness. Not the longing for a place, so much, as a space into which her self could be poured, without erasure.
-Gail Jones, Dreams of Speaking.

To burn always with that hard gem-like flame and to maintain this ecstasy is success in life.
-Walter Pater, Studies in the History of the Renaissance.

We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
-Henry James, The Middle Years.

Camus had said in his Carnets that the lives of others appear always, from the outside, to have a completion our own dismally lacks. Only when we understand this as a projection - that other lives, too, are unclosed and contingent - do we approach maturity. Alice felt immature. She felt that she was a spy in the cold.
-Gail Jones, Dreams of Speaking.

I wish I were a girl again, half savage and hardy, and free.
-Emily Brontë, Wuthering Heights.

The first sentence of every novel should be: "Trust me, this will take time but there is order here, very faint, very human." Meander if you want to get to town.
-Michael Ondaatje, In the Skin of a lion.

Image by Julie Morstad.