Neil Gaiman

  • Jun. 10th, 2014 at 9:49 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: open book rose)
...It occurs to me that the peculiarity of most things we think of as fragile is how tough they truly are. There were tricks we did with eggs, as children, to show who they were, in reality, tiny load-bearing marble halls; while the beat of the wings of a butterfly in the right place, we are told, can create a hurricane across an ocean. Hearts may break, but hearts are the toughest of muscles, able to pump for a lifetime, seventy times a minute, and scarcely falter along the way. Even dreams, the most delicate and intangible of things, can prove remarkable to kill...

Stories, like people and butterflies and songbirds’ eggs and human hearts and dreams, are also fragile things, made up of nothing stronger or more lasting than twenty-six letters and a handful of punctuation marks. Or they are words on air, composed of sounds and ideas—abstract, invisible, gone once they’ve been spoken—and what could be more frail than that? But some stories, small, simple ones about setting out on adventures or people doing wonders, tales of miracles and monsters, have outlasted all the people who told them, and some of them have outlasted the lands in which they were created.

Rudyard Kipling

  • Aug. 5th, 2012 at 6:39 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: black and white tree scene)
Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind.

Dean Koontz

  • Jul. 24th, 2012 at 11:56 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
Perhaps the greatest beauty of words is not to be found in the observations conveyed by their meaning but in the faith with which we use them.

Andrew Clements

  • Dec. 8th, 2011 at 6:11 PM
beth_shulman: (book: jellicoe road)
So many things have gone out of date. But after all these years, words are still important. Words are still needed by everyone. Words are used to think with, to write with, to dream with, to hope and pray with...

Ursula K. le Guin

  • Oct. 31st, 2011 at 2:05 AM
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The artist deals with what cannot be said in words.

The artist whose medium is fiction does this in words. The novelist says in words what cannot be said in words. Words can be used thus paradoxically because they have, along with a semiotic usage, a symbolic or metaphoric usage...

All fiction is metaphor. Science fiction is metaphor. What sets it apart from older forms of fiction seems to be its use of new metaphors... Space travel is one of those metaphors; so is an alternative society, an alternative biology; the future is another. The future, in fiction, is a metaphor.

A metaphor for what?

If I could have said it nonmetaphorically, I would not have written all these words, this novel [The Left Hand of Darkness]; and Genly Ai would never have sat down at my desk and used up my ink and typewriter ribbon in informing me, and you, that the truth is a matter of the imagination.

Lisa Mantchev

  • Jul. 20th, 2011 at 10:45 PM
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"Words are like the delicate stitches in the dress you wear, holding the fabric of the garment together. Without them, the dress and the world are nothing but barren cloth." (Perchance to Dream)

Terry Pratchett

  • Jun. 13th, 2011 at 6:36 PM
beth_shulman: (book: meg powers)
This book was written using 100% recycled words.

Frances Hardinge

  • Jun. 12th, 2011 at 1:04 AM
beth_shulman: (book: meg powers)
"Clent was right, and Mosca knew it. Words were dangerous when loosed. They were more powerful than cannon and more unpredictable than storms. They could turn men’s minds inside out and warp their destinies. They could pick up kingdoms and shake them until they rattled. And this was a good thing, a wonderful thing . . . and in her heart Mosca was sure that Clent knew this too." (Fly by Night)

Patrick Rothfuss

  • Mar. 4th, 2011 at 4:40 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: black and white tree scene)
"Using words to talk of words is like using a pencil to draw a picture of itself, on itself. Impossible." (The Name of the Wind)

Stephen King

  • Jan. 9th, 2011 at 3:37 PM
beth_shulman: (violin)
The most important things are the hardest things to say. They are the things you get ashamed of, because words diminish them - words shrink things that seemed limitless when they were in your head to no more than living size when they're brought out. But it's more than that, isn't it? The most important things lie too close to wherever your secret heart is buried, like landmarks to a treasure your enemies would love to steal away. And you may make revelations that cost you dearly only to have people look at you in a funny way, not understanding what you've said at all, or why you thought it was so important that you almost cried while you were saying it. That's the worst, I think. When the secret stays locked within not for want of a teller, but for want of an understanding ear. (Different Seasons)

Madeleine L'Engle

  • Nov. 28th, 2010 at 9:22 PM
beth_shulman: (great gatsby art)
"We think because we have words, not the other way around. The more words we have, the better able we are to think conceptually." (Walking on Water)

T. S. Eliot

  • Nov. 19th, 2010 at 2:59 AM
beth_shulman: (stock: violin)
Words move, music moves
Only in time; but that which is only living
Can only die. Words, after speech, reach
Into the silence. Only by the form, the pattern,
Can words or music reach
The stillness, as a Chinese jar still
Moves perpetually in its stillness.
Not the stillness of the violin, while the note lasts,
Not that only, but the co-existence,
Or say that the end precedes the beginning,
And the end and the beginning were always there
Before the beginning and after the end.
And all is always now. Words strain,
Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,
Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,
Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,
Will not stay still.
(From Burnt Norton, Four Quartets)


William Shakespeare

  • Oct. 25th, 2010 at 2:49 PM
beth_shulman: (violin)
"Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain..." (King Richard II)

William Faulkner

  • Oct. 17th, 2010 at 9:21 PM
beth_shulman: (stock: boat in sunset)
"...I would think how words go straight up in a thin line, quick and harmless, and how terribly doing goes along the earth, clinging to it, so that after a while the two lines are too far apart for the same person to straddle from one to the other; and that sin and love and fear are just sounds that people who never sinned nor loved nor feared have for what they never had and cannot have until they forget the words." (As I Lay Dying)
beth_shulman: (black and white tree scene)
"Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind but wise." Or was it an old man? A guru, perhaps. Or a griot soothing restless children. I have heard this story, or one exactly like it, in the lore of several cultures.

"Once upon a time there was an old woman. Blind. Wise."

In the version I know the woman is the daughter of slaves, black, American, and lives alone in a small house outside of town. Her reputation for wisdom is without peer and without question. Among her people she is both the law and its transgression. The honor she is paid and the awe in which she is held reach beyond her neighborhood to places far away; to the city where the intelligence of rural prophets is the source of much amusement.

One day the woman is visited by some young people who seem to be bent on disproving her clairvoyance and showing her up for the fraud they believe she is. Their plan is simple: they enter her house and ask the one question the answer to which rides solely on her difference from them, a difference they regard as a profound disability: her blindness. They stand before her, and one of them says, "Old woman, I hold in my hand a bird. Tell me whether it is living or dead."

She does not answer, and the question is repeated. "Is the bird I am holding living or dead?"

Still she doesn't answer. She is blind and cannot see her visitors, let alone what is in their hands. She does not know their color, gender or homeland. She only knows their motive.

The old woman's silence is so long, the young people have trouble holding their laughter.

Finally she speaks and her voice is soft but stern.

"I don't know," she says. "I don't know whether the bird you are holding is dead or alive, but what I do know is that it is in your hands. It is in your hands." )


Orson Scott Card

  • Sep. 26th, 2010 at 12:15 AM
beth_shulman: (ender's game)
Among my most prized possessions are words that I have never spoken.

John Dryden

  • Sep. 19th, 2010 at 2:28 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
Words are but pictures of our thoughts.

Emily Dickinson

  • Sep. 14th, 2010 at 9:04 PM
beth_shulman: (violin)
A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.
(Poem 1212)

Mark Twain

  • Sep. 12th, 2010 at 1:38 PM
beth_shulman: (meg powers)
The right word may be effective, but no word was ever as effective as a rightly timed pause.

Ernest Hemingway

  • Aug. 26th, 2010 at 6:50 PM
beth_shulman: (Default)
"All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time."


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