“I felt sad because I did not know how to live.” Tidbits 3.10.14

“I felt sad because I did not know how to live.”
-Paul Theroux, My Other Life

“Lady, I will touch you with my mind.
Touch you and touch and touch
until you give
me suddenly a smile, shyly obscene…”
-e.e. cummings, “xvii”

“I’ll be your Emmylous and I’ll be your June
If you’ll be my Gram and my Johnny too
No I’m not asking much of you
Just sing little darling, sing with me.”
-First Aid Kit, “Emmylou”

“The earth’s round, on which mankind lives, is much indented.”
-the 1st line of Ynglinga Saga

“If your law had not been my delight,
I would have perished in my affliction…
To all perfection I see a limit;
but your commands are boundless.”
-Psalm 119:92,96

“For sorrow my beetling brows
drooped over my eyelids.
Now I have found one who smoothed
the wrinkles on my forehead…”
-Verse 20, Egils Saga



Tidbits. Jan 6.

“But this is not a story. We’re talking about the real world.’ Tamaru narrowed his eyes and looked hard at Aomame. Then, slowly opening his mouth, he said,’Who knows.”
1Q84, Haruki Murakami

“Perfect in weakness
I’m only perfect in just your strength alone.”
-Flyleaf, “Perfect”

“Like flowery fields the nations stand
Pleased with the morning light;
The flowers beneath the mowers’s hand
Lie withering ere ’tis night.”
-“Our God, our help in ages past,” Isaac Watts

“When Gizur came out of his bed Sám, his bedfellow, had already received his death wound. Gizur heard Sám say as he received the blow, “This was to be expected.”
-Islendinga Saga

“I’ve got a hunger
Twisting my stomach into knots
That my tongue was tied off
My brain’s repeating
If you’ve got an impulse let it out
But they never make it past my mouth
Baa bah, this is the sound of settling”
-Death Cab for Cutie, “The sound of settling.”

he is truly wise
who’s travelled far
and knows the ways of the world
he who has travelled
can tell what spirit
governs the men he meets
-Hávámal Eddaic poems

I”t’s never sunny but I
Don’t even need the sun
I don’t need anything
I’ll just make something beautiful
Of all the ugliness I’ve done.”
-Pascal Pinon “”Þerney (One Thing)”


Thoughts on Finishing Charlotte Brontë ‘s “Shirley”

There is really no feeling, for me, quite like finishing a Charlotte Brontë  novel. I leave the last page more intelligent, wiser, happier, and the world has a new look. She writes what she wants, and she doesn’t give a damn if you don’t want to read a five page digression on the emotions of the world’s first woman. In fact, I think she enjoys teasing you a bit by delaying the narrative. The last few pages of Shirley are taken up with a description of the “happily ever afters” of the miscellaneous characters that, from the first chapter, she had trained you to dislike. Her delight in delaying the resolution of the primary characters’ conflicts is palpable. It’s so easy to imagine a dark, quiet, little Charlotte Brontë  laughing to herself as she writes four pages of silliness knowing how badly her reader will want to know the final events.

Like  Villette and Jane Eyre, my copy of Shirley is thoroughly dog-eared because there are so many amazing passages, poignant lines, and piercing observations, that I couldn’t even begin to write them all down in my notebook. Charlotte Brontë’s novels are a drink of fresh water to anyone who delights in complex characters, playful and tricky narrators, and magnificent blasts of beautiful prose musings on poverty, the intelligence of women, the beauty of  nature, the nature of beauty, a certain hymn or poem that has caught her attention, loneliness, depression, the sustaining grace of God, or the difference between ze French and the Northern English. And now (as Brontë would say), indulge me, dear reader, as I share some of my favorite lines from Shirley.

Charlotte Bronte

“Now, sir, do you being to be aware that is useless to scheme for me; that in doing so you but so the wind to reap the whirlwind? I sweep your cobweb projects from my path, that I may pass on unsullied. I am anchored on a resolve you cannot shake.”

“My consolation is, indeed, that God hears many a groan, and compassionates much grief which man stops his ears against, or frowns on with impotent contempt. I say impotent, for I observe that to such grievances as society cannot readily cure it usually forbids utterance, on pain of its scorn, this corn being only a sort of tinseled cloak to its deformed weakness. People hate to be reminded of ills they are unable or unwilling to remedy. Such reminder, in forcing on them a sense of their own incapacity, or a more painful sense of an obligation to make some unpleasant effort, troubles their ease and shakes their self-complacency.”

“At his heart he could not abide sense in women. He liked to see them as silly, as light-headed, as vain, as open to ridicule as possible, because they were then in reality what he held them to be, and wished them to be- inferior, toys to play with, to amuse a vacant hour, and to be thrown away.”

“Most people have had a period or periods in their lives when they have felt thus forsaken- when, having long hoped against hope, and still seen the day of fruition deferred, their hearts have truly sickened within them. This is a terrible hour, but it is often that darkest point which precedes the rise of day- that turn of the year when the icy January wind carries over the waste at once the dirge of departing winter and the prophecy of coming spring…Yet let whoever still grieves still cling fast to love and faith in God. God will never deceive, never finally desert him.”

“Cheerfulness, it would appear, is a matter which depends fully as much on the state of things within as on the state of things without and around us.” 

And so you know that I am serious in my deep and abiding love for this little authoress, you should know that I do intend one day soon to have her brooding face tattooed on my body. And if I ever have a daughter, I will definitely name her Charlotte.

Tidbits. Oct 19

“I’m not talking to you anymore
I’m making my bed so I can lie there forever
I don’t know what I’m doing this for
All I know is that I’m tired of being clever
Everyone is clever these days.”
-She & Him “Never Wanted Your Love”

“It is a pity we don’t whistle at one another like birds.  Words can be misleading.”
–Halldór Kiljan Laxness

“I still find each too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.”
-John Burroughs

“And I can tell just what you want; you don’t want to be alone.”
-Two Door Cinema Club “What You Know”

“To all perfection I see a limit;
but your commands are boundless.”
-Psalm 119:92

“For sorrow my beetling brows
drooped over my eyelids.
Now I have found one who smoothed
the wrinkles on my forehead.”
-Verse 20, Egil’s Saga

“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things because they know they can do it. And by doing it, they’re proven right- because I think there’s something in side of you and inside all of us, when we see something, and we think, ‘I think I can handle that. I think I can do that. But I’m afraid to.’ Bridging that gap, doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that….that is what life is.”
-Amy Poehler

“I must become a lion hearted girl”
-Florence + The Machine, “Rabbit Heart”

Tidbits. Oct 3.

“All things pass
Love and mandkind is grass.”
-Stevie Smith

“…what a tinder box we live in
And what a flammable heart I’ve been given…
…what a concrete mess we live in
And what a icebox heart I’ve been given.”
-Freelance Whales, “Location”

“He did not need man´s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.”
– John 2:25

“I’m full as it is, I’m full as it is
So don’t feed me more

You’ll be having my head, big as a birthday
‘Cause I left all my doubts on the airplane
I didn’t know, I didn’t know I’m not in control
I didn’t know, I’m not invincible.”
-Blind Pilot, “Oviedo”

“It seems to me that we can never give up longing and wishing while we are stil alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger for them.
-George Elliot (Mary Ann Evans)

“For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry.”
-Luke 23:31