September 30, 2008


She was forced to consider
the startling fact
that the love of her life
might not actually be someone
with whom she could spend a lifetime.
-- Jodi Picoult, "The Tenth Circle"

September 29, 2008


The secret was a hole
in the middle of me
that every happy thing fell into.
-- Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

September 28, 2008


Her old thoughts
were going to come in handy now,
but new words
would have to be made and said
to fit them.
-- Zora Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

September 27, 2008


I think it's easy
to mistake
for empathy --
we want
so badly.
Maybe learning
to make
that distinction
is part of
growing up.
It's hard
and ugly
to know
can understand
you without
even liking you.
-- Thomas Harris, "Hannibal"

September 25, 2008


There were faint wrinkles
of habitual good nature
about his eyes.
-- Roy Phillips, "The Yellow Pill"
(Astounding Science Fiction, 1958)

September 24, 2008


"Why do beautiful songs make you sad?"
"Because they aren't true."
"Nothing is beautiful and true."
-- Jonathan Safran Foer, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"

September 23, 2008


Hope is the refusal of the inevitable,
a hand lifted to the clouds.
Hope is what makes us human.
For when reality threatens to destroy us,
we reach inward and we create hope.
It's the greatest gift we can give each other.
-- Brian Azzarello, "Lex Luthor: Man of Steel" No. 5

September 22, 2008


Through the crisscrossing nets
of branches above us,
an airplane trailed across the blue air,
sparkling like tinsel,
scarring the sky with its vapor.
-- Scott Heim, "Mysterious Skin"

September 21, 2008


Snowflakes were rare enough
in Franklin to give pause,
but not rare enough
to bring joy.
-- Robert Hicks, "The Widow of the South"

September 20, 2008


Sammy felt an ache in his chest
that turned out to be,
as so often occurs when
memory and desire cojoin
with a transient effect of weather,
the pang of creation.
-- Michael Chabon, "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"

September 19, 2008


She knows that a poet
like Richard would move sternly
through the same morning,

editing it,

dismissing incidental ugliness
along with incidental beauty.
-- Michael Cunningham, "The Hours"

September 18, 2008


My mother made a sound
and reached out her hand.
The sound was a metallic squeak,
a human-as-machine breaking down,
uttering last sounds
before the whole engine locks.
-- Alice Sebold, "The Lovely Bones"

September 17, 2008


The trailer park gave off
an eerie glow,
as if it were
the chosen setting
for an upcoming miracle.
-- Scott Heim, "Mysterious Skin"

September 16, 2008


At night
the drapes looked
liked ghosts,
moving around
in the drafts
that broke through
the walls and
under the doors.
-- Robert Hicks, "The Widow of the South"

September 15, 2008


All gods who receive homage are cruel.
All gods dispense suffering without reason.
Otherwise they would not be worshipped.
Through indiscriminate suffering
men know fear
and fear is the most divine emotion.
It is the stones for altars
and the beginning of wisdom.
Half gods are worshipped
in wine and flowers.
Real gods require blood.
-- Zora Neale Hurston, "Their Eyes Were Watching God"

September 14, 2008


Their gasp
was like cold wind
passing through
dead trees.
-- Stephen King, "The Little Sisters of Eluria"
(from "Everything's Eventual")

September 12, 2008


Poetry is not a lost art.
Poetry is better than ever. ...
The short story is also not
a lost art, but I would agree
it is a good deal closer
than poetry to the lip
of the drop
into extinction's pit.
-- Stephen King, introduction to "Everything's Eventual"

September 11, 2008


A head unusually big.
In a person of an inert character
a head of such size
might have seemed a deformity;
in Clara, because
she had so much personal force,
it came across
as ruggedly handsome.
She needed that head;
a mind like hers demanded space.
-- Saul Bellow, "A Theft"

September 10, 2008


In case you haven't figured it out,
this isn't a neighborhood, anyhow.
It's where people come
to be private and left alone.
-- Patricia Cornwell, "Trace"

September 9, 2008


It was possible
that a miracle
was not something
that happened to you,
but rather something
that didn't.
-- Jodi Picoult, "The Tenth Circle"

September 8, 2008


By now the sun was overpowering.
It shattered
into little pieces
on the sand and water.
- Albert Camus, "The Stranger"
(translated by Matthew Ward)

September 7, 2008


Pop Olafsson was this fattish
bald guy with a face
like a wrinkled dishrag
left in the sun to dry.
-- Joyce Carol Oates, "High Lonesome"
(Zoetrope: All-Story, Winter 2005)

September 6, 2008


"It's personal what people do with each other."
She won't look at her.
-- Patricia Cornwell, "Trace"

September 5, 2008


The matter lay between them, as solid
as a geographical feature, a mountain,
a headland. Unnameable, unavoidable.
-- Ian McEwan, "On Chesil Beach"

September 4, 2008


Seconds pass and love for him grows suddenly,
like ice crystals or sea monkeys, all over my body.
-- Alissa Nutting, "Hot, Fast, and Sad"
(Tin House, Fall 2007)