the strength to change

“I am suddenly aware of the lives potential in me which are wasting themselves. It is a fancy of mine that each of us contains many lives, potential lives. They are laid up inside us, shall we say, like so many rows of shining metals— railway lines. Riding along one set toward the terminus, we can be aware of those other lines, alongside us, on which we might have travelled— on which we might yet travel if only we had the strength to change.”

— Lawrence Durrell, The Black Book

my own personal silence

“There was a silence in that clearing I’d felt only once before. Once, in Mexico. The year I was in America. We were very deep in the jungle. We came on a flight of stone steps, covered with vines, fungus, centuries of decay. The others climbed to the top, but I couldn’t. It was the same as the day with Thanatz, in the pine forest. I felt a silence waiting for me up there. Not for them, but for me alone … my own personal silence… .”

— Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

so gay, so natural

“‘Weber passes by us amid a romantic landscape, conducting the ballads of the dead amidst weeping willows and oaks with twisted branches. Schumann follows him, beneath the pale moonlight, along the shores of silvery lakes. And behold, here comes Rossini, incarnation of the musical gift, so gay, so natural, without the least concern for expression, caring nothing for the public, and who isn’t my man by a long way — ah! certainly not — but then, all the same, he astonishes one by his wealth of production, and the huge effects he derives from an accumulation of voices and an ever-swelling repetition of the same strain. These three led to Meyerbeer, a cunning fellow who profited by everything, introducing symphony into opera after Weber, and giving dramatic expression to the unconscious formulas of Rossini. Oh! the superb bursts of sound, the feudal pomp, the martial mysticism, the quivering of fantastic legends, the cry of passion ringing out through history! And such finds! — each instrument endowed with a personality, the dramatic recitatives accompanied symphoniously by the orchestra — the typical musical phrase on which an entire work is built! Ah! he was a great fellow — a very great fellow indeed!’”

— Emile Zola, The Masterpiece