“I used to care when men called me difficult. I really did. Then I stopped. This way is better.”
“Men often think they deserve a sticker for treating women like people.”
I think of that moment often now. I think: how often the effort of knowing someone is undermined by one‘s wish to. I mean, it can be quite hard to see or hear a person amid the bright bellowing of one‘s own projections. The world is a negotiation of wishes, after all, and where desire is strongest, so are illusions. (pg. 240-41)
“Rather, she was ambitious at a time and in fields where there were few possibilities for a colored woman to shine.
And before we decide she that was too ambitious, we must ask ourselves whether if Eunice had been white and male and had the same resume, she would not have gone further in her career. If our answer is even a tentative yes, then to criticize her for ambition amounts to little more than demanding that she stay in her place.”
I close my eyes and think of Dante and Fitzgerald and Hemingway, of my own great potential—a Towering Inferno in which I‘m trapped at the top. I place myself at the end of a long line of great authors, a top ten list of literary insomniacs. Dante, Fitzgerald, Hemingway ... What great works might I yet write? I could become a great author! I could become ... I could become ...
“I learned in that courtroom that the rights of the victim do not equate with the rights of the defendant. Anything can be said about the dead, and much was, but the killer‘s grave past offenses as a beater of women were kept from the jury. The testimony of another of his victims, who had been hospitalized as a result of his acts of violence was, inexplicably, ruled inadmissible."
“There is a fine red heart in there. And yes, there is,” she said. I could feel her ear and cheek against my back. She pressed harder, “it pounds and thumps and wallops and groans.” I leaned forward away from her, though there was little room, but her head came straight along with me. “Oh, it‘s a merry thing, this heart of yours,” she said, “it‘s like a drink in a small glass on the deck of a storm tossed ship. Or a shout in a fiery room.”
“The demand for commercial sex will never go away. Neither will the internet; they‘re stuck with each other. It may no longer even matter anymore whether the sale of sex among consenting adults is wrong or right, immoral or empowering. What‘s clear is that no good can come from pretending that the people who participate in prostitution don‘t exist. That, after all, is what the killer was counting on.”
“Henry‘s almost complete lack of episodic memories is difficult to relate to. We are a storytelling species, and we spend a great deal of our time stringing the facts of our pasts into narratives in the present. A mind unable to do so can seem like a fundamentally alien mind.”
“As the 20th century ends, Americans have learned that no story is all heroes. Indeed, we some times feel that heroes don‘t really exist.”
If there‘s an argument to be made for single-payer healthcare system with mental health and substance abuse coverage, this is the lumpy ground on which to make it: a gravel lot in which upward of 3,000 Appalachians camp out for days in hundred degree heat to be treated in exam rooms cobbled together from bedsheets and clothes pins.