"When you moved away for college he started scouring thrift stores on weekends for hidden treasures, selling them back to the bookstores in Berkeley for pocket money or store credit. In the heyday of his collection going home for a visit was like living inside a used bookstore curated by someone who loved you, who’d shaped your sensibilities and sense of humor through dinner table puns and drinking-song lullabies, who’d taken you on walks when you were sad or anxious for some forgotten teenage reason."
"After Sara left, I considered the matter settled. The crowd was unanimously against the unbearable living conditions and no one could point out a plan better than removing the large bins of rubbish altogether. We continued to party. At around 3 am, Tanya and Anita walked in, preoccupied. They sat down on the longer portion of the couch and ignoring everybody, un-paused a previous conversation. I couldn’t hear it but I had a pretty good idea what it was about. Sometimes, having a pretty good idea is much better. Here’s the idea: Anita was gearing up to leave for the US of A. Tanya was obviously not too happy. I get it. She’d miss her. What else is there to do here? What could she do? But Anita had ambitious plans and she wasn’t giving them up just to be realistically happy here with her girlfriend. What if she found something that could increase her happiness exponentially? Isn’t that a “what-if” worth chasing? And by the way, I get THAT too. Chasing is its own happiness, first. Second...
"The head hung in the tree. The body lay by the tracks. The head called to the body. The body to the head. They missed each other. The missing grew large between them, Until it pulled the heart right out of the body, until The drawn heart flew toward the head, flew as a bird flies Back to its cage and the familiar perch from which it trills."
"A defunct drive-in (its overgrown weeds, missing letter marquees),
the thud of landing gear on late night flights,
the vacant apartment next door,
the empty husk of a payphone,
scratched lottery tickets in a liquor store lot, the way
any bartender sets down a napkin."
"That’s really interesting. I actually never noticed how Zen the line 'I come from a place where the water’s emptiness' is. You’re right, there is a kind of holding, repose, there. It's hard for me to notice my own calm, sometimes! I think the failure of the sublime is part of the sublime. For whatever reason, I have this emotional rhythm when I write. I write something beautiful, and then something to knock it all down. But then the knocked down thing is kind of pretty, too."
"If there's one phrase that I should probably tattoo on my forehead it is this: 'I'm not the story you made of me.' The more people I can convince to hold that mantra, the more I'll have been of good use in my life. We don't have to accept the stories we inherit, the ones that tell us who we're supposed to be. We can stand up and say no at any point, even if we've been saying yes our entire lives. It's never too late. We can always reject the story placed on top of us, and we can always revise and destroy one story and restore another. It's a never-ending possibility."
"They spill their stories before the solid ground can make them fast. They tell of days when the sun never sets or never rises, birds that swim but cannot fly, great fish that sing, of smoking mountains, shrieking ice, forests where men become trees, one-footed men, dog-headed men, waves as high as cathedral bells, seas as still as death. They have sailed so far they have gazed at unfamiliar stars and wondered how they are to find their way back."