Sometimes the best way to figure out who you are is to get to that place where you don't have to be anything else.
I think the act of reading imbues the reader with a sensitivity toward the outside world that people who don't read can sometimes lack. I know it seems like a contradiction in terms; after all reading is such a solitary, internalizing act that it appears to represent a disengagement from day-to-day life. But reading, and particularly the reading of fiction, encourages us to view the world in new and challenging ways...It allows us to inhabit the consciousness of another which is a precursor to empathy, and empathy is, for me, one of the marks of a decent human being.
...He wanted to hear her concerns and alleviate them, he wanted to hold her and kiss her and convince her that he would find a way to make their relationship work, no matter how hard that might be. He wanted to to make her hear his words: that he couldn't imagine a lofe without her,that his feelings for her were real. But most of all, he wanted to reassure himself that she felt the same way about him.
You have absolutely no regard but yourself and your damned kicks. All you think about is what's hanging between your legs and how much money or fun you can get out of people and then you just throw them aside. Not only that but you're silly about it. It never occurs to you that life is serious and that there are people trying to make something decent out of it instead of just goofing all the time.
Just the word beautiful was seductive - but what did it really mean? Beauty was a soft word that ached with possibility, pliant as dough. You could not presume to define it, she realized, because the very idea of beauty and all it represented was a subjective thing - in the eye of the beholder - but that wasn't really true anymore.
Maybe the first time you saw her you were ten. She was standing in the sun scratching her legs. Or tracing letters in the dirt with a stick. Her hair was being pulled. Or she was pulling someone's hair. And a part of you was drawn to her, and a part of you resisted--wanting to ride off on your bicycle, kick a stone, remain uncomplicated. In the same breath you felt the strength of a man, and a self-pity that made you feel small and hurt. Part of you thought: Please don't look at me. If you don't, I can still turn away. And part of you thought: Look at me.
You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go. It is the basic condition of life, to be required to violate your own identity. At some time, every creature which lives must do so. It is the ultimate shadow, the defeat of creation; this is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life. Everywhere in the universe.
Everyone defends his treasure, and will do so automatically.The real questions are, what do you treasure, and how much do you treasure it? Once you have learned to consider these questions and to bring them into all your actions, you will have little difficulty in clarifying the means. The means are available whenever you ask. You can, however, save time if you do not protract this step unduly. The correct focus will shorten it immeasurably.