At times I believed that the last page of my book and the last page of my life were one and the same, that when my book ended I'd end, a great wind would sweep through my rooms carrying the pages away, and when the air cleared of all those fluttering white sheets the room would be silent, the chair where I sat empty.
Only now that my son was gone did I realize how much I'd been living for him. When I woke up in the morning it was because he existed, and when I ordered food it was because he existed, and when I wrote my book it was because he existed to read it.
We met each other when we were young, before we knew enough about disappointment, and once we did we found we reminded each other of it.
Bruno, my old faithful. I haven't sufficiently described him. Is it enough to say he is indescribable? No. Better to try and fail than not to try at all.
Part of me is made of glass, and also, I love you.
When I got older I decided I wanted to be a real writer. I tried to write about real things. I wanted to describe the world, because to live in an undescribed world was too lonely.
Every year, the memories I have of my father become more faint, unclear, and distant. once they were vivid and true, then they became like photographs, and now they are more like photographs of photographs.
Put even a fool in front of the window and you'll get a Spinoza; in the end life makes window watchers of us all
When they write my obituary. Tomorrow. Or the next day. It will say, Leo Gursky is survived by an apartment full of shit
For her I changed pebbles into diamonds, shoes into mirrors, I changed glass into water, I gave her wings and pulled birds from her ears and in her pockets she found the feathers, I asked a pear to become a pineapple, a pineapple to become a lightbulb, a lightbulb to become the moon, and the moon to become a coin I flipped for her love...
She was gone, and all that was left was the space you'd grown around her, like a tree that grows around a fence. For a long time, it remained hollow. Years, maybe. And when at last it was filled again, you knew that the new love you felt for a woman would have been impossible without Alma. If it weren't for her, there would never have been an empty space, or the need to fill it.
When we went into the ocean, I watched his body as he dove into the waves, and it gave me a feeling in my stomach that wasn't an ache but something different.
He died alone because he was too embarrassed to phone anyone.
Sometimes I thought about nothing and sometimes I thought about my life. At least I made a living. What kind of living? A living. It wasn't easy. I found out how little is unbearable.
Wittgenstein once wrote that when the eye sees something beautiful, the hand wants to draw it. I wish I could draw you.
He learned to live with the truth. Not to accept it, but to live with it.
Sometimes just to paint a head you have to give up the whole figure. To paint a leaf, you have to sacrifice the whole landscape. It might seem like you're limiting yourself at first, but after a while you realize that having a quarter of an inch of something you have a better chance of holding on to a certain feeling of the universe than if you pretended to be doing the whole sky.
Herman slipped his hand into mine, and I thought, An average of seventy-four species become extinct every day, which was one good reason but not the only one to hold someone's hand, and the next thing that happened was we kissed each other, and I found I knew how, and I felt happy and sad in equal parts, because I knew that I was falling in love, but it wasn't with him.
Sometimes no length of string is long enough to say the thing that needs to be said. In such cases all the string can do, in whatever its form, is conduct a person's silence.
I finally understood that no matter what I did, or who I found, I-he-none of us-would ever be able to win over the memories she had of Dad, memories that soothed her even while they made her sad, because she'd built a world out of them she knew how to survive on even if no one else could.
That's what I do. Watch movies and read. Sometimes I even pretend to write, but I'm not fooling anyone. Oh, and I go to the mailbox.
I left the library. Crossing the street, I was hit head-on by a brutal loneliness. I felt dark and hollow. Abandoned, unnoticed, forgotten, I stood on the sidewalk, a nothing, a gatherer of dust. People hurried past me. and everyone who walked by was happier than I. I felt the old envy. I would have given anything to be one of them.
The moment had passed, the door between the lives we could have led and the lives we led had shut in our faces.
A couple months after my heart attack, fifty-seven years after I'd given it up, I started to write again. I did it for myself alone, not for anyone else, and that was the difference. It didn't matter if I found the words, and more than that, I knew it would be impossible to find the right ones.
I often wonder who will be the last person to see me alive. If I had to bet, it would be on the delivery boy from the Chinese take-out. I order in four nights out of seven. Whenever he comes I make a big production of finding my wallet. He stands in the door holding the greasy bag while I wonder if this is the night I'll finish off my spring roll, climb into bed, and have a heart attack in my sleep.
The oldest emotion in the world may be that of being moved; but to describe it-just to name it-must have been like trying to catch something invisible.
After all who doesn't wish to make a spectacle of their loneliness
I try to make a point of being seen. Sometimes when I'm out, I'll buy a juice even when I'm not thirsty. If the store is crowded I'll even go so far as dropping change all over the floor, nickels and dimes skidding in every direction. All I want is not to die on a day I went unseen.
The truth is the thing I invented so I could live.
All the times I have suddenly realized that my parents are dead, even now, it still surprises me, to exist in the world while that which made me has ceased to exist
I want to say somewhere: I've tried to be forgiving. And yet. There were times in my life, whole years, when anger got the better of me. Ugliness turned me inside out. There was a certain satisfaction in bitterness. I courted it. It was standing outside, and I invited it in.
The way Misha tells it, he drove like a blind man, giving the car almost full independence to feel its way along, bumping off things, only giving the wheel a spin with the tips of this fingers when the situation verged on life threatening.
And if the man who once upon a time had been a boy who promised he'd never fall in love with another girl as long as he lived kept his promise, it wasn't because he was stubborn or even loyal. He couldn't help it.
In the beginning it was always the same. But. I kept trying. Then one day I accidentally moved as the shutter clicked. A shadow appeared. The next time I saw the outline of my face, and a few weeks later my face itself. It was the opposite of disappearing.
Then I turned the page and at the top it said THINGS I MISS ABOUT M and there was a list of 15 things, and the first was THE WAY HE HOLDS THINGS. I did not understand how you can miss the way somebody holds things.
And it's like some tiny nothing that sets off a natural disaster halfway across the world, only this was the opposite of disaster, how by accident she saved me with that thoughtless act of grace, and she never knew, and how that, too, is the part of the history of love.
It's strange what the heart can do when the mind is giving the directions.
Then she kissed him. Her kiss was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
At first Babel longed for the use of just two words: Yes and No. But he knew that just to utter a single word would be to destroy the delicate fluency of silence.
Later - when things happened that they could never have imagined - she wrote him a letter that said: When will you learn that there isn't a word for everything
There are so many ways to be alive, but only one way to be dead.
At the end, all that's left of you are your possessions. Perhaps that's why I've never been able to throw anything away. Perhaps that's why I hoarded the world: with the hope that when I died, the sum total of my things would suggest a life larger than the one I lived.
Now that mine is almost over, I can say that the one thing that struck me most about life is the capacity for change. One day you're a person and the next day they tell you you're a dog. At first it's hard to bear, but after a while you learn not to look at it as a loss. There's even a moment when it becomes exhilarating to realize just how little needs to stay the same for you to continue the effort they call, for lack of a better word, being human.
These things are lost to oblivion like so much about so many who are born and die without anyone taking the time to write it all down. That Litvinoff had a wife who was so devoted is, to be frank, the only reason anyone knows anything about him at all.
More Nicole Krauss Quotations (Based on Topics)
World - Life - Love - Faces - Memory - Truth - Silence - Mind - Man - Time - Night - Efforts - Charity - Library - Space - Cars - Hope - Fathers - Parents - View All Nicole Krauss Quotations
More Nicole Krauss Quotations (By Book Titles)
- The History of Love
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