Learning from Failure

It didn’t matter, but Sabik had just learned from his error. What felt like sneaking through enemy territory was actually a leash leading him in. What felt like craftily avoiding mines and sensors in an attempt to gather intelligence against their enemy was a carefully crafted path by his enemy. What felt like success was actually failure. He allowed himself to be led into a rebel kill zone like an animal to its slaughter. But could he escape?

Doom Sayer by Thane Keller

More Prop Than Person

I got the last word , the most genuine thing I could say out loud and not get kicked out of the rotation . What I wanted to say was that most of the patients are restlessly meandering , drooling , sleeping , or loitering around the nurses ’ station all day long . I wanted to comment on how they’re hunched over in a lobotomized line for a cupful of pills or a tray of food and look more like bizarre props than people. I wanted to tell him to forget the medication and give them something meaningful to do. But I didn’t say any of that.

Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair

Understanding Right and Wrong

It was only when I realized that I was a slave and not a slaver’s apprentice that I understood that what Archie was doing was a great wrong. Right and wrong had no meaning in my life until I was almost a woman. I learned some of it from my father, but he was not a talkative man. I began to understand when I knew the horsewomen, but I could never see it the way they did. They didn’t know what I knew.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

Assholes Remain Assholes

“I don’t understand it,” Katie went on. “A few months ago, people were literally dying in the street. Every one of us lost family, friends, neighbors. We’re all we have left, but people like the Mercers, like Kurt Rove, belittle and bad-talk those of us who, well, have something that might help get all of us through. Because they’re different.”

“I have a theory,” Arlys began. “Major, monumental crises bring out the best or the worst in us — sometimes both. And sometimes those major, monumental crises have no effect on certain types. Which means, no matter what the circumstances, assholes remain assholes.”

Year One (Chronicles of The One) by Nora Roberts

Expert Destruction

I’m in disbelief . The tension between Jamal and Dr . Patel is rising . Their cultures are relentlessly clashing right in front of my eyes , like a sword fight between wealthy India and West Philadelphia . My honest impression of Jamal is that he’s bright , sane and doesn’t need medication . If anyone sounds crazy , his mother does . Some part of me will not allow me to remain silent . Jamal’s young and smart , he has a future . He doesn’t need big – gun medications , and I’m overwhelmed with an urge to save him .

“ Dr . Patel , ” I respectfully say . “ When Jamal says he spits in the mirror , it means he’s rapping . He’s a rapper and that’s how he practices . ”

Dr . Patel stares at me blankly . Nothing registers . I’m a stupid , white girl. “But he hears voices . Why else would he talk to himself ? ” Dr . Patel asks.

“No , he spits . He raps . He’s not hearing voices . He’s practicing to be a musician,” I explain. The conversation continues in this relentlessly circular fashion . Nothing is sinking in . I give up and excuse myself to the bathroom. Let the “expert” seal the young man’s fate .

Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair

The Story Is All We Have

I cannot begin at the beginning; I wasn’t there. I cannot even begin at one particular moment in time; I do not remember how this got started. Neither does anybody else. We only know the story we are given, unless someone writes the truth of it down. And even then, it isn’t the whole truth. Only theirs. As this is mine.

I can only tell you what was told to me, and most of that was probably lies. The person who told me who I was and showed me my place in the world very seldom told the truth. I still believe that telling the story from the beginning is the only way to do it.

Whether it is true or not, it is the only story I have.

My name is Flora. This book is my life.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

Freaking Awesome

Saw the light shimmer around him , heard the voice clear and cool in his head . I’m Flynn .

“His name is Flynn.”

“Huh? How do you know?”

“He just told me. He has elfin blood.”

“He has … He’s an elf?” Mouth gaping open, Eddie swiveled around to look back . “Like , you know , Will Ferrell in the movie?”

With a delight he’d all but forgotten,  Max laughed. “Christ, Eddie, you never fail me. No , not like that. He’s magickal, and I have a strong feeling if we’d had any thoughts about causing trouble back there, we wouldn’t be driving away with supplies and propane.”

“Ain’t that some shit? I met a fucking elf. Well, I guess he’ll be all right then . And he’s got that big dog, too.”

“That’s not a dog. His name says what he is. Lupa. Wolf.”

“Now you’re shitting me. You’re not shitting me,” Eddie realized . “I gave a Milk-Bone to a wolf? I petted a wolf? That is freaking awesome! ”

“It’s a brave new world , Eddie.” Max made the turn at the bend . “It’s a brave new fucking world.”

Year One (Chronicles of The One) by Nora Roberts

Tattoo Relief

Tory continues to work while I mentally command my body to adjust to the pain and discomfort . The needle spills color under my skin. Tory doesn’t say a word . I break out in chills . My pain tolerance is high, but each time the needle hits, I feel a new, excruciating sting. It hurts but part of me loves it. All I can think about is the growling device marking my back, and not the morbid sentences in my pathology book. The physicality is a relief .

Manic Kingdom: A True Story of Breakdown and Breakthrough by Dr. Erin Stair

Books are Fragile

But books are so fragile. Paper and leather and wood cannot stand up to fire or water or time.

And there is one thing I know is true in this world: only what is remembered survives. Only what is written has a chance in the future. People forget. Rivers rise. Stories and songs are snuffed out every time some town takes a fever or loses to a man with a little power.

Destruction is common. Creation is rare.

Because I know this truth, I must do two things. First, I must collect and keep as many pieces of record and evidence as I can, to ensure that they do not pass out of this world. Second, I must write my own record so that it survives. I must write the people in my life into the record as well, just as the Midwife did, so that they survive, too. I sometimes do as she did, putting the book into their hands. I write it for them. I did it more when I was younger. I trusted too much then.

The Book of Flora (The Road to Nowhere 3) by Meg Elison

Perspectives on Film

On the way to Winchell’s I thought of my father’s and Theresa’s different reactions to horror stories. My father was secure in the fact that horror films were made up Hollywood productions created for spine-tingling entertainment, and Theresa’s take on the genre couldn’t have been more different. She believed that the cast and production team put themselves psychically in harm’s way when they created scenes about evil spirits and ghosts. The making of a horror movie, she had told me, attracted dark entities and put everyone at risk of possession or unfortunate accidents for participating; furthermore, she said that the essence of fear that the films provoked in an audience created a weakness in people’s auras, allowing entities of the lower realm to invade. She had warned that it was best to stay away from unenlightened films.

Synanon Kid Grows Up by C.A. Wittman