Dude, I don't want to talk about Lacey's prom shoes. And I'll tell you why: I have this thing that makes me really uninterested in prom shoes. It's called a penis.
So afterward, while I was getting eviscerated by chemo, for some reason I decided to feel really hopeful. Not about survival but I felt like Anna does in the book, that feeling of excitement and gratitude about just being able to marvel at it all.
I was surprised. I'd always associated belief in heaven with, frankly, a kind of intellectual disengagement. But Gus wasn't dumb.
I could imagine it. I could remember it. But I couldn't see it again, and it occured to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.
And I told myself -- as I've told myself before -- that the body shuts down then the pain gets too bad, that consciousness is temporary, that this will pass. But just like always, I didn't slip away. I was left on the shore with the waves washing over me, unable to drown.
Abraham Maslow, I present to you Augustus Waters, whose existential curiosity dwarfed that of his well-fed, well-loved, healthy brethren.
Augustus asked if I wanted to go with him to Support Group, but I was really tired from my busy day of Having Cancer, so I passed.
The real heroes anyway aren't the people doing things; the real heroes
are the people NOTICING things, paying attention. The guy who invented the smallpox vaccine didn't actually invent anything. He just noticed that people with cowpox didn't get smallpox.
Gus knew. Gus knows. I will not tell you our love story, because--like all real love stories--it will die with us, as it should. I'd hoped that he'd be eulogizing me.
He wasn't perfect or anything. He wasn;t your fairytale prince charming or whatever. He tried to be like that sometimes,but i liked him best when that stuff fell away.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity.
I cannot tell you how thankful I am for our little infinity. I wouldn't trade it for the world. You gave me a forever within the numbered days, and I'm grateful.
I think when you're 16, if you have good parents, they generally just fade in the background. I had great parents, and because they were great, I thought very little about them in high school.
I hated sports. I hated sports, and I hated people who played them, and I hated people who watched them, and I hated people who didn't hate people who watched or played them.
Suffering is universal.
Suffering is universal. it's the one thing Buddhists, Christians, and Muslims are all worried about.
Every second of your definitionally temporary consciousness, you are choosing how you spend something that will not last forever.
Here's to all the places we went. And all the places we'll go. And here's to me, whispering again and again and again and again: iloveyou.
We're professional worriers. You're constantly imagining things that could go wrong and then writing about them.
I inherited that penchant for intellectualism, a character flaw that these days can only be thoroughly eradicated by getting Z'ed up.
I'm interested in Internet cultures. I'm interested in what the teenagers who drive the Internet culture are passionate about. I follow their lead -- they go to tumblr, I go to tumblr.
Jesus, I'm not going to be one of those people who sits around talking about what they're going to do. I'm just going to do it.
I didn't know whether to feel angry at her for making me part of her suicide or just to feel angry at myself for letting her go.
I have never really thought of him as a person, either.... A guy whose strings were broken, who didn't feel the root of his leaves of grass connected to the field, a guy who was cracked. Like me.
And I will forget her, yes. That which came together will fall apart slowly, but she will forgive my forgetting, just as I forgive her for forgetting me and the Colonel and nothing but herself and her mom in those last moments as she spent as a person.
Like the way the sun is right now, with the long shadows, and that kind of bright, soft light you get when the sun isn't quite setting? That's the light that makes everything better, everything prettier, and today, everything just seemed to be in that light.
Neither novels or their readers benefit from any attempts to divine whether any facts hide inside a story. Such efforts attack the very idea that made-up stories can matter, which is sort of the foundational assumption of our species.
I wouldn't have cared if my girlfriend was a Jaguar-driving Cyclops with a beard -- I'd have been grateful just to have someone to make out with.
We're not going to break anything. Don't think of it as breaking in to SeaWorld. Think of it as visiting SeaWorld in the middle of the night for free.
Daddy is trying really fugging hard to think of a not-terrifying reason why you'd wake Daddy up in the middle of the night to ask that fugging question. But no. No. Daddy does not have a match or a lighter.
But there she is, and I am watching her through the Plexiglas, and she looks like Margo Roth Spiegelman, this girl I have known since I was two -- this girl who was an idea that I loved.
I always got very nervous whenever I heard that Margo was about to show up, on account of how she was the most fantastically gorgeous creature that God has ever created.
I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters.
But my miracle was different. My miracle was this: out of all the houses in all the subdivisions in all of Florida, I ended up living next door to Margo Roth Spiegelman.
I wondered whether I could find a Great Perhaps here at all or whether I had made a grand miscalculation.
It looked like an old painting, but real -- everything achingly idyllic in the morning light -- and I thought about how wonderfully strange it would be to live in a place where almost everything had been built by the dead.
If my public existence does anything worthwhile, hopefully it at least demystifies the author a bit, because I know when I was younger I felt like authors were like wizards or something. Turns out they're total muggles.
Colin Singleton's distance from his glasses made him realize the problem: myopia. He was nearsighted. The future lay before him, inevitable but invisible.
Real gangster-ass Nerdfighters don't run from nothing... 'cause real gangster-ass Nerdfighters can't run fast.
Just move to the Internet, its great here. We get to live inside where the weather is always awesome.
Nerd girls are the world's most underutilized romantic resource. And guys, do not tell me that nerd girls are not hot because that shows a Paris Hilton-esque failure to understand hotness.
I don't see any point in nihilism... just as I suppose the nihilist sees no point in everything else.
The idea is that for ten minutes, we forget that we have feelings. And we forget about protecting ourselves or other people and we just say the truth. For ten minutes. And then we can go back to being lame.
In the end, what makes a book valuable is not the paper it's printed on, but the thousands of hours of work by dozens of people who are dedicated to creating the best possible reading experience for you.
Tiny Cooper is not the world's gayest person, and he is not the world's largest person, but I believe he may be the world's largest person who is really, really gay, and also the world's gayest person who is really, really large.
The problem with chameleoning your way through life is that it gets to the point where nothing is real.
It occurred to me that the voracious ambition of humans is never sated by dreams coming true, because there is always the thought that everything might be done better and again.
It felt like everything was rising up in me, like I was drowning in this weirdly painful joy, but I couldn't say it back. I just looked at him and let him look at me until he nodded, lips pursed and turned away, placing the side of his head against the window.
Part of not being a self-centered asshole, Colin reasoned, is doing things with your friends even when you don't want to.
Oh, Wikipedia, with your tension between those who would share knowledge and those who would destroy it.
When we think of death, we often imagine it as happening in degrees: We think of a sick person becoming less and less alive until finally they are gone.
And yet still I worried. I like being a person. I wanted to keep at it. Worry is yet another side effect of dying.
He may be a malevolent sorcerer, but Tiny Cooper is his own goddamned man, and if he wants to be a gigantic skipper, then that's his right as a huge American.
The beautiful thing about driving was that it stole just enough of his attention -- car parked on the side, maybe a cop, slow to speed limit, time to pass this sixteen-wheeler, turn signal, check rearview, crane neck to check blind spot and yes, okay, left lane.
One of the jobs of a writer is to add nuance and ambiguity to that straight line that people often draw to very specific kinds of heroism. Most of us don't get to be Snooki. For most of us heroism has to be in our everyday lives.
I couldn't hear a thing in the world but you. And it was so cold then, and so silent, and I loved you so much. Now it's hot and dead quiet again, and I love you still.
Agustus asked if I wanted to go with him to Support Group, but I was really tired from my busy day of Having Cancer, so I passed.
You either have a great social life and shitty taste in music, or a fantastic taste in music with barely any social life.
I love you. Not like a sister loves a brother or like a friend loves a friend. I love you like a really drunk guy loves the best girl ever.
You're not a little kid anymore. You need to make friends, get out of the house, and live your life.
I feel like, like, how you matter is defined by the things that matter to you. You matter as much as the things that matter to you.
It's so easy to get stuck. You just get caught in being something, being special or cool or whatever, to the point where you don't even know why you need it; you just think you do.
The truth hurts because it's real. It hurts because it mattered. And that's an important thing to acknowledge to yourself.
When you say nasty things about people, you should never say the true ones, because you can't really fully and honestly take those back.
When you say nasty things about people, you should never say the true ones, because you can't really fully and honestly take those back..
The French verb aimer has two meanings. And that's why he liked her, and loved her. She spoke to him in a language that, no matter how hard you studied it, could not be completely understood.
I realize that they giggle and I actually laugh, that they show their cleavage and I have none to show, but just so you know, I am also a girl. I'm one of the three wise MEN. And it's gay to think that James Bond is hot.
Talking to a drunk person was like talking to an extremely happy, severely brain-damaged three-year-old.
On some fundamental level we find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are.
There comes a time when we realize that our parents cannot save themselves or save us, that everyone who wades through time eventually gets dragged out to sea by the undertow- that, in short, we are all going.
For me, the hero's journey is not the voyage from weakness to strength. The true hero's journey is the voyage from strength to weakness.
People talk about the courage of cancer patients, and I do not deny that courage. I had been poked and stabbed and poisoned for years, and still I trod on. But make no mistake: In that moment, I would have been very, very happy to die.
You know what ambrosia tastes like? It tastes like all the things you can't eat on Weight Watchers. Cheeseburgers, sugar cookies, regular freaking ice cream instead of, like, ice cream that's made out of air and human hope.
And as we kept driving north, the whole family in the care together, it got darker, and snowier, until finally the road delivered us to the one place that all my youthful trips west never could: home.
Just a word of advice. Whenever you're furious with your parents or you think they're terrible, just remember, you vomited on them and they kept you.
You can't just make yourself matter and then die, Alaska, because now I am irretrievably different.
You can't just make yourself matter and then die, Alaska, because now I am irretrievably different, and I'm sorry I let you go, yes, but you made the choice. You left me Perhapsless, stuck in your goddamned labyrinth. And now I don't even know if you chose the straight and fast way out, if you left me like this on purpose. And so I never knew you, did I? I can't remember, because I never knew.
I could try to pretend that I didn't care anymore, but it could never be true again. You can't just make yourself matter, and then die, Alaska, because now, I am irretrievably different, and I'm sorry I let you go, yes, but you made the choice.
Only now that I loved a grenade did I understand the foolishness of trying to save others from my own impending fragmentation: I couldn't unlove Augustus Waters. And I didn't want to.
I'm a grenade and at some point I'm going to blow up and I would like to minimize the casualties, okay?
We must strike down the insidious lie that a book is the creation of an individual soul labouring in isolation. We must strike it down because it threatens the overall quality and breadth of American literature.
Meanwhile I was thinking that if half the cells in side of you are not you, doesn't that challenge the whole notion of me as a singular pronoun, let alone as the author of my fate?
We have to live with ambiguity. We have to give ourselves over to it. The question is: How? How are we going to live in a universe where important questions will always go unanswered?
Whether you're studying electrical engineering or poetry, college is not about maximizing income, it's about becoming a better and more informed observer of the universe. And for me, at least, that what's leads to a more fulfilling life.
It has been my experience that maximizing income is a helluva lot less important than maximizing passion and fulfillment in your both professionally and personally.
And I wondered if hurdlers ever thought, you know, This would go faster if we just got rid of the hurdles.
He kept thinking about one word--forever--and felt the burning ache just beneath his rib cage. It hurt like the worst ass-kicking he'd ever gotten.
That's the mystery, isn't it? Is the labyrinth living or dying? Which is he trying to escape -- -the world or the end of it?
After all this time, it seems to me like straight and fast is the only way out- but I choose the labyrinth. The labyrinth blows, but I choose it.
Their sneak-out was over. But by then it was too late. In his mind, Katherine I was already becoming Katherine XIX. She would soon retake the throne that, all along, had rightfully been hers.
I had a moral opposition to eating before dawn on the grounds that I was not a nineteenth-century Russian peasant fortifying myself for a day in the fields.
Someday you're going to win the Nobel Prize for Being Incredibly Pedantic, and I'm going to be so proud of you.
I wanted to, you know, get my story out in the world, which, it turns out, is a very misguided notion.
She's the kind of person who either dies tragically at twenty-seven, like Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, or else grows up to win, like, the first-ever Nobel Prize for Awesome.
Here's my answer to the very real existential crisis that grips me midway through everything I've ever tried to do: I think stories help us fight the nihilistic urges that constantly threaten to consume us.
So if the inevitability of oblivion worries you, than I suggest you ignore it. God knows that's what the rest of the world does.
The problem is not suffering itself or oblivion itself but the depraved meaninglessness of these things, the absolutely inhuman nihilism of suffering.
We landed, in fact, parallel to a canal, like there were two runways: one for us and one for waterfowl.
The world went on, as it does, without my full participation, and I only woke up from the reverie when someone said my name.
I do think the idea of living your life to the fullest is a little flawed. Like, why is jumping out of an airplane inherently better than reading a book?
Or why is living a life that looks good on instagram inherently more meaningful than a life lived quietly?
I just don't buy it.
And then I was asleep. That deep, can-still-taste-her-in-my-mouth sleep, that sleep that is not particularly restful but difficult to wake up from all the same.
One of the challenges with pain -- physical or psychic -- is that we can really only approach it through metaphor. It can't be represented the way a table or a body can. In some ways, pain is the opposite of language.
There are something like a thousand times more microbes living in my particular biome than there are human beings on earth, and it often seems like I can feel them living and breeding and dying in and on me.
The way he talked about thoughts was the way I experienced them -- not as a choice but as a destiny. Not a catalog of my consciousness, but a refutation of it.
Him: Then what am I? What is anyone?
Her: I is the hardest word to define.
Him: Maybe you are what you can't not be.
If we restructure things to see that the hero's journey is a degree in astrophysics rather than a journey to star in a reality show, that's a better world.
Witness also that when we talk about literature, we do so in the present tense. When we speak of the dead, we are not so kind.