Quotenik
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love

“Your old lovers get to be your really old lovers, and you can’t remember who broke up with who, or who got mad at who—just that the two of you remember things that no one else in the world does.”

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source: “This Is What 80 Looks Like,” by Gail Collins, New York Times, March 22, 2014.

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medium: newspaper article

“I’d get an idea and wouldn’t know how to make it work, and she’d figure out how to make it work.”

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source: describing his wife, in “Toshi Seeger, Wife of Folk-Singing Legend, Dies at 91,” by Douglas Martin, New York Times, July 11, 2013.

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medium: Obituary

“Mother-love, in beasts and birds, can’t always be observed carefully, because of innate animal secrecy, but—to revisit an old Ohio highway for a moment—I once encountered a mother quail leading her young across the road in a single file. She diverted my attention from them by pretending to have a broken wing, and flopped around almost at my feet, in an exhibition of bravura acting something like that of the late Lionel Barrymore as Rasputin. When the small birds had disappeared into the deep grass, she flew calmly away and joined them.”

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source: “And So to Medve,” in Old Dogs Remembered, ed. by Bud Johns (New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, Inc., 1993), 27–28.

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medium: Essay

“Sometimes it is good fortune to be abandoned. While we are looking after our losses, our selves may slip back inside.”

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source: “An Average Sadness,” in I Thought My Father Was God (New York: Henry Holt, 2001), 379.

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medium: Essay

“I want to be your south wind—bringing good and fruitful things only.”

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source: letter to Henry Miller, October 8, 1933, in A Literate Passion: Letters of Anaïs Nin & Henry Miller, 1932–1953 (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1989), 215.

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medium: Letter

“I feel, sometimes, like I have a map in my pocket that folds up, and I pull it out, and it’s bigger than the table, and there’s a thousand places to go with her.”

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source: Interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air, NPR, October 31, 2011. [full transcript here]

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medium: Interview

“For a long time I have felt the tug of my soul toward you as though you must be ill or in trouble, and it has taken a great control for me not to attempt to find you. I never hear of you, and I don’t know where you are, for all I know you may be wandering in Europe again. I am not hysterical, nor suffering from any illness, I know only that I love you with undying and undefeated love. I am waiting to see your work, how much you have gained by your freedom from our separation.”

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source: letter to Thomas Wolfe, November 16, 1932, in My Other Loneliness: Letters of Thomas Wolfe and Aline Bernstein, ed. by Suzanne Stutman (Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press, 1983), 349.

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medium: Letter

“Dearest Eudora, what there is to say we have said, in one way or another.”

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source: letter to Eudora Welty, January 15, 1996, in What There Is to Say We Have Said, ed. by Suzanne Marrs (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011), 440.

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medium: Letter

“Do not allow yourself to be imprisoned by any affection. Keep your solitude. The day, if it ever comes, when you are given true affection there will be no opposition between interior solitude and friendship, quite the reverse. It is even by this infallible sign that you will recognize it.”

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source: Gravity and Grace (London: Routledge, 2002), 67.

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medium: Nonfiction

“…I’m extremely happy with her, and part of it has to do with the fact that she is at once completely familiar to me, so that I can be myself and she knows me very well and I trust her completely, but at the same time she is also a complete mystery to me in some ways. And there are times when we are lying in bed and I look over and sort of have a start. Because I realize here is this other person who is separate and different and has different memories and backgrounds and thoughts and feelings. It’s that tension between familiarity and mystery that makes for something strong, because, even as you build a life of trust and comfort and mutual support, you retain some sense of surprise or wonder about the other person.”

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source: “A Couple in Chicago,” interview by Mariana Cook, The New Yorker, January 19, 2009.

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medium: interview

notes: Interview originally conducted on May 26, 1996 by Mariana Cook, who visited the Obamas in Hyde Park as part of a photography project on couples in America.

“Love is vivid. I never wanted the pale version. Love is full strength. I never wanted the diluted version. I never shied away from love’s hugeness but I had no idea that love could be as reliable as the sun. The daily rising of love.”

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source: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (New York: Grove Press, 2011), 77.

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medium: Memoir

“Aunt Nellie cannot have had much money. Twice a week she had all the neighborhood children she could squeeze into her one room and she made onion soup or potato soup and all the children brought their own cup and she ladled it out off the stove.
        She taught them songs and she told them Bible stories and thirty or forty skinny hungry kids queued outside and sometimes brought things from their mothers—buns or toffees—and everybody shared. They all had nits. They all loved her and she loved them. She called her dank dark little house with its one window and black walls ‘Sunshine Corner.’
        It was my first lesson in love.”

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source: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? (New York: Grove Press, 2011), 75.

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medium: Memoir

“Of course it’s easy to see why they both overprotected me, why my father, before I could wear a new pair of shoes for the first time, made me wait while he took out his thin silver pocket knife and with the point of the blade scored the polished soles all over, carefully, in a diamond pattern, to prevent me from sliding on the polished floor when I ran.”

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source: One Writer’s Beginnings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 18–19.

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medium: Memoir

“I fell in love with football as I was later to fall in love with women: suddenly, inexplicably, uncritically, giving no thought to the pain or disruption it would bring with it.”

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source: “Home Debut: Arsenal v. Stoke City,” in Fever Pitch (New York: Riverhead Trade, 1992), 15.

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medium: Memoir

“I’m not lonely, and I think that has a lot to do with what’s on my bedside table rather than what’s in my bed.”

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source: “Michelle Williams: My Week with Michelle,” by Adam Green, Vogue, September 13, 2011.

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medium: Magazine profile

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