Great paintings—people flock to see them, they draw crowds, they’re reproduced endlessly on coffee mugs and mouse pads and anything-you-like. And, I count myself in the following, you can have a lifetime of perfectly sincere museum-going where you traipse around enjoying everything and then go out and have some lunch. But if a painting really works down in your heart and changes the way you see and think and feel, you don’t think, ‘oh, I love this picture because it’s universal.’ ‘I love this painting because it speaks to all mankind.’ That’s not the reason anyone loves a piece of art. It’s a secret whisper from an alleyway. Psst, you. Hey kid. Yes you. An individual heart-shock. Your dream, Welty’s dream, Vermeer’s dream. You see one painting, I see another, the art book puts it at another remove still, the lady buying the greeting card at the museum gift shop sees something else entire and that’s not even to mention the people separated from us by time—four hundred years before us, four hundred years after we’re gone—it’ll never strike anybody the same way and the great majority of people it’ll never strike in any deep way at all but—a really great painting is fluid enough to work its way into the mind and heart through all kinds of different angles, in ways that are unique and very particular. Yours, yours. I was painted for you. And—oh, I don’t know, stop me if I’m rambling… but Welty himself used to talk about fateful objects. Every dealer and antiquaire recognizes them. The pieces that occur and recur. Maybe for someone else, not a dealer, it wouldn’t be an object. It’d be a city, a color, a time of day. The nail where your fate is liable to catch and snag.
Donna Tartt
Science is getting knocked on all sides these days, not only from religious fundamentalists, but from all kinds of people who perceive science as arrogant, one-sided and the source of the troubles that come with the technology it produces. It's true that individuL scientists can be so arrogant and narrowly focused, they're blind to any but their own truths and that new discoveries bring new problems with them. Still, I don't know many people who would refuse a biopsy for a newly discovered lump because they think science needs to be taken down a peg or two.Religion gets knocked for the same kinds of reasons as science: for its arrogance, narowmindedness and tendency to create more trouble than it's worth. Religion is also accused of concealing reality under a comforting blanket of measureless faith -- the flip side, perhaps of the scientist for whom nothing can be real until she has measured it.My own sojourn into religion convinced me that good religion reveals rather than conceals. Religion is the soul in search of itself and its relationship to the cosmos. This journey requires looking at all of it: the joy, the sorrow, the beauty and the horror of life. We hope for the best. We want meaning and love to exist not only in ourselves, but in the very soul of the universe. At times this great hope might tempt us to pick and choose only the data that supports our desires. But in religion as in boat-building, the design must be tested in all conditions. When I say that I am trying to pay attention and that paying attention means being willing to look at all of it, I think I am trying for the same moment of clarity that Graham experienced when the wind blew all over his theory. Looking at all of it is what good science is about. I believe that it's also what good religion is about.
Margaret D. McGee
Take this message to your people, you obsequious little worm, I murmured. Anyone who lays a hand on Jordan Amador will have to answer to me. Now do me a favor and go to hell.I removed my sword from his hand and then decapitated him. His severed head tumbled across the floor like a wayward bowling ball. Good riddance.I set my sword aside, found a stool in the corner and climbed up in front of Jordan. Her handcuffs were attached to a huge meat hook bolted into the ceiling. I lifted her off of it with great care, unsure if she had the strength to stand. As soon as her arms were free, she looped them around my shoulders and pressed her face against my neck. She was trembling, but not crying. I sank to the floor and cradled her in my lap, breathing out the last of my anger now that she was safe. ‘M sorry, she mumbled in a small voice. I’m so sorry, Michael.I snorted. What the hell do you have to apologize for? You got kidnapped. Pretty sure that’s not your fault.She shook her head, her words partially muffled as she pressed her face against my shirt. Should’ve been stronger. I could’ve gotten you killed.By Heckle and Jeckle here? Not likely.A shaky laugh rattled through her. She slid her fingers into the hairs along the nape of my neck and hugged me tighter. I knew from experience she didn’t want me to see her face because she knew she was only seconds away from breaking down. No one would ever accuse Jordan Amador of being a crybaby, not if she could help it. It was a ridiculous notion at best, but I indulged her anyway. Thank you.Just doing my job. But you’re welcome.I smoothed the sweaty hairs away from her forehead enough to kiss it. She didn’t move away. We stayed there for a while without speaking, just clinging to each other until we felt strong enough to separate.
Kyoko M.