“My mother boils seawater. It sits all afternoon simmering on the stovetop, almost two gallons in a big soup pot. The windows steam up and the house smells like a storm. In the evening, a crust of salt is all that’s left at the bottom of the pot. My mother scrapes it out with a spoon. We each lick a fingertip and dip them in the salt and it’s softer than you’d think, less like sand and more like snow. We lay our fingertips on our tongues, right in the middle. It tastes like salt but like something else, too—wide, and dark. It tastes like drowning, or like falling asleep on the shore and only waking up when the tide has come up to your feet and you wonder if you’d gone on sleeping, would you have sunk?”
98 year old dobri dobrev, a man who lost his hearing in the second world war, walks 10 kilometers from his village in his homemade clothes and leather shoes to the city of sofia, where he spends the day begging for money.
though a well recognized fixture around several of the city’s chruches, known for his prostrations of thanks to all donors, it was only recently discovered that he has donated every penny he has collected — over 40,000 euros — towards the restoration of decaying bulgarian monasteries and churches and the utility bills of orphanages, living entirely off his monthly state pension of 80 euros and the kindness of others.
“I thought about my friend singing at the bar. She could’ve stayed home that night, and most of the people there wouldn’t have noticed or cared. She knew that. But she sang anyway. And you can go farther with this: most of the people in this town that night were in bed, and didn’t know there was music or drink specials at this bar, and most of the people in this state are only vaguely aware that this town exists—it is small, it is a six-hour drive from the state capital—and there are many maps of the United States that leave off our part of the country altogether. But my friend sang the same way she would’ve if a hundred people were listening, or a thousand, or if she were locked in a closet and singing to herself. She sang in spite of how small a thing it is to sing a song, in spite of how empty and sad the world sometimes seems. I’m stuck on this image—my friend moving her feet around on the floor, my friend’s hands pounding on her keyboard, my friend’s eyes fallen shut and her face coated in sweat—because I can’t think of a better answer to the ugliness of life than to bring your keyboard to the bar, to sing a song that no one will hear, to write a story that no one will read.”
“What is an adjective? Nouns name the world. Verbs activate the names. Adjectives come from somewhere else. The word adjective (epitheton in Greek) is itself an adjective meaning ‘placed on top’, ‘added’, ‘appended’, ‘foreign’. Adjectives seem fairly innocent additions, but look again. These small imported mechanisms are in charge of attaching everything in the world to its place in particularity. They are the latches of being.” —Anne Carson, The Autobiography of Red
"But that's what you do, the human race, make sense out of chaos, marking it out with...with weddings and Christmas and calendars. This whole process is beautiful, but only if it's being observed." -The 10th