“We receive and we lose, and we must try to achieve gratitude; and with that gratitude to embrace with whole hearts whatever of life that remains after the losses.”—Andre Dubus II, Broken Vessels. Epigraph from The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves by Stephen Grosz
“In the burned house I am eating breakfast.
You understand: there is no house, there is no breakfast,
yet here I am.”—Margaret Atwood, from “Morning in the Burned House.” Epigraph from A House in the Sky by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
“Quicksand years that whirl me I know not whither,
Your schemes, politics, fail—lines give way—substances mock and elude me,
Only the theme I sing, the great and strong-possess’d Soul, eludes not,
One’s-self must never give way—that is the final substance—that out of all is sure,
Out of politics, triumphs, battles, life—what at last finally remains?
When shows break up, what but One’s-Self is sure?”—Walt Whitman, “Quicksand Years.” Epigraph from The Valley of Amazement by Amy Tan
“Besides this earth, and besides the race of men, there is an invisible world and a kingdom of spirits: that world is around us, for it is everywhere.”—Charlotte Bronte. Epigraph from The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
“Could I revive within me
Her symphony and song,
To such a deep delight ‘twould win me,
That with music loud and long,
I would build that dome in air,”—Samuel Coleridge. Epigraph from Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares.
“There is nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged to find the ways in which you yourself have altered.”—Nelson Mandela. Epigraph from The Second Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
“You will make all kinds of mistakes; but as long as you are generous and true and also fierce you cannot hurt the world or even seriously distress her.”—Winston Churchill. Epigraph from The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.””—1 Samuel 16:7. Epigraph from David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
“Most of you, I am sure, remember the tragic circumstances of the death of Geoffrey Clifton at Gilf Kebir, followed later by the disappearance of his wife, Katharine Clifton, which took place during the 1939 desert expedition in search of Zerzura.
I cannot begin this meeting tonight without referring very sympathetically to those tragic occurrences.
The lecture this evening…”—From the minutes of the Geographical Society meeting of November 194-, London. Epigraph of The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje.
“The joyful will stoop with sorrow, and when you have gone to the earth I will let my hair grow long for your sake, I will wander through the wilderness in the skin of a lion.”—The Epic of Gilgamesh. Epigraph from In the Skin of a Lion by Michael Ondaatje.
“Who you lookin for
What was his name
you can prob’ly find him
at the football game
it’s a small town
you know what I mean
it’s a small town, son
and we all support the team.”—James McMurtry. Epigraph from Under the Dome by Stephen King
“The best thing which eternal law ever ordained was that it allowed us one entrance into life, but many exits.”—Seneca, Letters to Lucilius (70). Epigraph from The 39 Deaths of Adam Strand by Gregory Galloway.
“I prithee, take thy fingers from my throat,
For though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I something in me dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand.”—From Hamlet by William Shakespeare. Epigraph from Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
Why were you born when the snow was falling?
You should have come to the cuckoo’s calling,
Or when grapes are green in the cluster,
Or, at least, when lithe swallows muster
For their far off flying
From summer dying.
Why did you die when the lambs were cropping?
You should have died at the apples’ dropping,
When the grasshopper comes to trouble,
And the wheat-fields are sodden stubble,
And all winds go sighing
For sweet things dying.
”—Christina G. Rossetti, “A Dirge.” Epigraph from The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith.