[He: “It’s not like you need your head, right? I think you’re sexier without it.” She: “What?!” (Shinra and Celty, from Durarara!! For more information, see the note at the foot of this post.)]
From whiskey river:
I would not call this meditation, sitting in the back garden. Maybe I would call it eating light. Mystical traditions recognize two kinds of practice: apophatic mysticism, which is the dark surrender of Zen, the Via Negativa of John of the Cross, and kataphatic mysticism, less well defined: an openhearted surrender to the beauty of creation. Maybe Francis of Assissi was, on the whole, a kataphatic mystic, as was Thérèse of Lisieux in her exuberant moments: but the fact is, kataphatic mysticism has low status in religious circles. Francis and Thérèse were made, really made, any mother superior will let you know, in the dark nights of their lives: no more of this throwing off your clothes and singing songs and babbling about the shelter of God’s arms.
(Mary Rose O’Reilley [source])
The heart changes, and it is our worst sorrow; but we know it only through reading, through our imagination: in reality its alteration, like that of certain natural phenomena, is so gradual that, even if we are able to distinguish, successively, each of its different states, we are still spared the actual sensation of change.
(Marcel Proust [source])
Not from whiskey river:
Amused when she asks, is your wife Jewish? and,
because it’s easier, because I don’t
want to think, I answer yes. It’s the first time.
Later, a pushy man wants to know my
son’s birthday. Confused, I make him younger
and the shift of dates feels so natural
I let it stand. Then it’s happening with family
names, with where I work, how long, with
whom — minor changes in my vita, small alterations,
other lives, one variant for this person,
another for that, as though I were picking out
ballpoint pens or books, rummaging for
keep-sakes to give away, a different self to
each, each time. Months pass before I
catch on too and admit I’ve done what I did out of
caution, an attempt to screen the self,
erase the scent, obscure the trail with a series
of dead-ends until no one could thread
a way ahead through those dense thickets back to
me, reeking of fear. what did I think I
had worth hiding and who was I trying to deceive?
Tell me: surrounded by those casual lies
fabricating with disarming aplomb, why didn’t I ask
whose escape I imagined I was fashioning?
(Mark Halperin [source])
Retouching [photos] is here to stay. Technology doesn’t move backward… I do see a future in which we all retouch the bejeezus out of our own pictures at home. Family Christmas cards will just be eyes and nostrils in a snowman border.
(Tina Fey [source])
After bedtime the child climbed on her dresser
and peeled phosphorescent stars off the sloped
gable-wall, dimming the night vault of her ceiling
like a haze or the interfering glow
of a great city, small hands anticipating
eons as they raided the playful patterns
her father had mapped for her — black holes now
where the raised thumb-stubs and ears of the Bat
had been, the feet of the Turtle, wakeful
eyes of the Mourning Dove. She stuck those paper
stars on herself. One on each foot, the backs
of her hands, navel, tip of nose and so on,
then turned on the lamp by her bed and stood close
like a child chilled after a winter bath
pressed up to an air duct or a radiator
until those paper stars absorbed more light
than they could hold. Then turned off the lamp,
walked out into the dark hallway and called.
Her father came up. He heard her breathing
as he clomped upstairs preoccupied, wrenched
out of a rented film just now taking grip
on him and the child’s mother, his day-end
bottle of beer set carefully on the stairs,
marking the trail back down into that evening
adult world — he could hear her breathing (or
really, more an anxious, breathy giggle) but
couldn’t see her, then in the hallway stopped,
mind spinning to sort the apparition
of fireflies hovering ahead, till he sensed
his daughter and heard in her breathing
the pent, grave concentration of her pose,
mapped onto the star chart of the darkness,
arms stretched high, head back, one foot slightly raised —
the Dancer, he supposed, and all his love
spun to centre with crushing force, to find her
momentarily fixed, as unchanging
as he and her mother must seem to her,
and the way the stars are; as if the stars are.
(Steven Heighton [source])
About the image: This is a frame from the anime series Durarara!! (based on an illustrated light novel series of the same name; the title means nothing at all and is, per Wikipedia, “often romanized as DRRR!!“). Arguably the series’ main character, the young lady on the right is one Celty Sturluson — actually a varietyof fairy folk known as a dullahan: a headless creature from Irish mythology who goes about on horseback (updated in the series to a motorcycle). Unlike a typical dullahan, however, Celty does not carry her head under one arm; in fact, she seems to have lost it. (And you thought you had problems.) Much of the series’ action is devoted to her efforts to find the missing head (if it gets destroyed, she herself will be as well). She’s often seen instead in a bright-yellow motorcycle helmet, which — while moderately disturbing — alarms humans rather less than the alternative.
Celty lives with a young man named Shinra. In the image above, Shinra confesses to Celty that, y’know, he doesn’t really mind her headlessness, so maybe she should just… relax. (The shadow/smoke swirling from her neck is in fact a mysterious dark substance which Celty can manipulate to form various useful objects, including her suit.)
The invaluable (and endlessly entertaining) TV Tropes site uses this image to illustrate the trope it calls Freakiness Shame:
A character has some fantastical characteristic, such as wings, or horns, or a tail, of which they are deeply ashamed. They may have been born with them, they may have transformed for one reason or another. Later, some other character (commonly, her love interest) catches a glimpse of these and assures the character that their wings, or horns, or tail, or whatever, are not in fact ugly but very attractive.