These Words That Wind Us Up

Every college student is at the same point I’m at right now – exasperated, annoyed, and completely fried. It’s that integral part of the semester where finals are every day, project due dates are fast approaching, and going to class on time (or at all) is a must.

So regardless of the fact that I’m completely overwhelmed with school work and regular work (working retail 25 + hours a weekend is mentally and physically exhausting…), I recently started reading the original scroll of Kerouac’s On The Road (courtesy of one of my many Shakespeare & Co. trips downtown). It’s the perfect thing to curl up with at the end of the day and it really incites a sense of adventure. I know it sounds incredibly pretentious but it’s imaginative, insightful, and poetic and truly, that’s really the point of this post.

I’ve compiled selections from all different pieces of literature that I find just as thought-provoking as Kerouac’s words and I hope you enjoy them just as much as I do.

“I shambled after as usual as I’ve been doing all my life after people that interest me, because the only people that interest me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones that never yawn or saw a commonplace thing… but burn, burn, burn like roman candles across the night.” [On The Road, Kerouac]

“You’re sweet the way you are. The things that’ll make you fail I’ll love always – the living in the past, the lazy days and nights you have. and all your carelessness and generosity… You’ve a place in my heart no one else ever could have, but tied down here I’d get restless. I’d feel I was – wastin’ myself. There’s two sides to me, you see. There’s the sleepy old side you love; an’ there’s a sort of energy – the feeling that makes me do wild things. That’s the part of that may be useful somewhere, that’ll last when I’m not beautiful any more.” [The Ice Palace, Fitzgerald]

“And sometimes remembering will lead to a story, which makes it forever. That’s what stories are for. Stories are for joining the past to the future. Stories are for those late hours in the night when you can’t remember how you got from where you were to where you are. Stories are for eternity, when memory is erased, when there is nothing to remember except the story.” [The Things They Carried, O’Brien]

“I’m not sentimental — I’m as romantic as you are. The idea, you know, is that the sentimental person thinks things will last — the romantic person has a desperate confidence that they won’t.” [This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald]

“Youth is like having a big plate of candy. Sentimentalists think they want to be in the pure, simple state they were in before they ate the candy. They don’t. They just want the fun of eating it all over again. The matron doesn’t want to repeat her girlhood–she wants to repeat her honeymoon. I don’t want to repeat my innocence. I want the pleasure of losing it again.” [This Side of Paradise, Fitzgerald]

“I was half in love with her by the time we sat down.  That’s the thing about girls.  Every time they do something pretty, even if they’re not much to look at, or even if they’re sort of stupid, you fall half in love with them, and then you never know where the hell you are.  Girls.  Jesus Christ.  They can drive you crazy.  They really can.” [Catcher in the Rye, Salinger]

“It never occurred to me that our lives, until then so closely interwoven, could unravel and separate over a thing like that. But the fact was, I suppose, there were powerful tides tugging us apart by then, and it only needed something like that to finish the task. If we’d understood that back then-who knows?-maybe we’d have kept a tighter hold of one another.” [Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro]


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