The Quote Quilt Contest: Week 20

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The Quote Quilt is a 20-week contest celebrating DDG’s 20th Anniversary. The idea is to create a story built entirely out of 20 consecutive quotes from 20 different books, one week at a time. Each week readers can submit one quote from any favorite book of theirs which builds upon the prior quotes thereby extending the story. The winning entry of the week will will be added to the story. The developing story will be posted here on the Bulldog each Tuesday afternoon. Entries should be posted below in the comments box and state which book the quote is from and which week of the contest it is being submitted for.

The Payoff
Everlasting Fame and a $5 Gift Certificate which can be picked up at the bookstore.

The Rules
There is no limit to the number of entries which can be submitted, nor the number of weeks one person can win. The only rules are that the book must be in print and the quote must logically further the narrative of the story. The quote can be as short as a single sentence or as long as paragraph. It is true that first person quotes, and quotes which are not too heavy on proper nouns have a leg up. Each book from which a winning quote entry is used will be put in a special display at the store

This Week’s Winner
Week 19 winner is Pierre for a quote from Algernon Blackwoods’ The Willows..

The Quilt To Date
“I didn’t set out to discover a truth. I was actually sent to the Outer Fringes to conduct a chair census and learn some humility. But the truth inevitably found me, as important truths often do, like a lost thought in need of a mind.”

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.”

“No matter what he does, every person on Earth plays a central role in the history of the world and normally he doesn’t know it.”

“We have so much time and so little to do. Strike that, reverse it!”

“Sometimes I think about how odd it would be to catch a glimpse of the future, a quick view of events lying in store for us at some undisclosed date. Suppose we could peer through a tiny peephole in Time and chance upon a flash of what was coming up in the years ahead? Some moments we saw would make no sense at all and some, I suspect, would frighten us beyond endurance.”

“And now I thought of oatmeal: in the winter, great steaming ladles of the stuff, gray, like lava dished from a volcano on the moon.”

“I am a cowardly man. I say it now, now that I have carried to its end a plan whose perilous nature no one can deny. I know its execution was terrible.”
“Seeing that before long I must confront humanity with the most difficult demand ever made of it, it seems indispensable to me to say who I am. Really, one should know it, for I have not left myself ‘without testimony.'”
“My mother is a fish.”

“Yours is a family of unusual traces,” a soothsaying neighbor once said.
“We are bred to survive,” the father answered, accidentally clipping the woman with his weed wacker, lacerating her ankles. “It is evolution — we keep what we need, we lose the rest.”

“I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun.”

“So I went to the shabby little monastic apartment where the grand piano glittered like a sneer in the midst of near-squalor and the books and papers piled on chairs and the old coffee cup with dried dregs inside… and where the friend of my youth received me as though he were not a Success and I were not a Failure (both spelled with capital letters), laid his hand on my shoulder, pronounced my name, looked at me from the ice-water-blue, abstract eyes which were a reproach to all uncertain, twisted, and clouded things and were as unwavering as conscience.”

“Your offer,” he said, “is far too idiotic to be declined.”

“I am often called an idiot, and at one time I certainly was so ill that I was nearly as bad as an idiot; but I am not an idiot now. How can I possibly be so when I know myself that I am considered one?”

“It was then that began our extensive travels all over the States.”

“All our family acquaintances have followed the same path: their youth spent trying to make the most of their intelligence, squeezing their studies like a lemon to make sure they’d secure a spot among the elite, then their entire lives wondering with a flabbergasted look on their faces why all that hopefulness has led to such a vain existence. People aim for the stars and they end up like goldfish in a bowl. I wonder if it wouldn’t be simpler just to teach children right from the start that life is absurd. That might deprive you of a few good moments in your childhood but it would save you a considerable amount of time as an adult — not to mention the fact that you’d be spared at least one traumatic experience, i.e. the goldfish bowl.”

“It is not unlike me that in heading toward the West I should travel east. That has always been my tendency. I was going to Deer Isle for a very good reason. My long-time friend and associate, Elizabeth Otis, has been going to Deer Isle every year. When she speaks of it, she gets an other-world look in her eyes and becomes completely inarticulate. When I planned my trip she said, “Of course you’ll stop at Deer Isle.”
“It’s out of my way.”
“Nonsense,” she said in a tone I know very well”.

“I began to wonder what it would be like. I wondered how time would have marred this unique, this holy spot–the coves and streams, the hills that the sun set behind, the camps and the paths behind the camps. I was sure that the tarred road would have found it out, and I wondered in what other ways it would be desolated. It is strange how much you can remember about places once you allow your mind to return into the grooves that lead back.”

“Perhaps I’m old and tired” he continued, ” but I always think that the chances of finding out what really is going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say hang the sense of it and just keep yourself occupied.”

“I threw myself upon him, flinging my arms about his waist and dragging him shorewards with all my strength. Of course he struggled furiously, making a noise all the time just like that cursed humming, and using the most outlandish phrases in his anger about “going inside to Them,” and “taking the way of the water and the wind,” and God only knows what more besides, that I tried in vain to recall afterwards, but which turned me sick with horror and amazement as I listened. But in the end I managed to get him into the comparative safety of the tent, and flung him breathless and cursing upon the mattress where I held him until the fit had passed.

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  1. I was alone. It was pitch dark. And at once there came a vision of Abe the Drowned Fisherman, vivid as dreefee-light before my eyes. His head was rising from a green surface, but the green was not river water: it was grass– a wild, unending lawn. His gray hair was still sodden, his eyes still astonished, but the gaping mouth was closed. Behind him rose a verdant ridge, like Tamanawis Mountain, but unlogged and a hundred times higher, and all about him the plain meadow grass so green it glowed. He seemed to be looking toward me, and the once-filmy eyes were clear now, and alive. The soggy shirt rose into view, then the waterlogged waders drowned him, and when at last he stood free upon that wide meadow, he smiled, then chuckled, then laughed and laughed, holding his hands high above his head and turning in slow, joyful circles, turning, turning upon the meadow as he faded from my sight.

    From The River Why page 127 end of chapter 6

  2. Where are we? What is that? Where has our dream brought us? Dusk, rain, and mud, fire reddening a murky sky that bellows incessantly with dull thunder, the damp air rent by piercing, singsong whines, and raging, onrushing, hellhound howls that end their arc in a splintering, spraying, fiery crash filled with groans and screams, with brass blaring, about to burst, and drumbeats urging onward, faster, faster. There is a wood spewing drab hordes that run, stumble, jump. There is a line of hills, dark against the distant conflagration whose glow sometimes gathers into fluttering flames. Around us is rolling farmland, gouged and battered to sludge. And there is a road covered with muck and splintered branches, much like the wood itself; branching off from the road, a country lane, a rutted quagmire, winds up the hill; tree trunks in the cold rain, naked and stripped of branches. Here is a signpost-no point in asking, the twilight would cloak its message even if it had not been riddled and ripped to jagged shreds. East or west? It is the flatlands-this is war. And we are reduced to reluctant shades by the roadside, ashamed of our own shadowy security and not in the least inclined to indulge in bombast and rodomontade; but, rather, the spirit of our story has led us here to watch these gray, running, stumbling troops as they swarm now from the woods, urged on by drums, and to gaze into the ordinary face of our companion of so many little years, that kindhearted sinner whose voice we have heard so often, to see him once more before he passes out of view.

  3. The news traveled swiftly through the tunnels of the ant world. A scout had returned with a remarkable discovery–a beautiful sparkling crystal. When the scout presented the crystal to the ant queen, she took a small bite, then quickly ate the whole thing.

  4. In every important way we are such secrets from each other, and I do believe that there is a separate language in each of us, also a separate aesthetics and a separate jurisprudence. Every single one of us is a little civilization built on the ruins of any number of preceding civilizations, but with our own variant notions of what is beautiful and what is acceptable–which, I hasten to add, we generally do not satisfy and by which we struggle to live. We take fortuitous resemblances among us to be actual likeness, because those around us have also fallen heir to the same customs, trade in the same coin, acknowledge, more or less, the same notions of decency and sanity. But all that really just allows us to coexist with the inviolable, untraversable, and utterly vast spaces between us.

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