Jesse Ball Quotes
“First, he says, you have to go out into the world. This is not a simple matter of going outside one's door. No, that is simply going out. That's what one does when one is on the way to the store to buy a loaf of bread, some cheese, and a bottle of wine. When one goes out into the world, one is shedding preconceptions of past paths and ideas of past paths, and trying to move freely through an unsubstantiated and new geography.”
“…There are times when something is asked of us, and we find we must do it. There is no calculation involved, no measure of the necessity of the thing itself, the action that must be performed. There is simply an acknowledgment that we will do the thing in question, and then the thing is done, often at considerable personal cost. "
"What goes into these decisions? What tiny factors, invisible, in the jutting edges of personality and circumstance, contribute to this inevitability?”
“You live your life, you try to live compassionately, and that's the end of it. You do a little more than you should have to in order to be a good person, but you don't go making big changes in the world, trying to fix things. It presumes too much to do so. There's only this: if everyone acts quietly, compassionately, things will go a little better than they would have otherwise. But people will still suffer.”
“In a long life, said many an old man, this is but one more thing. Yet there were others who were young and knew nothing about the helplessness of life's condition. Did they glow with light? They did, but of course, it could not be seen. And all the while, the grinding of bones like machinery, and the light step of tightrope walkers out beyond the windows.”
“Maybe you can see from this that I am quite familiar with being in detention. Matter of fact, I feel like I have always been in detention. I am an old veteran of detention, like one of Napoleon's soldiers limping back from the battle of Moscow. No, not like them--they were chumps. More like--one of the girls who died in the Triangle Fire looking out the window and realizing it is too far to jump, then jumping.”
“I will tell you it simply: he felt he was falling. He felt he fell through a succession of wells, of holes, of chasms, and that I was there at windows, and we would be together for a moment as he fell by. Then I would rush to the next window , down and down, and he would fall past, and I would see him again.”
“In order to effect another person you must perform some action. Then you must be patient enough to wait for its effect. As you learn the signs of these effects, it may come to pass you do not need to wait as long. But as my wife often said, it can happen that you say or do a thing and the effect is felt years later perhaps in the reiteration of the scene in a dream. Who can say? Our actions echo.”
- Born: in The United States.
- Description: Jesse Ball (1978-) Born in New York. The author of fourteen books, most recently, the novel How To Set a Fire and Why. His prizewinning works of absurdity have been published to acclaim in many parts of the world and translated into more than a dozen languages. The recipient of the Paris Review's Plimpton Prize, as well as fellowships from the NEA, the Heinz foundation, and others, he is on the faculty at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.