Rivka Galchen Quotes
“We need to develop a better descriptive vocabulary for lying, a taxonomy, a way to distinguish intentional lies from unintentional ones, and a way to distinguish the lies that the liar himself believes in – a way to signal those lies that could be more accurately described as dreams. Lies – they make for a tidy little psychological Doppler effect, tell us more about a liar than an undistorted self-report ever could.”
“I’d consider it profession enough to have streaky bleached hair, to wear a green scarf, to spill spicy teas, to walk (slightly) unevenly on high heels. What more is there to give to the world than that? I realize this sentiment of mine is currently considered appalling, but these days I find the popularity of ideas even more meaningless than ever before.”
“I wonder if I talk like a dead man. My daughter once came home from school very excited about some lecture -this was years ago, before I died, though just right before- and she said her English teacher had talked about what the dead sound like in Dante. This funny thing about Dante's dead, which is that they know the past, and even the future, but they don't know the present. About the present they have all these questions for Dante. And that somehow is what being alive is, to be suspended in the time. She seemed to feel that really meant something. That and also that the dead know themselves better than the living do.”
“That's something that would really sell. I mean, I admire that you tell stories of make-believe people in worlds that don't exist and that have no relevance to how we live. That can be nice, but people also like things that are uplifting and practical.
(From the short story: The Late Novels of Gene Hackman)”
“He was my first love, my first love in the way that first loves are usually second or third or fourth loves. I still think about a stranger in a green jacket across from me in the waiting room at the DMV. About a blue-eyed man with a singed earlobe that I saw at a Baskin-Robbins with his daughter. My first that kind of love. I never got over him. I never get over anyone.”
“Sometimes failing is what's needed. I think it can put people in a good mood, to see someone fail. Let people entertain themselves. I think that's one of the reasons people are so lonely in this country. Because they always have to rush out and have someone else in the room entertain them. It's terrible, the loneliness here. People live in coffins...”
“There’s nothing inherently commendable, or deplorable, in liking, or not liking, babies, or women with babies: it is what it is. And I encountered exceptions, in all categories. But when, without a baby, you walk by hundreds of people a day for years, and then, with a baby, you walk by hundreds of people a day for months and months, you feel you have slip-slided into another strata or you feel you have gone pre-Cambrian, or, perhaps more accurately, that you are contributing, somehow, to the next geological stratum (or both at once) and you begin to wonder what formed each geological layer, and what really was the geological layer you were in before, and what is the geological layer you are in now, and how was it that each layer seemed, individually, when you were in it, to be everything. Did a meteor crash, or the climate abruptly change, or a series of volcanoes erupt? I decide the baby is like a minor climate catastrophe, or, through dumb luck, redemption, and all the people who might hold out the smallest hope that a shift could result in their life on the earth being ever so slightly better feel one way about the royal catastrophe/redemption of infants, while another group that has, more or less, nowhere to go but down, on however subconscious a level, and even however much they might consciously want to be shifted down, also don’t want to be shifted down, which is why their encounter, therefore, with the royalty of infants unavoidably bears an unwelcome message of the end of their own reign, meager or real as it may be, and so they simply avoid noticing the possibility”
“Alcuni direbbero che Jacob è un fisico, altri potrebbero definirlo un filosofo, o semplicemente un «esperto del tempo», io invece tendo a considerarlo in termini meno reverenziali. Non di odio, però. Ilan chiamava Jacob «mio cugino della Svevia Esteriore». Quella battutina criptica, che gli avevo sentito fare spesso, probabilmente senza che si accorgesse di quante volte l’aveva già ripetuta, mi aveva sempre dato la sensazione di implicare una vaga parentela tra loro. Dovevo avere l’impressione (all’epoca) che Jacob e Ilan fossero lontani cugini di un qualche tipo. In seguito però arrivai a pensare, a momenti, almeno, che in realtà si trattasse al tempo stesso di un depistaggio e di una specie di indizio che alludeva a un segreto enorme, un segreto che non avrebbero mai condiviso con me. Non il solito segretuccio personale, come una tresca o un reato di poco conto o, che so, un testicolo in meno: no, un segreto di natura scientifica, quel raro tipo di segreto che ancora oggi, nella nostra epoca, riesce a farci inchinare al cospetto di qualcuno.”
“Una volta eravamo al cinema tutti e tre; mi ero comprata una bibita pagandola quattro dollari e io e Jacob aspettavamo in silenzio che Ilan tornasse dal bagno. Ci parve un’attesa molto lunga. Mi toccò cambiare più volte la mano con cui tenevo la bibita, perché il bicchiere di carta era gelido.
– Ci sta mettendo tantissimo, – dissi, e alzai le spalle, tanto per scuotere un po’ quello strano silenzio che era calato tra noi.
– Lo sai cosa dicono sul tempo, – commentò oziosamente Jacob.
– È quello che accade anche mentre non accade nient’altro.
– Okay, – risposi. L’unica cosa che mi veniva in mente era quella vecchia battuta che fa: Ricordatevi che il tempo vola e noi no; ma peggio sarebbe se noi volassimo e il tempo no: il cielo sarebbe pieno di uomini con gli orologi fermi. Non riuscii a dirla. Era come se senza Ilan non potessimo nemmeno fingere di conversare”