He hated games they made the world look too simple. Chess, in particular, had always annoyed him. It was the dumb way the pawns went off and slaughtered their fellow pawns while the king lounged about doing nothing. If only the pawns would’ve united … the whole board could’ve been a republic in about a dozen moves.

Holmes was charming and gracious, but something about him made Belknap uneasy. He could not have defined it. Indeed, for the next several decades alienists and their successors would find themselves hard-pressed to describe with any precision what it was about men like Holmes that could cause them to seem warm and ingratiating but also telegraph the vague sense that some important element of humanness was missing.

…that the holocaust is so big, the scale of it is so gigantic, so enormous that it becomes easy to think of it as something mechanical. Anonymous. But everything that happened, happened because someone made a decision to pull a trigger, to flip a switch, to close a cattle door, to hide, to betray.

I believe that You Reap What You Sow. I believe that we don’t meet people by accident; everything happens for a reason. I believe that standing for what you believe in isn’t an easy thing but it’s the right thing to do; be brave to stand for what you believe in even if you stand alone.

People give me looks of pity and ask me why I want to wallow in my disconnection from a very connected world. It is simple. The world seems way too connected to me now. It seems to be ruining the lives of teenagers and bringing out the bestial cruelty in those who can hide their vileness under the mask of some idiotic pseudonym. I like to sit alone and think about things. Solitude is as precious as coin silver and it takes labor to attain it.

This year has taught me the simple craft of belief. I believe in the things I’ve nurtured and built this year. Slowly but carefully. Such as understanding, knowledge, passion, strength; the hundreds of songs I’ve written, the 365 poems, the books I’ve read and the miles I’ve run. The resolution to breathe, to meditate, to not harm my mind or body even when I’ve felt like it. 

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