Duly Quoted

"A library is a hospital for the mind."

“It was a small thing, but it was a thing, and things have a way of either dying or growing, and it wasn’t dying.”

Book: No One Belongs Here More Than You: short stories by Miranda July
(author is the woman from Me And You And Everyone We Know)

I found it…strange. Interesting. Good, I think. Very sexual, sometimes unnecessarily so–as in, I felt like she used sexuality as a means of grabbing attention when it wasn’t necessary, and that cheapened it’s effect. But perhaps she wasn’t doing that at all. Nonetheless, a little weird. Good though. Yes, good. I liked it. Certain passages were incredibly beautiful, and really resonated with me. So all in all, I liked it. I think. Yes. If nothing else, I can appreciate the ambivalence it left me with!


It still counts, even though it happened when he was unconscious. It still counts because the conscious mind often makes mistakes, falls for the wrong person.

Do you have doubts about life? Are you unsure if it is worth the trouble? Look at the sky: that is for you. Look at each person’s face as you pass on the street: those faces are for you. And the street itself, and the ground under the street, and the ball of fire underneath the ground: all these things are for you. They are as much for you as they are for other people. Remember this when you wake up in the morning and think you have nothing. Stand up and face the east. Now praise the sky and praise the light within each person under the sky. It’s okay to be unsure. But praise, praise, praise.

This is the story I wouldn’t tell you when I was your girlfriend. You kept asking and asking, and your guesses were so lurid and specific. Was I a kept woman? Was Belvedere like Nevada, where prostitution is legal? Was I naked for the entire year? The reality began to seem barren. And in time I realized that if the truth felt empty, then I probably would not be your girlfriend much longer.That day I carried the dream around like a full glass of water, moving gracefully so I would not lose any of it.

I have never taken such care with anything. That is my problem with life, I rush through it, like I’m being chased. Even things whose whole point is slowness, like drinking relaxing tea. When I drink relaxing tea, I suck it down as if I’m in a contest for who can drink relaxing tea the quickest. Or if I’m in a hot tub with some other people and we’re all looking up at the stars, I’ll be the first to say, It’s so beautiful here, the quicker you can say, Wow, I’m getting overheated.

I had never been in love, I had been a peaceful man, but now I was caught in agitation…I was noticing everything, I was electric.

Certain jerks and idiots and assholes appear from time to time, and it is as if they have had plastic surgery. Their faces are disfigured with love.

Best of all, every person this person has ever loved is there. Even the ones who got away. They hold this person’s hand and tell this person how hard it was to pretend to get mad and drive off and never come back.

You will never be a part of the world.
She was standing quite near.
Humans make their own worlds in the small area in front of their face. Now she was across the room.
Why do you think we are the only animal that kisses?
She was near again.
Because the area in front of our faces is our most intimate zone.
She drew a breath. This is why humans are the only romantic animal!

The tiny world in front of your face is an illusion, and romance itself is an illusion!

Romance isn’t real, and neither is your world under the cloth. But because you are human, you can never lift the cloth. So you might as well learn how to be the most romantic woman you can be. This is what humans can do: romance.

Remember, you don’t have to make the whole world romantic, or even the whole bedroom. Just the small space in front of your face. A very manageable territory, even the working women will agree. Because when he looks at you (or she—romance has no biases!), he has to look through the air in front of your face. Is that space polluted? Is it rosy? Is it misty? Think about these questions during the lunch break.

We pushed our crying ahead of us like a lantern, searching out new and forgotten sadnesses, ones that had died politely years ago but in fact had not died, and came to life with a little water. We had loved people we really shouldn’t have loved and then married other people in order to forget our impossible loves, or we had once called out hello into the cauldron of the world and then run away before anyone could respond.

I knew all about those things that weren’t very hungry; my life was full of them. I didn’t want any more weaklings who were activated by water and heat but had no waste and were so small that when they died, I buried them only with forgetfulness. If I was going to bring something new into my home, it would be a big starving thing. But I could not do this.

It doesn’t really feel like driving when you don’t know where you’re going. There should be an option on the car for driving in place, like treading water. Or at least a light that shines between the brake lights that you can turn on to indicate that you have no destination. I felt like I was fooling the other drivers and I just wanted to come clean. But the more I drove, the more I felt like I had somewhere to go.

My disposition was that of all the girls who dated boys from other high schools. We were barely there. Our feelings could not be hurt because they lay elsewhere, off-campus, aurora borealis.

She marveled at this, and I laughed and said, Life is easy. What I meant was, Life is easy with you here, and when you leave, it will be hard again. The day felt like a birthday, our first, and we ourselves were the gifts, to be opened again and again.

When my husband saw the new short hair, he gave me the look we give each other when one of us forgets who we are. We are not people who buy instant cocoa powder, we do not make small talk, we do not buy Hallmark cards or believe in Hallmark rituals such as Valentine’s Day or weddings. In general, we try to stay away from things that are MEANINGLESS, and we favor things that are MEANINGFUL. Our top three favorite meaningful things are: Buddhism, eating right, and the internal landscape. Haircuts are in the same category as trimming the finger-and toenails, which is in the same category as mowing the lawn. We don’t really believe in mowing the lawn; we do it only to avoid unnecessary engagement with the neighbors.

Now began the part of her life where she was just very beautiful, except for nothing. Only winners will know what this feels like. Have you ever wanted something very badly and then gotten it? Then you know that winning is many things, but it is never the thing you thought it would be. Poor people who win the lottery do not become rich people. They become poor people who won the lottery. She was a very beautiful person who was missing something very ugly. Her winnings were the absence of something, and this quality hung around her.

It was a small thing, but it was a thing, and things have a way of either dying or growing, and it wasn’t dying.

Inelegantly and without my consent, time passed.


Filed under: Miranda July,

Index by Author

Click to receive an email notification every time I publish a new review!

Join 10 other followers