Midwinter by Fiona Melrose

32511982.jpg– I was gone, but I never really left you, heart. I never will. –

– You think you aren’t the man who will let that sort of thing break him, you think it won’t stretch your centre until it is too thin to hold, but in the end you are, and it did. It made me into a man I would not choose to befriend. –

– Ma always said it was good to be a goose. You always knew where you’d come from and where you were going. –

– Walking was the only thing I knew to do when I didn’t know where to be. –

– Pain is not always the same every time you feel it. It has different moods to it depending where it began and where it has come to sit. –

– So perhaps you could just try to acknowledge that a man cannot always be kept from life. Sometimes it just comes for you. And you have to muddle through the best you can. I made mistakes. It didn’t work out. But now you have made mistakes too. And you will sit with that for the rest of your life. –


The Angel of History by Rabih Alameddine

28818930.jpg– Each time you bid farewell to a place, voracious flesh-eating fish swim up from your depths, vultures circle your skies, and your city’s dead quiver with fury in their graves and band on their coffins, but then your homeland feels too paltry, a canoe tied to a branch by your mother’s hair. –

–I talk to you, but you’re only in my head, and once I get rid of you, I’ll be back to normal, get thee behind me, Satan.
Walmart sells an oil for that, Satan said, it’s called Satan Be Gone, a little dab will do ya. –

– How can you not know your history? I yelled over and over. You with your righteous apathy, how can you allow the world to forget us, to delete our existence, the grand elision of queer history? –

– I was wrong, I did write, time passed and I forgot, I wrote because I had nothing else to do in the world, I wrote, my voice as out of tune as I was. –

– “No,” Satan said. “I had nothing to do with his mother-in-law.”
“I didn’t think so,” Death said. “That level of evil is way beyond you, she belonged to Jesus all the way.”
“Yes,” Satan said. “Even I was surprised at such maleficence.” –

– A poet is tormented by the horrors of this world, as well as its beauty, but he can be refreshed, reborn even; he can take to the sky once more. Think phoenix, not Icarus.” –

– Listen to me, Satan said, his eyes infused with flames, get thee out of Eden, poetry can never be unstained. –

– Walk of shame, my ass, I was sizzling. –

– I prefer to be called the Cast-Out Angel, Fallen Angel is just wrong, I didn’t fall out of Heaven, it’s not as if I tripped or something, that would have been a big oopsie. –


The Fifth Mrs Brink

35080452.jpg– Fiction is the most dangerous place in the world; that’s where truth lives. –

– There is no peace in fear for a loved one. No place to hide in the face of death. I read and wrote through the nights, stared into darkness. –

– Water tells my story. –

– Languages come to me. There is no other way of describing it. After an initial intimidating few months of frustration, they seep into me. It is a process I can think of only as osmosis. The moment I find myself surrounded by a language, it enters through my mind’s pores into my consciousness. I think, dream and live it. –

– Memoir is as close to a recollected truth as I dare to come, and there is no one to protect me. It is selective, structured, but no less sensitive. –

– It moves in with you. A creature you did not invite, cannot control or tame. Grief is wild and unpredictable, at first completely inscrutable. It speaks an unknown language and renders yours inadequate. But in the beginning there is silence. –

– May the skies be generous with light. –


The Power by Naomi Alderman

29751398.jpg– Things couldn’t stay closed forever; they reorganized. Boys-only buses took them safely to boys-only schools. They fell into it easily. You only had to see a few videos online for the fear to hit you in the throat. –

– Only pain can bring such attention to the body; this is how Margot notices the answering echo in her chest. Among the forests and mountains of pain, a chiming note along her collarbone. Like answering to like. –

– She’s British. This is unexpected. Still, the Almighty works in mysterious ways. –

– You can’t stop Americans being American. –

– It turns out the voters lied. Just like the accusations they always throw at hard-working public servants, the goddamned electorate turned out to be goddamned liars themselves. –

– Beneath every story, there is another story. There is a hand within the hand – hasn’t Allie learned that well enough? There is a blow behind the blow. –


What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons

33280160.jpg– I’ve often thought that being a light-skinned black woman is like being a well-dressed person who is also homeless. –

– When my lover and I fuck, we fuck with the fear of the world in us. We are fucking on the edge of a cliff. We are fucking death right in the ass, and death loves it. We are fucking our own deaths, and our mothers’ deaths, and the deaths of our friends and the deaths of our rights. –

– Dirty and inconvenient, AIDS was a disease of the people, I thought. Cancer, to me, was the opposite. Its cause was endorsed and healthily sponsored. –

– This was the paradox: How would I ever heal from losing the person who healed me?

– A ghost is not a fact in itself; rather, it is a symbol for need.

– My mother is dead. But I still see her. But I still feel her. I can still hear her voice, even right now as I am speaking to you. –

– But why do “African” and “contemporary” have to incommensurate? Why (and to whom) is it appealing to think you are in another city besides the one, in Africa, that you are in? –

– The truth is that motherhood is stained with blood, stained with suffering and the potential for tragedy. –

– Pain can be a disease in itself. –


The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir by Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich

34229882.jpg– Twelve years have now passed since this day at the law firm, and I want to reach back through the years and tell her no, he isn’t my client, he never will be my client, I don’t need to see this tape. . . This tape brought me to reexamine everything I believed not only about the law but about my family and my past. I might have wished I’d never seen it. I might have wished that my life could stay in the simpler time before. –

– A: I think he knew he needed help. I think there’s a real different situation, between going for bronchitis and going for your mental health. I’m sorry, I wish it wasn’t, but it is.
Q: Why? Why is that different? –

– We are prisoners of the story we tell about ourselves. –

– For years I’d been afraid that if I came out, and anyone learned I’d been abused as a child, they would think that was why I was gay. As if that had turned me gay. In my heart I knew that wasn’t it. The first time I slept with a woman, my chest opened up. I hadn’t known until that moment how closed it was. I’m gay because I love women, it’s as simple as that. –

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The Lost Girl by Carol Drinkwater

34213592.jpg– These football nights are a curse on one’s tranquillity. –

– ‘You took away our daughter’s sense of security,’ was Oliver’s allegation. ‘By not being here, you, not me, you splintered this family.’

– Blood had laid its fingers on everyone, smeared its autograph. Blood marked the cross for Death to follow. –

– The media had a field day. TV actor’s daughter. . . Mother away from home, working with an all male crew. . . –



The Friend by Dorothy Koomson

31348251.jpg– I sometimes think they work against me because it’s fun to see Mama, who at all other times is calm and sane, become a screaming monster. –

– Usually I feel like I am running at a hundred miles an hour just to stand still; often I feel like I am working very hard to not permanently damage one of the children. I’ve never been one of those serene parents who breezes thought life, managing to do it all and do it well. –

– I never say ‘cornucopia’, it’s not the sort of word I’ve ever had occasion to use, but today, seeing what is being paraded in front of my taste buds, there is no other word that would be suitable. –

– I sometimes think I live ‘if only’ embroidered into every element of my life. –


Fierce Kingdom by Gin Phillips

33295296.jpg– It’s dangerous to battle without a helmet. Why do you think Capitan America only wears a hood? It’s not good protection, is it? –

– She doesn’t picture them as Arabic – she has been wondering, of course. But they do not sound like that kind of terrorist. They sound like young, obnoxious white men – aren’t they always young white men? –

– There are times when she feels she is in charge of everything – what Lincoln needs to bring on his field trip and when the exterminator is due and when the milk is about to run out – and why are there a thousand small things that fall to her and why is Paul so happy to let it all fall to her? –

– Margaret Powell is well aware that she may die in the next few minutes, shot in the back by one of her students. She is not completely surprised. –