GENERAL

There are mysteries, secret zones in each individual.

Krzysztof Kieslowski

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The mind is its own place, and in itself
Can make a Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven.

Satan, Paradise Lost, John Milton

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BOUNDARY, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other. Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914), The Devil’s Dictionary

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Simply pushing harder within the old boundaries will not do. Karl Weick

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“Regular maps have few surprises: their contour lines reveal where the Andes are, and are reasonably clear. More precious, though, are the unpublished maps we make ourselves, of our city, our place, our daily world, our life; those maps of our private world we use every day; here I was happy, in that place I left my coat behind after a party, that is where I met my love; I cried there once, I was heartsore; but felt better round the corner once I saw the hills of Fife across the Forth, things of that sort, our personal memories, that make the private tapestry of our lives.”  Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland

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One summer evening (led by her) I found
A little boat tied to a willow tree
Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in
Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth
And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
Leaving behind her still, on either side,
Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
Until they melted all into one track
Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows,
Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point
With an unswerving line, I fixed my view
Upon the summit of a craggy ridge,
The horizon’s utmost boundary; far above
Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky.
She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
Went heaving through the water like a swan;
When, from behind that craggy steep till then
The horizon’s bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
As if with voluntary power instinct,
Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,
And growing still in stature the grim shape
Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
And measured motion like a living thing,
Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
And through the silent water stole my way
Back to the covert of the willow tree;
There in her mooring-place I left my bark,–
And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
And serious mood; but after I had seen
That spectacle, for many days, my brain
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
Of unknown modes of being; o’er my thoughts
There hung a darkness, call it solitude
Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes
Remained, no pleasant images of trees,
Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
But huge and mighty forms, that do not live
Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
By day, and were a trouble to my dreams.

William Wordsworth, from ThePrelude

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I placed a jar in Tennessee,
And round it was, upon a hill.
It made the slovenly wilderness
Surround that hill.

The wilderness rose up to it,
And sprawled around, no longer wild.
The jar was round upon the ground
And tall and of a port in air.

It took dominion every where.
The jar was gray and bare.
It did not give of bird or bush,
Like nothing else in Tennessee.
Wallace Stevens, Anecdote of the Jar

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“Each of us is several, is many,is a profusion of selves. So that the self who disdains his surroundings is not the same as the self who suffers or takes joy in them. In the vast colony of our being there are many species of people who think and feel in different ways. Livro Do Desassossego”
― Fernando Pessoa, The Book Of Disquietude: By Bernardo Soares, Assistant Bookkeeper In The City Of Lisbon

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“…the people who move through the streets are all strangers. At each encounter, they imagine a thousand things about one another; meetings which could take place between them, conversations, surprises, caresses, bites. But no one greets anyone; eyes lock for a second, then dart away, seeking other eyes, never stopping…something runs among them, an exchange of glances like lines that connect one figure with another and draw arrows, stars, triangles, until all combinations are used up in a moment, and other characters come on to the scene… ”
― Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities

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Hotel Room, 12th Floor

This morning I watched from here
a helicopter skirting like a damaged
insect the Empire State Building, that
jumbo size dentist’s drill, and landing
on the roof of the Pan Am skyscraper.

But now midnight has come in
from foreign places. Its uncivilised
darkness is shot
at by a million lit windows,
all ups and acrosses.

But midnight is not
so easily defeated. I lie in bed,
between
a radio and a television set, and hear
the wildest of warwhoops
continually ululating through the
glittering canyons and gulches
police cars and ambulances racing
to the broken bones, the harsh
screaming from coldwater flats, the
blood glazed on sidewalks.

The frontier is never
somewhere else. And no stockades
can keep the midnight out.

Norman MacCaig

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