Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, as a result of his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

[Gerard Manley Hopkins] felt that everything in the universe was characterized by what he called inscape, the distinctive design that constitutes individual identity. This identity is not static but dynamic. Each being in the universe ‘selves,’ that is, enacts its identity. And the human being, the most highly selved, the most individually distinctive being in the universe, recognizes the inscape of other beings in an act that Hopkins calls instress, the apprehension of an object in an intense thrust of energy toward it that enables one to realize specific distinctiveness. Ultimately, the instress of inscape leads one to Christ, for the individual identity of any object is the stamp of divine creation on it.

—Thomas Merton.

It is quite a common thing to be thus annoyed by the ringing in our ears, or memories, of the burden of an ordinary song, or some unimpressive snatches from an opera.

—Edgar Allen Poe.

noun: halcyon; plural noun: halcyons.
  1. a tropical Asian and African kingfisher with brightly colored plumage.
  2. a mythical bird said by ancient writers to breed in a nest floating at sea at the winter solstice, charming the wind and waves into calm.

In addition to the gray cloth cap and the gray trousers, he wore not only a clean white shirt but a necktie— a tiny machine-made black bow which snapped together at the back with a metal fastener. It was not two inches long and with the exception of the one which Will Varner himself wore to church it was the only tie in the whole Frenchman’s Bend country, and from that saturday morning until the day he died he wore it or one just like it (it was told of him later, after he had become president of the Jefferson bank, that he had them made for him by the gross)— a tiny viciously depthless cryptially balanced palsh like an enigmatic punctuation symbol against the expanse of white shirt which gave him Jody Varner’s look of ceremonial heterodoxy raised to its tenth power and which postulated to those who had been present on that day that quality of outrageous overstatement of physical displacement which the sound of his father’s stiff foot made on the gallery of the store that afternoon in the spring.

—William Faulkner.

I was shown the [catacombs]… There were then at Rome some young men, Frenchmen and Germans and other nationalities, who were investigating those ancient tombs, inspired by piety. Since entering them was like going into the labyrinth, they used, so to speak, the thread of Theseus, so that they could find the way out. In order that they could repeat trips whenever they wanted, they marked the places to which they wanted to return with signs…Those studious young men drew and described the cemeteries, and laid out the pious paths that had previously been unknown on charts. Those terrestrial sailors could follow these, as guides, on that subterranean and shadowy ocean.

—Federico Borromeo (1586)

The secret beating heart of the dream office is the stationery cupboard, the ideal kind, the one that opens to enough depth to allow you to walk in and close the door behind you. No one does close the door – it would be weird – but the perfect stationery cupboard is one in which you could be perfectly alone with floor-to-ceiling shelves laden with neat stacks of packets, piles and boxes, lined up, tidy, everything patiently waiting for you to take one from the top, or open the lid and grab a handful. It’s fully stocked with more than one of everything and plenty to spare. Sundries. In bulk. A dozen of; assorted; multi-buys; bumper bundles. Paper in quires and reams, flimsy, economy and letter quality, neatly contained in perfectly folded paper packets. Boxes of carbon paper. (Children, you interleave a crispy dark-blue onion skin between each sheet of paper, you align them bottom edge and long side, tapping the long and short sides sharply together on the surface of your desk, and if you type sharply you can get as many as six or eight copies, each slightly fainter than the one before.) Refills and spares. A cornucopia of everything you would never run out of. Paper glued into pads or notebooks. Lined and unlined. Spiral, perfect bound, reporter. Envelopes with and without windows. Ring binders. Snap binders. Box files. Sticky white circles to reinforce the holes made by paper punches. Paper punches. Green string tags to go through the holes. Labels. So many blank labels. White, coloured, all shapes and sizes. And a mechanical labeller with plastic tape to emboss. More than enough supplies so that if a thing is done wrongly, spoiled or not quite right, mistyped, misspelled, holes punched in the wrong place, pencil broken, you throw it away and get a fresh one from the stationery cupboard that never runs out because it is there always to provide more.

—Jenny Diski.

In my judgment, such of us as have never fallen victims, have been spared more by the absence of appetite, than from any mental or moral superiority over those who have. Indeed, I believe, if we take habitual drunkards as a class, their heads and their hearts will bear an advantageous comparison with those of any other class. There seems ever to have been a proneness in the brilliant, and warm-blooded to fall into this vice. The demon of intemperance ever seems to have delighted in sucking the blood of genius and of generosity. What one of us but can call to mind some dear relative, more promising in youth than all his fellows, who has fallen a sacrifice to his rapacity? He ever seems to have gone forth, like the Egyptian angel of death, commissioned to slay if not the first, the fairest born of every family.

—Abraham Lincoln.