‘But the mingled, mingling threads of life are woven by warp and woof: calms crossed by storms, a storm for every calm. There is no steady, unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed graduations, and at the last one pause…’
‘Because there is currently no way to date DNA, under the right light, cells from thousands of years ago would glow right alongside the cells we are leaving in our wake today. Under the right light, the present and the past are indistinguishable.'
‘Decreation is an undoing of the creature in us - that creature enclosed in self and defined by self. But to undo the self one must move through self, to the very inside of its definition. We have nowhere else to start.’
'Prowling the meanings of a word, prowling the history of a person, no use expecting a flood of light. Human words have no main switch. But all those little kidnaps in the dark. And then the luminous, big, shivering discandied, unrepentant, barking web of them that hangs in your mind when you turn back to the page you were trying to translate.’
‘Language is my home. It is alive other than in speech. It is beyond a thing to be carried with me. It is ineluctable, variegated and muscular. A flicker and drag emanates from the idea of it. Language seems capable of girding the oceanic earth, like the world-serpent of Norse legend. It is as if language places a shaping pressure upon our territories of habitation and voyage; thrashing, independent, threatening to rive our known world apart.’