I was looking at my dissertation today, wondering if I can yet make a readable book out of it. Now that I’ve got a little distance from what was an agonizing process (at least until the last bit, when I actually started enjoying it), it seems better than I thought at the time. Today I’m posting a very select few of the quotations I used as a kind of shorthand that helps me remember the train of thought that’s at the back of a novel I’m writing. Between mommy-brain and constant distractions, it might be helpful to keep this here – as a touchstone of sorts.
My general theory since 1971 has been that the word is literally a virus, and that it has not been recognised as such because it has achieved a state of relatively stable symbiosis with its human host; that is to say, the word virus (the Other Half) has established itself so firmly as an accepted part of the human organism that it can now sneer at gangster viruses like smallpox and turn them in to the Pasteur Institute.
- William Burroughs
This Snow Crash thing–is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?”
Juanita shrugs. “What’s the difference?
- Neal Stephenson, Snow Crash
How does Gemüt, the mind, speak, how does the heart speak, how does the voice of the blood speak in the time of AIDS? Does the virus expose this voice to a cacophony, a cacophony that does not even form a negative unity within which it still resonates? How is such exposure possible? Can the voice of the blood recognize itself in the cacophony caused by the virus?
– Alexander Garcia Duttman
About all, we need to resist, at all costs, the luxury of listening to the thousands of language tapes playing in our heads, laden with prior discourse, that tell us with compelling certainty and dizzying contradiction what AIDS really means.
– Paula Treichler
Discourse, alas, is the only defense with which we can counteract discourse, and there is no available discourse on AIDS that is not itself diseased.
– Lee Edelman
If Amanda had cancer or a brain tumor, they’d be bringing her casseroles and cakes.
– Alice Hoffman
Sh*t, do you realize that only about a tenth of infected Americans can get these new drugs? It kind of makes you wonder about the other thirty million people on this planet with HIV. I mean, how many people in Africa or Asia do you think are able to get any of these cocktails?
- R.D. Zimmerman, Hostage
The brain works like a collection of viruses, the Consensus said one hundred and fifty years later, when viruses were difficult to avoid.
- Geoff Ryman, The Child Garden
For each illness that doctors cure with medicine, they provoke ten in healthy people by inoculating them with the virus that is a thousand times more powerful than any microbe: the idea that one is ill.
- Marcel Proust
The life of the flesh is in the blood.
– Leviticus 17:11
But you must strictly refrain from eating the blood, because the blood is the life; you must not eat the life with the flesh.
– Deuteronomy 12:23
Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood, the blood of the covenant, shed for many for the forgiveness of sins.
– Matthew 26:28-29
Think on the nature of this great invisible thing which animates each one of us, and every blood drinker who has ever walked. We are as receptors for the energy of this being; as radios are receptors for the invisible waves that bring sound. Our bodies are no more than shells for this energy.
- Anne Rice, Queen of the Damned
It is along the frontier of blood – on the red line between pure and impure – that the inexhaustible drama between the sacred and the profane is played out: between the history of the divine, and the history of the human element that would struggle free of the human.
- Piero Camporesi
Medicine is magical and magical is art
The Boy in the Bubble
And the baby with the baboon heart
. . .
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry baby don’t cry
- Paul Simon, The Boy in the Bubble, 1986