The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman [Quotes]

Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.

*

I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.

*

Adults follow paths. Children explore. Adults are content to walk the same way, hundreds of times, or thousands; perhaps it never occurs to adults to step off the paths, to creep beneath rhododendrons, to find the spaces between fences. I was a child, which meant that I knew a dozen different ways of getting out of our property and into the lane, ways that would not involve walking down our drive.

*

Books were safer than other people anyway.

*

I went away in my head, into a book. That was where I went whenever real life was too hard or too inflexible.

*

All monsters are scared. That’s why they’re monsters.

*

I liked myths. They weren’t adult stories and they weren’t children stories. They were better than than that. They just were. Adult stories never made sense, and they were slow to start. They made me feel like there were secrets, Masonic, mythic secrets, to adulthood. Why didn’t adults want to read about Narnia, about secret islands and smugglers and dangerous fairies?

*

I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled. I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I took joy in the things that made me happy.

*

“And did I pass?”

The face of the old woman on my right was unreadable in the gathering dusk. On my left the younger woman said, “You don’t pass or fail at a being a person, dear.”

*

Growing up, I took so many cues from books. They taught me most of what I knew about what people did, about how to behave. They were my teachers and my advisers.

*

Monsters come in all shapes and sizes, Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.

*

Nothing’s ever the same,” she said. “Be it a second later or a hundred years. It’s always churning and roiling. And people change as much as oceans.”

*

I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake writhing with grubs and nightmares and hunger.

*

Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.

*

You were her way here, and it’s a dangerous thing to be a door.

*

I was a normal child. Which is to say, I was selfish and I was not entirely convinced of the existence of things that were not me, and I was certain, rock-solid, unshakeably certain, that I was the most important thing in creation. There was nothing that was more important to me than I was.

*

Words save our lives, sometimes.

*

It’s always too late for sorry’s, but I appreciate the sentiment.

*

It’s only a world, after all, and they’re just sand grains in the desert, worlds.

*

My bed was pushed up hard against the wall just below the window. I loved to sleep with the windows open. Rainy nights were the best of all: I would open my windows and put my head on my pillow and close my eyes and feel the wind on my face and listen to the trees sway and creak. There would be raindrops blown onto my face, too, if I was lucky, and I would imagine that I was in my boat on the ocean and that it was swaying with the swell of the sea. I did not imagine that I was a pirate, or that I was going anywhere. I was just on my boat.

*

You get on with your own life. Lettie gave it to you. You just have to grow up and try and be worth it.

*

I couldn’t get you to the ocean, but there was nothing stopping me bringing the ocean to you.

*

Also, in my bedroom, nobody minded if I kept the hall door half-open, allowing in enough light that I was not scared of the dark, and, just as important, allowing me to read secretly, after my bedtime, using the dim hallway light to read by, if I needed to. I always needed to.

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One thought on “The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman [Quotes]

  1. Pingback: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman | thebookboozer

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