I watched our friends' wary, intelligent faces droop at our tale. Their shock was a mere shadow of our own, resembling more the goodwilled imitation of that emotion, and for this reason it was a temptation to exaggerate, to throw a rope of superlatives across the abyss that divided experience from its representation by anecdote.
In a nuclear age, and in an age of serious environmental degradation, apocalyptic belief creates a serious second order danger. The precarious logic of self-interest that saw us through the Cold War would collapse if the leaders of one nuclear state came to welcome, or ceased to fear mass death.
And she did not miss his presence so much as his voice on the phone. Even being lied to constantly, though hardly like love, was sustained attention; he must care about her to fabricate so elaborately and over such a long stretch of time. His deceit was a form of tribute to the importance of their marriage.
It is photography itself that creates the illusion of innocence. Its ironies of frozen narrative lend to its subjects an apparent unawareness that they will change or die. It is the future they are innocent of. Fifty years on we look at them with the godly knowledge of how they turne dout after all - who they married, the date of their death - with no thought for who will one day be holding photographs of us.
My biggest fear, I think falling from a great height. If I want to keep myself awake at night I imagine I'm on the top of the North or South Tower in 9/11, wondering whether I'm going to be burnt to death or I'm going to jump. And I think I would burn to death. And yet I'm impressed by the fact that hundreds didn't.
I read in announcements of deaths 'peacefully in his sleep' and I wonder how many of those are true. Maybe they are just conventional. I hope they are true whenever I read it of someone. [But] I would rather be awake. Peacefully awake, brim full of some calming drug that was seeing me out of the door, having said my farewells.
I'm not against religion in the sense that I feel I can't tolerate it, but I think written into the rubric of religion is the certainty of its own truth. And since there are 6,000 religions currently on the face of the earth, they can't all be right. And only the secular spirit can guarantee those freedoms and it's the secular spirit that they contest.