Tuesday, June 27, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Colum McCann


Irish writer of literary fiction.
Colum McCann
Things happen. We had not wanted them to happen. They had arisen out of the ashes of chance.
McCann quotes
If you think you know all the secrets, you think you know all the cures.
McCann
You know, when you're young, God sweeps you up. He holds you there. The real snag is to stay there and to know how to fall. All those days when you can't hold on any longer. When you tumble. The test is being able to climb up again.




McCann Colum quotes
I recalled the myth that I had once heard as a university student thirty-six hidden saints in the world, all of them doing the work of humble men, carpenters, cobblers, shepherds. They bore the sorrows of the earth and they had a line of communication with God, all except one, the hidden saint, who was forgotten. The forgotten one was left to struggle on his own, with no line of communication to that which he so hugely needed. Corrigan had lost his line with God: he bore the sorrows on his own, the story of stories.
McCann Colum
He believed in walking beautifully, elegantly. It had to work as a kind of faith that he would get to the other side. He had fallen once while training - once exactly, so he felt it couldn't happen again, it was beyond possibility. A single flaw was necessary anyway. In any work of beauty there had to be one small thread left hanging.
Colum McCann quotes
We have all heard of these things before. The love letter arriving as the teacup falls. The guitar striking up as the last breath sounds out. I don't attribute it to God or to sentiment. Perhaps it's chance. Or perhaps chance is just another way to try to convince ourselves that we are valuable.
Colum McCann
People are good or half good or a quarter good, and it changes all the time - but even on the best day nobody's perfect.
McCann Colum quotes
He had a theory about it. It happened, and re-happened, because it was a city uninterested in history. Strange things occurred precisely because there was no necessary regard for the past. The city lived in a sort of everyday present. It had no need to believe in itself as a London, or an Athens, or even a signifier of the New World, like a Sydney, or a Los Angeles. No, the city couldn't care less about where it stood. He had seen a T-shirt once that said: NE YORK FUCKIN' CITY. As if it were the only place that ever existed and the only one that ever would.
McCann
I know already that I will return to this day whenever I want to. I can bid it alive. Preserve it. There is a still point where the present, the now, winds around itself, and nothing is tangled. The river is not where it begins or ends, but right in the middle point, anchored by what has happened and what is to arrive. You can close your eyes and there will be a light snow falling in New York, and seconds later you are sunning upon a rock in Zacapa, and seconds later still you are surfing through the Bronx on the strength of your own desire. There is no way to find a word to fit around this feeling. Words resist it. Words give it a pattern it does not own. Words put it in time. They freeze what cannot be stopped. Try to describe the taste of a peach. Try to describe it.
McCann Colum
I knew then that it would end badly, her and Corrigan, these children. Someone or other was going to get torn asunder. And yet why shouldn't they fall in love, if even just for a short while? Why shouldn't Corrigan live his life in the body that was hurting him, giving up in places? Why shouldn't he have a moment of release from this God of his? It was a torture shop for him, worrying about the world, having to deal with intricacies when what he really wanted was to be ordinary and do the simple thing.
Colum McCann
A condition of youth, your own importance. The mark you'd make upon the world. But a man learns sooner or later. You take your little niche and make it your own. You ride out the time as best you can.




Colum McCann quotes
He wondered if that was what the moment of death was about, the noise of the world and then ease away from it.
Colum McCann
Goodness was more difficult than evil. Evil men knew that more than good men. That's why they became evil. That's why it stuck with them. Evil was for those who could never reach the truth. It was a mask for stupidity and lack of love. even of people laughed at the notion of goodness, if they found it sentimental, or nostalgic, he said, it had to be fought for.
McCann quotes
Everything had purpose, signal, meaning.
McCann Colum
Hours and hours of insanity and escape. The projects were a victim of theft and wind. The downdrafts made their own weather. Plastic bags caught on the gusts of summer wind. Old domino players sat in the courtyard, playing underneath the flying litter. The sound of the plastic bags was like rifle fire. If you watched the rubbish for a while you could tell the exact shape of the wind. Perhaps in a way it was alluring, like little else around it: whole, bright, slapping curlicues and large figure eights, helixes and whorls and corkscrews. Sometimes a bit of plastic caught against a pipe or touched the top of the chain-link fence and backed away gracelessly, like it had been warned. The handles came together and the bag collapsed. There were no tree branches to be caught on. One boy from a neighboring flat stuck a lineless fishing pole out the window but he didn't catch any. The bags often stayed up in one place, as if they were contemplating the whole gray scene, and then would take a sudden dip, a polite curtsy, and away.
McCann Colum quotes
Death, the greatest democracy of them all. The world's oldest complaint. Happens to us all. Rich and poor. Fat and thin. Fathers and daughters. Mothers and sons.
Colum McCann
We seldom know what we're hearing when we hear something for the first time, but one thing is certain: we hear it as we will never hear it again. We return to the moment to experience it, I suppose, but we can never really find it, only its memory, the faintest imprint of what it really was, what it meant.
Colum McCann quotes
The core reason for it all was beauty. Walking was a divine delight. Everything was rewritten when he was up in the air. New things were possible with the human form. It went beyond equilibrium.
He felt for a moment uncreated. Another kind of awake.
Colum McCann
There is something that happens to the mind in moments of terror. Perhaps we figure it's the last we'll ever have and we record it for the rest of our long journey. We take perfect snapshots, an album to despair over. We trim the edges and place them in plastic. We tuck the scrapbook away to take out in our ruined times.
McCann Colum
Sometimes thinking back on things is a mistake arising out of pride, but I guess you live inside a moment for years, move with it and feel it grow, and it sends out roots until it touches everything in sight.


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