Stairway Quotes (displaying: 1 - 26 of 26 quotes )
People in France have a phrase: "Spirit of the Stairway." In French: esprit d'Escalier. It means that moment when you find the answer but it's too late. So you're at a party and someone insults you. You have to say something. So, under pressure, with everybody watching, you say something lame. But the moment you leave the party . . .As you start down the stairway, then - magic. You come up with the perfect thing you should've said. The perfect crippling put down. That's the Spirit of the Stairway.
I like your coat," she announced, as if her approval of my dress were the supreme prize in a good-taste contest."Does that mean I get to see Jill?"She considered this. "Perhaps it does," she said."Just what are your intentions concerning my roommate?""I'm going to kidnap her and hold her for ransom.""Really?" she said, appearing delighted. "How splendid.""Or else I'll put her in a cage and show her for money, but I think you'd be more suitable for that role."She nodded. "Yes. The kidnapping is a much better idea." She stood straight and walked with exaggerated grace into the living room. There was a very nice wooden stairway, curving back on itself with a stained-glass window at the landing. She called, "Jill! Your kidnapper is here," and gave me a big smile."Aren't you going to come in?" she said."Only if you want me to. We kidnappers are very polite.""Oh do, by all means.
There are official searchers, inquisitors. I have seen them in the performance of their function: they always arrive extremely tired from their journeys; they speak of a broken stairway which almost killed them; they talk with the librarian of galleries and stairs; sometimes they pick up the nearest volume and leaf through it, looking for infamous words. Obviously, no one expects to discover anything.
It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break; the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.
But the Lady Amalthea and Prince Lir walked and spoke and sang together as blithely as though King Haggard's castle had become a green wood, wild and shadowy with spring. They climbed the crooked towers like hills, picnicked in stone meadows under a stone sky, and splashed up and down stairways that had softened and quickened into streams.
And the City, in its own way, gets down for you, cooperates, smoothing its sidewalks, correcting its curbstones, offering you melons and green apples on the corner. Racks of yellow head scarves; strings of Egyptian beads. Kansas fried chicken and something with raisins call attention to an open window where the aroma seems to lurk. And if that's not enough, doors to speakeasies stand ajar and in that cool dark place a clarinet coughs and clears its throat waiting for the woman to decide on the key. She makes up her mind and as you pass by informs your back that she is daddy's little angel child. The City is smart at this: smelling and good and looking raunchy; sending secret messages disguised as public signs: this way, open here, danger to let colored only single men on sale woman wanted private room stop dog on premises absolutely no money down fresh chicken free delivery fast. And good at opening locks, dimming stairways. Covering your moans with its own.
What makes Argia different from other cities is that it has earth instead of air. The streets are completely filled with dirt, clay packs the rooms to the ceiling, on every stair another stairway is set in negative, over the roofs of the houses hang layers of rocky terrain like skies with clouds. We do not know if the inhabitants can move about the city, widening the worm tunnels and the crevices where roots twist: the dampness destroys peopl?s bodies and they have scant strength; everyone is better off remaining still, prone; anyway, it is dark.From up here, nothing of Argia can be seen; some say,?I?s down below there? and we can only believe them. The place is deserted. At night, putting your ear to the ground, you can sometimes hear a door slam.
Rules?" said Roark. "Here are my rules: what can be done with one substance must never be done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. No two buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site, the material determine the shape. Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it's made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose. A man doesn't borrow pieces of his body. A building doesn't borrow hunks of its soul. Its maker gives it the soul and every wall, window and stairway to express it.
He belonged to a walled city of the fifteenth century, a city of narrow, cobbled streets, and thin spires, where the inhabitants wore pointed shoes and worsted hose. His face was arresting, sensitive, medieval in some strange inexplicable way, and I was reminded of a portrait seen in a gallery I had forgotten where, of a certain Gentleman Unknown. Could one but rob him of his English tweeds, and put him in black, with lace at his throat and wrists, he would stare down at us in our new world from a long distant past—a past where men walked cloaked at night, and stood in the shadow of old doorways, a past of narrow stairways and dim dungeons, a past of whispers in the dark, of shimmering rapier blades, of silent, exquisite courtesy.
Yet suppose further. Suppose that all worlds, all universes, met at a single nexus, a single pylon, a Tower. And within it, a stairway, perhaps rising to the Godhead itself. Would you dare climb to the top, gunslinger? Could it be that somewhere above all of endless reality, there exists a room?...' You dare not.' And in the gunslinger's mind, those words echoed: You dare not.
May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam, and may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home. And may you grow to be proud, dignified and true; and do unto others as you'd have done to you. Be courageous and be brave and in my heart you'll always stay forever young. May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong; build a stairway to heaven with a prince or a vagabond. And may you never love in vain and in my heart you will remain forever young. And when you finally fly away I'll be hoping that I served you well, for all the wisdom of a lifetime no one can ever tell. But whatever road you choose, I'm right behind you, win or lose, forever young.
I think the man who designed this should have committed suicide. A man who can conceive a thing as beautiful as this should never allowed it to be erected. He should not want to exist. But he will let it be built, so that women will hang out diapers on his terraces, so that men will spit on his stairways and draw dirty pictures on his walls. He's given it to them and he's made it part of them, part of everything. He shouldn't have offered it for men like you to look at. For men like you to talk about. He's defiled his own work by the first word you'll utter about it. He's made himself worse than you are. You'll be committing only a mean little indecency, but he's committed a sacrilege. A man who knows what he must have known to produce this should not have been able to remain alive.
Writing about the indignities of old age: the daunting stairway to the restaurant restroom, the benefits of a wheelchair in airports and its disadvantages at cocktail parties, giving the user what he described as a child's-eye view of the party and a crotch-level view of the guests. Dying is a matter of slapstick and pratfalls. The aging process is not gradual or gentle. It rushes up, pushes you over and runs off laughing. No one should grow old who isn't ready to appear ridiculous.
I climbed the stairway (there was no elevator) and put the key in. The door swung open. Somebody had changed all the furniture around, put in a new rug. No, the furniture was new, too. There was a woman on the couch. She looked all right. Young. Good legs. Blonde. 'Hello,' I said, 'care for a beer?' 'Hi!' she said. 'All right, I'll have one.' 'I like the way this place is fixed up,' I told her. 'I did it myself.' 'But why?' 'I just felt like it,' she said. We each drank at the beer. 'You're all right,' I said. I put my beercan down and gave her a kiss. I put my hand on one of her knees. It was a nice knee. Then I had another swallow of beer. 'Yes,' I said, 'I really like the way this place looks. It's really going to lift my spirits.' 'That's nice. My husband likes it too.' 'Now why would your husband...What? Your husband? Look, what's this apartment number?' '309.' '309? Great Christ! I'm on the wrong floor! I live in 409.
Judging from the spiderwebs clinging to it, the emergency stairway was hardly ever used. To each web clung a small black spider, patiently waiting for its small prey to come along. Not that the spiders had any awareness of being "patient". A spider had no special skill other than building its web, and no lifestyle choice other than sitting still. It would stay in one place waiting for its prey until, in the natural course of things, it shriveled up and died. This was all genetically predetermined. The spider had no confusion, no despair, no regrets. No metaphysical doubt, no moral complications. Probably. Unlike me. I move, therefore I am.
That image - of a little child being suffocated, or almost suffocated, by others who thought the whole thing was a game - melded with the furtive nocturnal slugs, and my solitary pacing and singing, and the separate, claustrophobic stairway, and the charmless abstract painting, and the gold-framed mirror, and the slithery green satin bedspread, and became inseperable from them. It wasn't a cheerful composite. As a memory, it is more like a fog bank than a sunlit meadow. Yet I think of that period as having been a happy time in my life. Happy is the wrong word. Important.
Then he skipped out, and saw Sid just starting up the outside stairway that led to the back rooms on the second floor. Clods were handy and the air was full of them in a twinkling. They raged around Sid like a hail-storm; and before Aunt Polly could collect her surprised faculties and sally to the rescue, six or seven clods had taken personal effect, and Tom was over the fence and gone. There was a gate, but as a general thing he was too crowded for time to make use of it. His soul was at peace, now that he had settled with Sid for calling attention to his black thread and getting him into trouble.