I would just watch the pile of words grow and grow, and I would feel more and more lost. Occasionally, Father Michael would stop and (very kindly) say, "Clair, are you getting any of this?" I would have to shake my head and say, once again, "No, Father." And he would invite me to stay after class once more for a bit of coaching that simply never helped. It was like a foreign language to me and I could not find the translation key.
From As Hot As it Was You Ought to Thank Me, by Nanci Kincaid
[When hearing a hard truth]:
Words are funny, the way they come at you full force, then just bounce right off you like bullets off the side of a steel barn. I saw those words coming, I saw the force of them, but they just slapped up against me and bounced away. Words need a place to enter. A lot of people think you got to let words in through your ears, but that’s not so. Words can get in other ways--harder ways. They can come in through your open eyes. You can breathe them in. They can work their way through your sweaty skin like ringworms do. They can enter a wound you are trying to heal up. They can just sit on you like a tick you didn’t know was there, attach themselves to you and sort of suck their way in.
Once words are spoken, then there they are. They don’t just vanish into thin air like some people think. They don’t just disappear. They are like parasites that become part of some larger organism, like a small idea that hooks into all your bigger ideas. Words are as real as anything, which is why speaking lies is so dangerous.
[When the hurricane was coming]:
The thunder was insistent, like door knocking that would not let up. It seemed about making us let something inside--and we didn’t want to. We refused. The early thunder was almost polite, distant and just as comfortable as hearing your name called at suppertime. But the later thunder had lost all patience, given up on convincing us and decided to threaten us, like a maniac who’d knock the door down by banging his head against it if he had to. It made me understand that we don’t always get to decide what we let in and what we keep out. A door is just an idea.