Traveling is like flirting with life. It’s like saying, ‘I would stay and love you, but I have to go; this is my station.
I knew, as every peasant does, that land can never be truly owned. We are the keepers of the soil, the curators of trees.
miracles had to be paid for; only calamity was free.
My head was a desolate place and as barren as the bare hills of Le Marche. Until I began to build in it, only vultures nested there.
A solitary traveler can sleep from state to state, from day to night, from day to day, in the long womb of its controlled interior. It is the cradle that never stops rocking after the lullaby is over. It is the biggest sleeping tablet in the world, and no one need ever swallow the pill, for it swallows them.
Fine food is poison. It can be as bitter as antimony and bitter almonds and as repulsive as swallowing live toads. Like the poison the emperor took every day to stop himself being poisoned, fine food must be taken daily until the system becomes immune to its ravages and the taste buds beaten and abused to the point where they not only accept but savour every vile concoction under the sun.
The palace started as a single vaulted room and grew in proportion to my despair. It began as an exercise to keep my mind from its melancholy, then it became a dream and a necessity. . . . I built a temple in my head. . . . Its hallways were as lofty as a cathedral, and the arch of each window as supple as a bow. Its corridors were the passages of my own brain.