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Sheila Ballantyne

  • Some of my best friends are illusions. Been sustaining me for years.

  • ... in California death is one of the most successfully kept secrets there is. If you doubt this, try to find a cemetery.

  • Sundays are terrible because it is clear that there is no one in charge of the world. And this knowledge leave you drifting around, grappling with unfulfilled expectations and vague yearnings.

  • ... it's expectation that differentiates you from the dead. The dead, so low in their stone rows, making no demands, without desire.

  • ... illusions are crucial to the maintenance of life functions ...

  • It's unbelievable the primitive feelings that are aroused by rapid change.

  • You might not have thought it possible to give birth to others before one has given birth to oneself, but I assure you it is quite possible, it has been done; I offer myself in evidence as Exhibit A.

  • ... everything is ambiguous. It's exciting, in a way, if you can tolerate ambiguity. I can't, but I'm taking a course where it's taught, in the hope of acquiring the skill. It's called Modern Living, and you get no credit.

  • Once they all stop drinking your blood, and start functioning on their own systems, they become galaxies, spinning away from you, covering greater distances with every passing year.

  • Inner resources are like natural resources; they both dry up eventually when the demands on them are heavy.

  • The freeway is the last frontier. It is unsurpassed as a training ground for the sharpening of survival skills.

  • Ghetto humor is the social twin of fantasy; together they sustain the powerless, who accomplish miracles through illusion.

  • The moon develops the imagination, as chemicals develop photographic images.

  • If you have enough fantasies, you're ready, in the event that something happens.

  • You can always trust the information given you by people who are crazy; they have an access to truth not available through regular channels.

  • The trouble with going crazy is that you have to go around making it up to everyone afterwards. It seems they should be making something up to you.

  • I acknowledge the cold truth of her death for perhaps the first time. She is truly gone, forever out of reach, and I have become my own judge.

  • There is no irritant as painful as an ace up your sleeve that you can never use; it's the kind of thing that causes oysters to produce pearls.

  • Life is like a great jazz riff. You sense the end the very moment you were wanting it to go on forever.

    • Sheila Ballantyne,
    • title story, Life on Earth ()
  • Californians are good at planning for the earthquake, while simultaneously denying it will happen.

    • Sheila Ballantyne,
    • "Letter to John Lennon," Life on Earth ()
  • You strain like a hooked fish against this fate, then slowly weaken. Your silver scales dim.

    • Sheila Ballantyne,
    • "Letters to the Darkness," Life on Earth ()

Sheila Ballantyne, U.S. writer

(1936 - 2007)

Full name: Sheila Carolyn Weibert Ballantyne.