Quotes from “The Ocean at the End of the Lane” by Neil Gaiman

‘You can’t,’ said Lettie. ‘It would destroy you.’
I opened my mouth to tell her that nothing could kill me, not now, but she said, ‘Not kill you. Destroy you. Dissolve you. You wouldn’t die in here, nothing ever dies in here, but if you stayed here for too long, just a little of you would exist everywhere, all spread out. And that’s not a good thing. Never enough of you all together in one place, so there wouldn’t be anything left that would think of itself as an “I”. No point of view any longer, because you’d be an infinite sequence of views and of points …’
“I’m going to tell you something important. Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside either. Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not. You stand two of you lot next to each other, and you could be continents away for all it means anything.
I could not control the world I was in, could not walk away from things or people or moments that hurt, but I found joy in the things that made me happy.
And it wasn’t the sea. It was the ocean.
Lettie Hempstock’s ocean.
I remembered that, and, remembering that, I remembered everything.
On my left the younger woman said, “You don’t pass or fail at being a person, dear.”
I make art, sometimes I make true art, and sometimes it fills the empty places in my life. Some of them. Not all)
I would say, never knowing how to talk about what I do. If I could talk about it, I would not have to do it.
I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else

me

Books were safer than other people anyway
Ponds are pond-sized, lakes are lake-sized. Seas are seas and oceans are oceans. Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic. I think that’s all of the oceans there are
The end of the road

The end of the life, too

She was the storm, she was the lightning, she was the adult world with all its power and all its secrets and all its foolish casual cruelty.
I found myself thinking of an ocean running beneath the whole universe, like the dark seawater that laps beneath the wooden boards of an old pier: an ocean that stretches from forever to forever and is still small enough to fit inside a bucket
then restored one another to life again.

page 73

(Mrs. Wollery, his equally ancient wife, who wore

page 35

Never enough of you all together in one place,
She’s a grown-up, isn’t she? Grown-ups and monsters aren’t scared of things.”
“Oh, monsters are scared,” said Lettie. “That’s why they’re monsters. And as for grown-ups . . .”
“I want to remember,” I said. “Because it happened to me. And I’m still me.”
She was power incarnate, standing in the crackling air. She was the storm, she was the lightning, she was the adult world with all its power and all its secrets and all its foolish casual cruelty
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