Each of us is born with a box of matches inside us but we can’t strike them all by ourselves; we need oxygen and a candle to help. In this case, the oxygen for example, would come from the breath of the person you love; the candle would be any kind of food, music, caress, word, or sound that engenders the explosion that lights one of the matches. For a moment we are dazzled by an intense emotion. A pleasant warmth grows within us, fading slowly as time goes by, until a new explosion comes along to revive it. Each person has to discover what will set off those explosions in order to live, since the combustion that occurs when one of them is ignited is what nourishes the soul. That fire, in short, is its food. If one doesn’t find out in time what will set off these explosions, the box of matches dampens, and not a single match will ever be lighted.
Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate
To love or have loved, that is enough. Ask nothing further. There is no other pearl to be found in the dark folds of life.
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
Beauty made you love, and love made you beautiful.
Elizabeth von Arnim, The Enchanted April
Sometimes when I look at you, I feel I’m gazing at a distant star. It’s dazzling, but the light is from tens of thousands of years ago. Maybe the star doesn’t even exist any more. Yet sometimes that light seems more real to me than anything.
Haruki Murakami, South of the Border, West of the Sun
Each time you happen to me all over again.
Edith Wharton, The Age of Innocence
The only obsession everyone wants: ‘love.’ People think that in falling in love they make themselves whole? The Platonic union of souls? I think otherwise. I think you’re whole before you begin. And the love fractures you. You’re whole, and then you’re cracked open.
Philip Roth, The Dying Animal
I will not wait to love as best as I can. We thought we were young and that there would be time to love well sometime in the future. This is a terrible way to think. It is no way to live, to wait to love.
Dave Eggers, What is the What
I have loved you in every manner that my imagination could contrive. I have wanted you so deeply that my body sang with pain and pleasure. You have been my obsession, my passion, my philosophers’ stone of fantasy. You are my desire, my longing, my spirit. I love you unconditionally.
Nick Bantock, Sabine’s Notebook
Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self.
Jonathon Franzen, Farther Away
Sometimes you know in your heart you love someone, but you have to go away before your head can figure it out.
Sharon Creech, Walk Two Moons
To remain alone did not seem to me a terrible fate, no worse than being falsely joined to another person.
Curtis Sittenfeld, American Wife
Wittgenstein once wrote that when the eye sees something beautiful, the hand wants to draw it. I wish I could draw you.
Nicole Krauss, The History of Love
The thing about love is that we come alive in bodies not our own.
Colum McCann, Let the Great World Spin
To die for lack of love is horrible. The asphyxia of the soul.
Victor Hugo, Les Misérables
…asking someone to say they love you—and she always asked—is like buying yourself a birthday present. It’s more than likely exactly what you want. But it must make you feel awfully sad to get it.
Avi, Sometimes I Think I Hear My Name