Though I did not love Lydia Millet's Ghost Lights as a complete novel (How the Dead Dream set the bar oh so high...), it is littered with passages so achingly beautiful and insights about human nature so scarily spot-on, that I enjoyed it moment to moment for the sentences in a way I did not enjoy it for the plot.
One particular section keeps coming up for me again and again. I'm not sure if it's because of the sadness it carries, the truth it delivers with a punch or the fact that I am in contact with many dogs on most days by nature of my husband's work, but it seems a somewhat fitting way to begin a new year in which I want to cut all the bullshit out of my life and get painfully real about what matters and what doesn't:
"People were like dogs and this was why they took pity on them--dogs alone all the hours of their days and always waiting. Always waiting for company. Dogs who, for all of their devotion, knew only the love of one or two or three people from the beginning of their lives till the end--dogs who, once those one or two had dwindled and vanished from the rooms they lived in, were never to be known again.
You passed like a dog through those empty houses, you passed through empty rooms...there was always the possibility of companionship but rarely the real event. For most of the hours of your life no one knew or observed you at all. You did what you thought you had to; you went on eating, sleeping, raising your voice at intruders out of a sense of duty. But all the while you were hoping, faithfully but with no evidence, that it turned out, in the end, you were a prince among men."
Just. Yeah. Sit with that a bit and see how it hits you. I've been sitting with it for weeks now and...yeah.