Pessimism is a towering skyscraper eighty stories high in the suburbs of the soul at the end of a long avenue with waste ground on either side and a few poorly-stocked little shops. Several ultra-fast staircases give access to the building, running up from the cellars to the roof-gardens. The comfort of this place leaves nothing to be desired and only the greatest luxury is acceptable, but every Friday the residents gather on the ground floor to read from a bible bound in the skin of a blind man. The psalmic words they intone rise up through the pipes, sigh in the stoves and sweep the chimneys coated inside with black grease which leaves dirt on the skin. Water runs constantly in the bathrooms and the showers beat down on the numbered bodies, peppering them with sand. On Sundays the bed linen unrolls by itself and nobody makes love. For this tower block, like an obscure phallus scraping the vulva of the sky, is usually a hive of sexual activity. The most beautiful woman lives there, but no-one has ever known her. It is said, that dressed in furs and feathers, she keeps herself shut away in a first-floor apartment as if in a white safe. Her windows are scissors which cut short both shadow and breath. Her name is AURORA.

—  Мишель Лейрис , Aurora



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In his early twenties, a man started collecting paintings, many of which later became famous: Picasso, Van Gogh, and others. Over the decades he amassed a wonderful collection. Eventually, the man’s beloved son was drafted into the military and sent to Vietnam, where he died while trying to save his friend. About a month after the war ended, a young man knocked on the devastated father’s door. “Sir,” he said, “I know that you like great art, and I have brought you something not very great.” Inside the package, the father found a portrait of his son. With tears running down his cheeks, the father said, “I want to pay you for this.ℍ “No,” the young man replied, “he saved my life. You don’t owe me anything.ℍ The father cherished the painting and put it in the center of his collection. Whenever people came to visit, he made them look at it. When the man died, his art collection went up for sale. A large crowd of enthusiastic collectors gathered. First up for sale was the amateur portrait. A wave of displeasure rippled through the crowd. “Let’s forget about that painting!” one said. “We want to bid on the valuable ones,” said another. Despite many loud complaints, the auctioneer insisted on starting with the portrait. Finally, the deceased man’s gardener said, “I’ll bid ten dollars.ℍ Hearing no further bids, the auctioneer called out, “Sold for ten dollars!” Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. But then the auctioneer said, “And that concludes the auction.” Furious gasps shook the room. The auctioneer explained, “Let me read the stipulation in the will: “Sell the portrait of my son first, and whoever buys it gets the entire art collection. Whoever takes my son gets everything.ℍ It’s the same way with God Almighty. Whoever takes his Son gets everything.

— Jimmy Carter