The Snippets Project

August 2001

Whenever an art history survey, like Janson's
History of Art or Gardner's Art Through
the Ages
adds a female author, the number of
women artists included - white and of color -
miraculously increases.

[The Guerrilla Girls,The Guerrilla Girls' Bedside Companion to the History of Western Art,1998,locate]
The little blonde at the PBX cocked a shell-like
ear and smiled a small fluffy smile. She looked
playful and eager, but not quite sure of herself,
like a new kitten in a house where they don't
care much about kittens.

[Raymond Chandler,The Lady in the Lake,1943,locate]
Not caring about the social ostracism, thinking
only about the wonderful girl who had outdriven
him, shown him her tail, between Abbeville and
Montreuil, James Bond leant slightly forward. He
tossed two of the precious pearly plaques into
the centre of the table. He said, with a slightly
bored, slightly puzzled intonation, 'Forgive me.
Madame has forgotten that we agreed to play in
partnership this evening.' And, not looking at
the girl, but speaking with authority to the Chef
de Jeu, 'I beg your pardon. My mind was elsewhere.
Let the game continue.'

[Ian Fleming,On Her Majesty's Secret Service,1963,locate]
Each of us had been strung out trying to save
oursleves, fighting against going really
psychotic like Eddie or really killing ourselves
by leaping from real buildings and splattering
on a real parking lot eight stories below. We
knew that it could have been any of us. Lethal,
this becoming and being a doctor! Denying hope
and fear, ritualized defenses pulled up around
ears like turtlenecks, these doctors, to survive,
had become machines, sealed off from humans--from
wives, kids, parents--from the warmth of
compassion and the thrill of love.

[Samuel Shem,The House of God,1978,locate]
The maid in the lime-colored panties... was the most
virtuous woman alive: she laid for everybody,
regardless of race, creed, color or place of national
origin, donating herself sociably as an act of
hospitality, procrastinating not even for the moment
it might take to discard the cloth or broom or dust
mop she was clutching at the time she was grabbed.
Her allure stemmed from her accessibility; like Mt.
Everest, she was there, and the men climbed on top of
her each time they felt the urge.

[Joseph Heller,Catch-22,1955,locate]
From the photograph that not long ago he draped with
mourning crpe the faded eyes still twinkle at him,
the plump mouth crimped into its winsome pout. 'Brush
Mamma's hair, dearie,' a murmur faintly begs. The
hair is thick and grey on the pale powdered back, and
the blue ribbon is laid out ready on the dressing-table.

[William Trevor,Felicia's Journey,1994,locate]
I looked back at the picnic table in the shade of
the pines where the two women were still absorbed
in their conversation. The dog sat beside them,
his eyes riveted on the remaining ham sandwiches,
a study in canine optimism.

[Suzanne North,Seeing is Deceiving,1996,locate]
Miles Cabot, the radio genius, lived in the palace
of King Kew, with the lovely princess whom he had
won as a bride, Lilla, fairest of all the women of
Cupia. White skinned she was, with rose-petal
cheeks. Her eyes were sapphire-blue, and her short
curly hair was the color of spun gold. Slim she
was, and lithe as a fairy, which resemblance was
enhanced by two tiny iridescent wings upon her
back, and two butterfly-antennae which projected
from her forehead.

[Ralph Milne Farley,The Radio Beasts,1925,locate]
Every house was hung with red and bedecked with
flags and motoes. The streets were lined with
raised seats on either side, and I passed along,
bowing this way and that, under a shower of
cheers, blessings, and waving handkerchiefs. The
balconies were full of gayly dressed ladies, who
clapped their hands and courtesied and threw
their brightest glances at me. A torrent of red
roses fell on me; one bloom lodged in my horse's
mane, and I took it and stuck it in my coat.

[Anthony Hope,The Prisoner of Zenda,1894,locate]
My innocent little visitor slowly sank to a half-
sitting position upon my knee. Her adorable
profile, parted lips, warm hair were some three
inches from my bared eyetooth; and I felt the heat
of her limbs through her rough tomboy clothes.

[Vladimir Nabokov,Lolita,1955,locate]
"There's no going back from a killing, Bob. Right
or wrong, the brand sticks and there's no going
back. It's up to you now. Go home to your mother
and father. Grow strong and straight and take
care of them. Both of them."

[Jack Schaefer,Shane,1949,locate]
Sexually the naked ape finds himself today in a
somewhat confusing situation. As a primate he is
pulled one way, as a carnivore by adoption he is
pulled another, and as a member of an elaborate
civilized community he is pulled yet another.

[Desmond Morris,The Naked Ape,1967,locate]
She was no longer a ship which contained a mixed
collection of human beings. For good or bad, she
was one with the men who served her, as if the
short, fierce fight had welded them all together
into an entity of purpose and survival.

[Alexander Kent,Enemy In Sight,1970,locate]
There was a moment of silence, and then a
scratching sound as a new recording came on,
and Miss Gladys Stevens of Omaha, Nebraska,
said quietly, "There are now three minutes
to atomic self-destruct."

[Michael Crichton,The Andromeda Strain,1969,locate]
The bed was occupied by Maggie and Belinda, both
sitting upright, both looking very fetching in
very attractive nightdresses which appeared to
consist mainly of holes. But I'd more urgent
problems on my mind at the moment than the way
in which some night-wear manufacturers skimped
on their material.

[Alistair MacLean,Puppet on a Chain,1969,locate]
Got any dragons you need killed?

[Robert A. Heinlein,Glory Road,1963,locate]
At last, leaning from her saddle, Nakhla
placed a cool palm upon his forehead with a
tenderness that was unmistakably a caress.
Close to his ear came her lips, and a
sudden flush mantled her cheeks.
"Azz," she whispered. "Thou art Nakhla's
azz," and then she was away as fast as El
Djebel could bear her.

[Edgar Rice Burroughs,The Lad and the Lion,1917,locate]
All day the sky had been gray and by this time,
with all the light fading, the streams of blood
on the limbs of the three on their crosses were
just long black streaks, and I could no longer
read the lettering "King of the Jews" over the
mocking crown of thorns.

[Morley Callaghan,A Time For Judas,1983,locate]
Pippin might well have slept through the night
and into the next day had not the anti-aircraft
batteries disposed about Paris fired a royal
salute at two-thirty in the morning. Five
citizens were killed and thirty-two were wounded
by the fallback. The thirty-two wounded made
loyal and enthusiastic statements from their
hospital beds.

[John Steinbeck,The Short Reign of Pippin IV,1957,locate]
Hard and earnest space floated arrays to the
astute city. Restricted magnitude unifying
frontiers. An epigrammatic and soft ambiguity
gazed similarly. Besides, the heavy ring
munching the recursion. This idea is soft
precisely. The astute timetables asserted the
censors. The heavy and adoring genius unifying
by unbroken chains, mentally.

[R.S. Pearson,Rubber Blue Biodegradable Robot,1985-2000]
I silently sack up my dead and withdraw to the
woods. I eat and laugh and eat until I can
barely walk, my chest-hair matted with dribbled
blood, and then the roosters on the hill crow,
and dawn comes over the roofs of the houses,
and all at once I am filled with gloom again.

[John Gardner,Grendel,1971,locate]
The men came after him, their boots striking heavy
on the dusty ground, and the women came too, with
their hair flying and the stones in their hands.
Soames fell down the bank into the shallow river.
The men and women went down and covered him the
way flies cover a piece of offal after a
butchering, and their hands rose and fell.

[Leigh Brackett,The Long Tomorrow,1955,locate]
So my analysis of hundreds of cases of occupational
incompetence led me to formulate The Peter Principle:


[Laurence J. Peter and Raymond Hull,The Peter Principle,1969,locate]
In a laboratory situation, when your whole
procedure goes haywire, when everything goes
wrong or is indeterminate or is so screwed
up by unexpected results you can't make head
or tail out of anything, you start looking

[Robert M. Pirsig,Zen and The Art of Motorcycle Maintenance,1974,locate]
"What a long time life takes!" said Clarice
at last. "Sometimes I think it's hardly
worth encroaching on."

[Mervyn Peake,Gormenghast,1950,locate]
O thou that tellest good tidings to Zion, say
unto the cities of Judah, behold, behold, the
glory of the Lord, of the Lord, the glory of
the Lord is risen upon thee.

[George Frideric Handel,Messiah,1741,locate]
Amy Spillard, aged five, dares to clamber up the arch
and tiptoe along its crest. She looks like a girl-
ghost in an enchanted garden a hundred years ago.

[Andy Goldsworthy and David Craig,Arch,1999,locate]
I am so glad you did not forget to write to me
again this year. The number of children who
keep up with me seems to be getting smaller. I
expect it is because of this horrible war, and
that when it is over things will improve again,
and I will be as busy as ever.

[J.R.R. Tolkien,The Father Christmas Letters,1920-1939,locate]
He put the glass to his lips and drank at one gulp.
A cry followed; he reeled, staggered, clutched at
the table and held on, staring with injected eyes,
gasping with open mouth; and as I looked there
came, I thought, a change--he seemed to swell--
his face became suddenly black and the features
seemed to melt and alter--and the next moment, I
had sprung to my feet and leaped back against the
wall, my arms raised to shield me from that
prodigy, my mind submerged in terror.

[Robert Louis Stevenson,Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,1886,locate]
You know how it is - not a pain, or even a touch,
but just a feeling as though something has been
taken away. I felt rather than heard, a slight
snap, and instinctively clapped my right fist to
my hip. There was a movement that was not the
motion of marching; and for a few seconds I knew
real paralysing terror. On of my kilt buckles,
wrenched in the hurry of dressing, had given way.
There was a second one, of course, but was it
fastened properly? I knew, with horrifying
certainty, that if I removed my fist that vast,
silent crowd would be treated to the edifying
sight of a Highland officer marching in his shirt-
tail while his kilt collapsed in ruins about his
ankles. In that moment I really wanted to die.

[George MacDonald Fraser,The General Danced at Dawn,1970,locate]
Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog's eye
Crabalocker fishwife pornographic priestess
Boy you been a naughty girl
You let your knickers down
I am the eggman, they are the eggmen
I am the walrus, goo goo goo joob

[John Lennon and Paul McCartney,I Am the Walrus,1967,locate]