I had learnt to seek intensity rather than happiness, not joys and prosperity but more of life, a concentrated sense of life, a strengthened feeling of existence, fullness and concentration of pulse, energy, growth, flowering, beyond the image of happiness or unhappiness.— Nina Berberova
The most memorable Nina Berberova quotes that are life-changing and eye-opening
I had learnt to seek intensity — more of life, a concentrated sense of life.
How surprisingly alive false ideas are! They even have their own evolution.
At first they are highfalutin' 'truths,' then humdrum 'laws,' and finally superstitions.
For many years I used the pronoun 'we.' Now, as in my youth, I go to sleep and wake up alone.
my choices were partly conditioned by the two great laws - of biology and sociology - for I do not conceive of myself outside of them. ... Inside every biological and social situation I am free to make decisions.
This is my main shortcoming: I was so determined not to lose time that I often did the wrong thing. Not losing time has been my permanent concern since I was three years old, when it dawned on me that time is the warp of life, its very fabric, something that you cannot buy, trade, steal, falsify, or obtain by begging.
Paris is not a city, it is the image, the symbol of France, its today and yesterday, the reflection of its history, its geography and its hidden essence.
[On New York:] ... a city rose before me. It was narrow and tall like a gothic temple, surrounded by water, and ... it suddenly appeared, as if with a slight push it detached itself out of the invisible into the visible.
Moscow, Rome, London, Paris stay in place.
Leningrad and New York float, spreading all their sails, cutting space with their prows, and can disappear, if not in reality, then in the imagination of the poet creating a myth, a mythical tradition on the grounds of his secret experience.
It looks now as if everything has been profitable to me.
And if the payment has sometimes been excessive, it was afer all the payment, for life, and there cannot be and is no excessive payment for life.
even when nothing is happening, nothing stands still.
... I am not a rock, but a river; people deceive themselves by seeing me as a rock. Or is it I who deceive them and pretend that I am a rock when I am a river?
[On Paris:] It exists, constant, eternal, surrounding us who live in it, and it is in us. We love it or hate it, but we cannot escape it. It is a circle of associations in which man exists, being himself a circle of associations. Having entered it and come out of it we are not what we were before knowing it: it devoured us, we devoured it, and the problem is not did we or didn't we want it. We consumed each other. It courses in our blood.
The idea came to me that I was, am, and will be, but perhaps will not become.
This did not scare me. There was for me in being an intensity I did not feel in becoming.
I wanted to write; I sought all possible paths of personal liberation, but I could never sacrifice a living instant of life for the sake of a line to be written, my balance for the sake of a manuscript, a storm within me for the sake of a poem. I loved life itself too much for this.
Pearls ... have a way of dying when separated from their owner.
The past is good (as we all know), twenty, thirty years back everything was good, anyone can tell you that.
Doesn't the theory of relativity concern literature too? In our world there is no longer any room for the privileged observer, as there is none for the observer of the universe - we are all within.