The Boat Quotes


“'The thing is not to write what no one else has written but to write what only you could have written.'

I found this fragment in my old notebooks. The person who wrote that couldn't have known what would happen: how a voice hollows how words you once loved can wither on a page.”

This observation is so self-reflective or "meta" that it hurts. Le originally wrote the note to encourage his future self not to feel pressured to be original or revolutionary or anything like that. When he re-read it later, Le must have cringed. His older, wiser self knows that a personal connection to writing does not mean that the words will have their desired effect. When he read what he had written years before, Le didn't like how it sounded because he could remember how it felt to write those words, and they didn't express his ideas effectively.

“And it occurred to me then how it took hours, sometimes day, for the surface of a river to freeze over-to hold in its skin the perfect and crystalline world-and how that world could be shattered by a small stone dropped like a single syllable.”


In this quotation Le compares a river to a person. As winter comes, the river meticulously freezes over until ice covers its expanse. This is like a person in a relationship finally achieving some kind of intimacy and vulnerability. Alas, however, the ice can be broken by a single stone, just the same as someone being seriously hurt after becoming vulnerable with somebody else. Nature reflects humanity, just as humanity reflects nature. It is all the same function.

“You couldn't think of after, you only thought of now, and come to think of it, you didn't do that either- you were left with pools of memory, each stranded from the next by time pulling forward like a tide.”


Like a stubborn child, memory has a way of butting its way into the conscience. Le reminisces about time wasted on the past. To him, each memory is part of a person but an isolated part because of the fixating effect of time. Dwelling on the past, he continues to beat himself up for being so concerned about the past before when he should have been living in the moment. As is common with Le's writing, this quote contains a meta-layer of self-criticism. By criticizing a memory of himself, he's doing the very thing that he's criticizing about himself in the past.

“...How necessary it was to stay on the surface of things. Because beneath the surface was either dread or delirium.”


Here, Le talks about his anxiety. He finds that surface-level concerns preserve the psyche from certain harm. If one can keep things light and fluffy, then one will never have to face up to reality or choose to abscond from reality, like each of us eventually must. Le knows that he hasn't committed either to interpreting events as accurately as possible or to interpreting them according to a framework which he chooses to believe. At this point he's willing to anything to avoid answering that question.

Update this section!

You can help us out by revising, improving and updating this section.

Update this section

After you claim a section you’ll have 24 hours to send in a draft. An editor will review the submission and either publish your submission or provide feedback.