top of page

The Intimacy Experiment
by Rosie Danan


“He recalled a concept from the Jewish mystics - rishima - “the imprint an experience leaves.” They believed that if you endured something and let it pass without memory or reflection, if you didn’t change after having gone through it, it was as if the event had never happened. But if an experience left an imprint, if it inspired growth or altered the course of your life, then, according to the mystics, even the most painful and challenging experiences become a blessed teacher.” (p. 37)


““The tricky thing about grief,” his mom said, “is that even when we know it’s coming, we underestimate our own capacity for suffering.”” (p. 42)


““So why do you get out of bed in the morning?”

Something about the intensity in her voice when she asked pulled the truth out of him.

“There’s a moment, when you’re speaking to someone, and you’re listening to something they said, or actually,” - it didn’t even require conversation - “maybe not, maybe you’re just giving them your attention, holding a door open at the deli, and something shafts behind their eyes and you know that they feel seen.” … “They know they matter. That they’re not alone. And when that happened, I think about all the times someone had done that for me. The way that interaction saved me, shored me up against a thousand invisible aches I didn’t realize I was carrying.” … “I guess I get out of bed because I think about the connection that we all have, this fragile humanity, each of us insignificant and at the same time precious. A continuation of a species that is recklessly unique. I remember that life is a finite gift, and I’d be an asshole to waste it.”

“Why do you get out of bed in the morning?”

She blinked. “Easy. Because the world is cruel and unrelenting, full of pain and injustice.”

Ethan’s brows drew together. “That sounds more like a reason to stay home.”

“You didn’t let me finish.” …

“The world is cruel and unrelenting, full of pain and injustice,” she said again, leaning slightly toward him, “and I am a stick of dynamite.” ... “Sometimes ineffectual, other times unnecessarily destructive, but, on occasion, enough to at least temporarily disrupt the rhythm of the patriarchal abyss threatening to suck doesn everything I care about and hold it hostage.”” (p. 91-92)


““I’ll save it for those really dark moments, when I look at everything wrong with the world and I feel helpless. When every good thing I’ve ever done, ever seen or heard about, pales against the garish human capacity for hate and corruption.” … “I’ll think about it then, if it’s okay,” he said gently, “just for a few seconds, so I can remember what it was like to feel transcendent.”” (p. 174)


“A scholar from Jerusalem posited that two types of rest exist.

One is rest from weariness, respite when our bodies and minds are worn down. Tired. We rest only so we might wake up and continue working. This first rest - sleep - brings relief, but not joy.

The second type of rest, the one Naomi had never really considered, came only at the end of reaching a goal, never in the middle. This was the rest of release. Of knowing that one had done something or make something worthy of satisfaction., Manuhat margoa, rest in achievement. Rest that brings peace.” (p. 225)


“The part where she was fighting not out of spite, but because she believed that one day her rebellion might make it easier for someone else to know peace.” (p. 236)


““Tender like the ocean returning to shore, no matter how many times it’s sent away.

“This world is full of people who would rather hate you than examine the pain in their own hearts. They will try to limit who you can love, who you can spend time with, who you can fuck. Some of these people will act like their condemnation is in your best interest. Like one day you’ll thank them for showing you the error of your ways. Some of them feel better about their own lives when they can deny the validity of yours.” … “Sometimes love is your own quiet rebellion.”” (p. 236-237)


“Institutions, she realized, drew their power from the people inside them.” (p. 297)


““I’m still hurt. Aren’t you?”

“Yeah,” she conceded. “I am. But I’ve realized that life allows for those multitudes. Our actions, the future we choose - more often than not, it all comes down to one simple question. What are you gonna let win - your love or your pain?”” (p. 304)

bottom of page