William Goldman (born August 12, 1931) is an American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter. He came to prominence in the 1950s as a novelist, before turning to writing for film. He has won two Academy Awards for his screenplays, first for the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) and again for All the President's Men (1976), about journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward, who broke the Watergate scandal of President Richard Nixon for the Washington Post. Both films starred Robert Redford.
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We normally think of history as one catastrophe after another, war followed by war, outrage by outrage — almost as if history were nothing more than all the narratives of human pain, assembled in sequence. And surely this is, often enough, an adequate description. But history is also the narratives of grace, the recountings of those blessed and inexplicable moments when someone did something for someone else, saved a life, bestowed a gift, gave something beyond what was required by circumstance.
Marriage is a perilous and fearful effort, it seems to me. . . . It creates pain that it is the only cure for. It is the only comfort for its hardships. . . . Though we had our troubles, we had them in a true perspective. The universe, as we could see any night, is unimaginably large, and mostly empty, and mostly dark. We knew we needed to be together more than we needed to be apart.
A broken leg can be remembered and located: "It hurt right below my knee, it throbbed, I felt sick at my stomach." But mental pain is remembered the way dreams are remembered — in fragments, unbidden realizations, like looking into a well and seeing the dim reflection of your face in that instant before the water shatters.