❝ This is the cemetery. The good bones are in here, the bad bones are out there…

❝This is the cemetery. The good bones are in here, the bad bones are out there, beyond the church wall, beyond the pale, unsanctified.

The bad bones behaved badly, perhaps because of bad blood, bad luck, bad childhoods. Anyway, they did not treat their bodies well. Walked them over cliff edges, jumped them off bell-towers. Tried to fly. Broke things.

The good bones lie snug under their tidy monuments. They have been given brooches to wear, signet rings, poems carved on stone, marble urns, citations. Circlets of bright hair. They have been worthy and dutiful, they deserve it. That’s what it says here: the last word.

The bad bones have been bad, so they are better left unsaid. They are better left unsaying. But they were never happy, they always wanted more, they were always hungry. They can smell the words, the words coming out of your mouth all warm and yeasty. They want some words of their own. They’ll be back.

[. . .]

You can wipe your feet on me, twist my motives around all you like, you can dump millstones on my head and drown me in the river, but you can’t get me out of the story. I’m the plot, babe, and don’t ever forget it.

—   Good Bones, Margaret Atwood

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