Memoirs of a Geisha -- Arthur Golden

"You can't pretend you have no influence at all. It's your duty to use what influence you have, unless, unless you want to drift through life like a fish belly-up on the stream,"

"I wish I could believe life really is something more than a stream that carries us along, belly-up."

"All right, if it's a stream, you're still free to be in this part of it or that part, aren't you? The water will divide again and again. If you bump and tussle, and fight, and make use of whatever advantages you might have—" 

"Oh, thats fine, I'm sure, when we have advantages."

"You'd find them everywhere, if you ever bothered to look!"