Quotes to Ponder

I don't need time. What I need is a deadline."
Duke Ellington

"We are left with six hours. 360 minutes to do whatever we want. Is what we want simply to numb out and give Simon Cowell even more money? To scroll through Twitter and Facebook looking for romance, bromance, cats, weather reports, obituaries and gossip? To get nostalgically, painfully drunk in a pub where you can’t even smoke?"

"Do something local. Do something real, however, small. And don't dis the political things, but understand their limitations."
Grace Boggs

"I have no idea if Malcolm Gladwell is onto something with the “10,000-hour rule” — the notion that this is the time required for the acquisition of perfected expertise in a particular field — but I am sure grind is underappreciated in our feel-good culture. Don’t sweat the details, but do sweat."
Roger Cohen

"You see imaginative story telling consists of telling a number of lies in order to convey a truth; it is a rearrangement of falsehoods which, if it is done honestly, results in verity."
Thornton Wilder

"Want to be happy? Mow the lawn. Collect the dead leaves. Paint the room. Do the dishes. Get a job. Labor until fatigue is in your very bones. Persist day after day. Be stoical. Never whine. Think less about the why of what you do than getting it done."
Roger Cohen

"It is better to be high-spirited even though one makes more mistakes, than to be narrow-minded and all too prudent."

Van Gogh

"There has to be insight born of hindsight. Otherwise, you’re only confessing your sins and asking the reader to forgive you. And that is a complete misuse of the writer’s power and unfair to the reader."
Meghan Daum, On False Sentimentality, Womanhood, and Getting with the Program, A Conversation with Meghan Daum

"Work is against human nature. The proof is that it makes us tired."
Michel Tournier

"Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life."
Pablo Picasso

"This story shall the good man tell his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered —
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he today that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England, now a-bed,
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here;
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon St. Crispin's day."
Shakespeare, Henry the Fifth

I Think Constantly of Those Who Were Truly Great
and, to be perfectly honest, it bums me out.
So many great ones! —libidinal heroes,
idealists, warrior-chieftains, revolutionaries,
fabulists of all sorts, even the great Irish pig farmers
and Armenian raisin growers —and who,
I ask myself, am I by comparison? Calmed by
Valium, urged on by Viagra, uplifted
by Prozac, I go about my daily rounds,
a quotidian member of the quotidian hierarchy,
a Perseus with neither a war nor a best friend,
and sink to the depths of despair
on the broken wings of my own mundanity.

If only some god had given me greatness,
I surely would have made something of it—
perhaps a loftier, more humble poem than this,
or some übermenschliche gesture that would reveal
my superiority to the ordinary beings and things
of this world. But here I am now, one of
the earth's mere Sancho Panzas, leading
those heroic others through the world on their
magnificent horses, merely turning the page,
dreaming my own small deeds into their magnificent arms.
Michael Blumenthal

"I want you to feel what I felt. I want you to know why story-truth is truer sometimes than happening-truth."
Tim O'Brien, The Things They Carried (1990)

"For although an artist may, in his private life, lie to others, even to himself, when he creates he tells the truth; and in a world of lies and liars, an honest work of art is always an act of social responsibility."
Robert McKee, Story

"That disorderly conduct was part of the warp and woof of the life of the English common people is evidenced in the lengthy catalogue of incidents spanning several centuries."
Donald C. Richter, Riotous Victorians

“Good writing is clear. Talented writing is energetic. Good writing avoids errors. Talented writing makes things happen in the reader's mind-- vividly, forcefully-- that good writing, which stops with clarity and logic, doesn't."
Samuel Delany,  About Writing Essays: Seven Essays, Four Letters, and Five Interviews

"'The River Styx,' Annabeth murmured. 'It's so...' 'Polluted,' Charon said. 'For thousands of years, you humans have been throwing in everything as you come across-- hopes, dreams, wishes that never came true. Irresponsible waste management, if you ask me.'"
Rick Riordan, The Lightening Thief

“Sometimes crying or laughing are the only options left, and laughing feels better right now.”
Veronica Roth, Divergent

"There's the great 'once upon a time,' which is a marker. It says this is not the here and now. You can let your imagination run wild. You can go in places that you'd be scared to go otherwise. You can say things that you're afraid to talk about."
Maria Tatar, On Being, The Great Cauldron of Story: Why Fairy Tales are for Adults Again

"You can't make anything authentic by asking people what they want because they don't know what they want. That's what they're looking at you for."
Thom Mayne

"What you want to do is say: ‘Here’s the attribute I’m going to demonstrate; here’s the story demonstrating it; here’s how that story demonstrated that attribute.’ ” And here is how it can create value. “Most people in an interview don’t make explicit their thought process behind how or why they did something and, even if they are able to come up with a compelling story, they are unable to explain their thought process.”

"Still-- they were expected to earn obedience and respect from tall, cocky, murderous American infantrymen who had just come from all the killing at the front. And then they saw bearded Billy Pilgrim in his blue toga and silver shoes, with his hands in a muff."
Kurt Vonnegt, Slaughterhouse-Five

"Fear to a great extent is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me."
Cheryl Strayed, Wild

"As a woman you can be seen as an object, but you have to have a sense within you that you are more in order to shift the story from you're a woman or beautiful or whatever to another story such as a smart, a team player, great with numbers, good with people, a great supply corps master."
 Tina Fey, Bossypants

"During my childhood in Florida, I’d often see pale vacationing families running around in shorts in 60-degree weather. They were wide-eyed and inexplicably giggling, cracked out on daylight."
Alissa Nutting, Its No Substitute for the Sun, The New York Times

"Do your thing and don't care if they like it."
Tina Fey, Bossypants

"Talk to your audience and tell them about why you had to tell the story that is your book. Tell us what you ate for breakfast – whatever. If someone has traveled in the rain or snow or come in from a beautiful day to sit in an uncomfortable chair for an hour (and it should never be more than that!) it is because they are interested in YOU. Don’t disappoint them."
Tina Fey, Bossypants

"Like so many Americans, she was trying to construct a life that made sense from things she found in gift shops."
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

"The people who lived here hated it so much that they burned down a lot of it a month before. It was all they had, and they'd wrecked it."
Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five

"The consultant, the doctor (often) and the politician sell us the narrative. They don't always change things, but they give us a story, a way to think about what's happening. Often, that story helps us fix our problems on our own."
Seth Godin, The Cure or the Story

Master, what is the best way to meet the loss of one we love?

                                 Master Kan
By knowing that when we truly love it is never lost. It is only after death that the depth of the bond is truly felt and our loved one becomes more a part of us than was possible in life.


Are we only able to feel this toward those whom we have known and loved a long time?

                                 Master Kan

Sometimes a stranger known to us for moments can spark our souls to kinship for eternity.


How can strangers take on such importance to our souls?

                                Master Kan

Because our soul does not keep time; it merely records growth.

Kung Fu TV Series,
Episode #15 – The Ancient Warrior

"...we have to offer a menu, we have to curate choices, we have to dream for people who don't have the guts or time to dream for themselves."
Seth Godin, The Index and the Menu

"the birds that fly away
are never exactly the same as those that return"
Anne Pierson Wiese, "Everything but God" from Floating City: Poems

"Not everything in us is beautiful. We need to undertake the meticulous work of clearance and clarification in order that our inner beauty may shine."
John O'Donohue, Beauty, The Invisible Embrace

"Our world is becoming more busy and noisy. We are pushing silence out of our lives at a rate that suggests a fear of what it has to say to us about ourselves. Silence is the voice of the mystery. Silence lets us dream again."
John O'Donohue, Four Elements

"...the artists that strive to generate meaning and fabricate new ways of seeing and thinking and behaving and guiding the mass of humanity toward a more humane and peaceful world."
Mathew Modine, The Loop, "What I Learned from Stanley Kubrick"

The Word

Down near the bottom

of the crossed-out list
of things you have to do today,

between "green thread"
and "broccoli," you find
that you have penciled "sunlight."

Resting on the page, the word
is beautiful. It touches you
as if you had a friend

and sunlight were a present
he had sent from someplace distant
as this morning—to cheer you up,

and to remind you that,
among your duties, pleasure
is a thing

that also needs accomplishing.
Do you remember?
that time and light are kinds

of love, and love
is no less practical
than a coffee grinder

or a safe spare tire?
Tomorrow you may be utterly
without a clue,

but today you get a telegram
from the heart in exile,
proclaiming that the kingdom

still exists,
the king and queen alive,
still speaking to their children,

—to any one among them
who can find the time
to sit out in the sun and listen.

Tony Hoagland, Sweet Ruin. © University of Wisconsin Press, 1992 from The Writer's Almanac

"Time makes us old. Eternity keeps us young."
Meister Eckhart

"To behold beauty dignifies your life; it heals you and calls you out beyond the smallness of your own self-limitation to experience new horizons. To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged."
John O'Donohue, Beauty, The Invisible Embrace

"Let the beauty we love be what we do. There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."

"Much of the stress and emptiness that haunts us can be traced back to our lack of attention to beauty. Internally, the mind becomes coarse and dull if it remains unvisited by images and thoughts which hold the radiance of beauty."
John O'Donohue, Beauty, The Invisible Embrace

"Imagine saving a world by saving its seeds."
Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground

"Each place has a different collection of past history," said Kasper.

"Where we live and what we eat live with is who we are."

Lynne Rossetto Kasper as quoted by Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground

"'Somewhere we got the idea that food was science,' she said. 'What worked in industry overtook what worked in the backyard, a kind of "better living through chemistry" mind-set. We let corporations make supper for us, not to mention breakfast and lunch.'"

Lynne Rossetto Kasper as quoted by Janisse Ray, The Seed Underground

"Greatness lies, not in being strong, but in the right using of strength; and strength is not used rightly when it serves only to carry a man above his fellows for his own solitary glory. He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own."
Henry Ward Beecher

People are often unreasonable, illogical,and self-centered; Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, People may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives; Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies; Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you; Be honest and frank anyway.
What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight; Build anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous; Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow; Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough; Give the world the best you've got anyway.
You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God; It was never between you and them anyway.
Author unknown, music by Maggie and Suzzy

First words
To search the frozen parts for tears
Until a forgotten line fires
Down through the word-hoard
To where your first silence was
Broken, and your rhythm born.
from Conamara Blues: Poems by John O'Donohue

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.
from Conamara Blues: Poems by John O'Donohue

"Make the wrong thing difficult and the right thing easy."
Ray Hunt

"We drown in ugliness. Art helps teach us to swim...."
William Stafford

"My purpose was to examine the ways in which the greatest tellers had put divine things and human things together. The ultimate dimension, I suggested, was given to narrative by the presence in it of gods or their equivalent."
Mark Van Doren

"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry."
William Butler Yeats

"We are a storytelling species, and we have always used our stories to teach one another how we should live, and how we should not."
David Gushee, "Teaching virtue at the movies in 2011"

"The arts are not a way of making a living. They are a very human way of making life more bearable. Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake. Sing in the shower. Dance to the radio. Tell stories. Write a poem to a friend, even a lousy poem. Do it as well as you possibly can. You will get an enormous reward. You will have created something."
Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country, 2005

"[When Vonnegut tells his wife he's going out to buy an envelope]
Oh, she says, well, you're not a poor man. You know, why don't you go online and buy a hundred envelopes and put them in the closet? And so I pretend not to hear her. And go out to get an envelope because I'm going to have a hell of a good time in the process of buying one envelope. I meet a lot of people. And, see some great looking babes. And a fire engine goes by. And I give them the thumbs up. And, and ask a woman what kind of dog that is. And, and I don't know. The moral of the story is, is we're here on Earth to fart around. And, of course, the computers will do us out of that. And, what the computer people don't realize, or they don't care, is we're dancing animals. You know, we love to move around. And, we're not supposed to dance at all anymore."
Kurt Vonnegut, Interview by David Brancaccio, NOW (PBS) (7 October 2005)

"The telling of jokes is an art of its own, and it always rises from some emotional threat. The best jokes are dangerous, and dangerous because they are in some way truthful."
Kurt Vonnegut, Interviewed by J. Rentilly, "The Best Jokes Are Dangerous", McSweeny's magazine (September 2002)

1. Find a subject you care about.
2. Do not ramble, though.
3. Keep it simple.
4. Have the guts to cut.
5. Sound like yourself.
6. Say what you mean to say.
7. Pity the readers.
Kurt Vonnegut as quoted in Science Fictionisms (1995), compiled by William Rotsler

"Most [people] have the ridiculous notion that anything they do which produces an income is work – and that anything they do outside 'working' hours is play. There is no logic to that. … Your life is too short and too valuable to fritter away in work. If you don't get out now, you may end up like the frog that is placed in a pot of fresh water on the stove. As the temperature is gradually increased, the frog feels restless and uncomfortable, but not uncomfortable enough to jump out. Without being aware that a chance is taking place, be is gradually lulled into unconsciousness.

Much the same thing happens when you take a person and put him in a job which he does not like. He gets irritable in his groove. His duties soon become a monotonous routine that slowly dulls his senses. As I walk into offices, through factories and stores, I often find myself looking into the expressionless faces of people going through mechanical motions. They are people whose minds are stunned and slowly dying."
William J. Reilly How To Avoid Work

 "Monkees, your love keeps pouring steadily and mightily into my inbox. That love is what is keeping me afloat. The net we’ve weaved these last four years is saving me. We were all strangers and then I threw you a story like a life line and you threw one back and then we all kept throwing each other lifelines until we’d built this solid, beautiful, strong net, like fisherman use, with a Monkee at every inch along the wildly wide diameter. I’m just sitting in the middle now. With lots of other Monkees. We take turns holding up the edges and sitting down in the middle. In the middle, we wait for some clarity. We give ourselves some space. We let ourselves be carried and watched over and protected."
Glennon Doyle Melton from Momastery, It is Official. I Can Make it Anywhere. 

 "...I have to live out loud."

Glennon Doyle Melton from Momastery

"...what goes on in the human heart makes a big difference in how well the world works."
A Commencement Address by Parker Palmer 

 "There was this one friend who came to me, after asking permission to do so, every afternoon about four o'clock, sat me down in a chair in the living room, took off my shoes and socks and massaged my feet. He hardly ever said anything. He was a Quaker elder. And yet out of his intuitive sense, from time to time would say a very brief word like, 'I can feel your struggle today,' or farther down the road, 'I feel that you're a little stronger at this moment, and I'm glad for that.' But beyond that, he would say hardly anything. He would give no advice. He would simply report from time to time what he was sort of intuiting about my condition. Somehow he found the one place in my body, namely the soles of my feet, where I could experience some sort of connection to another human being. And the act of massaging just, you know, in a way that I really don't have words for, kept me connected with the human race.

What he mainly did for me, of course, was to be willing to be present to me in my suffering. He just hung in with me in this very quiet, very simple, very tactile way. And I've never really been able to find the words to fully express my gratitude for that, but I know it made a huge difference. And it became for me a metaphor of the kind of community we need to extend to people who are suffering in this way, which is a community that is neither invasive of the mystery nor evasive of the suffering but is willing to hold people in a space, a sacred space of relationship, where somehow this person who is on the dark side of the moon can get a little confidence that they can come around to the other side."

Parker Palmer speaking at On Being

"I do not believe that the God who gave me life wants me to live a living death. I believe that the God who gave me life wants me to live life fully and well. Now, is that going to take me to places where I suffer, because I am standing for something or I am committed to something or I am passionate about something that gets resisted and rejected by the society? Absolutely. But anyone who's ever suffered that way knows that it's a life-giving way to suffer, that if it's your truth, you can't not do it. And that knowledge carries you through. But there's another kind of suffering that is simply and purely death. It's death in life, and that is a darkness to be worked through to find the life on the other side."

Parker Palmer speaking at On Being

"You only have what you give. It’s by spending yourself that you become rich."
Isabel Allende

The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr

"Don't be yourself. Be someone a little nicer."
Mignon McLaughlin 

 "...You need to do the same, dear sweet arrogant beautiful crazy talented tortured rising star glowbug. That you're so bound up about writing tells me that writing is what you're here to do. And when people are here to do that, they almost always tell us something we need to hear. I want to know what you have inside you. I want to see the contours of your second beating heart.

So write, Elissa Bassist. Not like a girl. Not like a boy. Write like a motherfucker.
Yours, Sugar"
Cheryl Strayed Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar "

Stare, pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long."
Walker Evans, Depression Era Photographer 

"Go placidly amidst the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible without surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth. Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be, and whatever your labours and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul. With all its shams, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful.

Strive to be happy."
Max EhrmannDesiderata 

 "More and more people in this country no longer make or do anything tangible; if your job wasn’t performed by a cat or a boa constrictor in a Richard Scarry book I’m not sure I believe it’s necessary. I can’t help but wonder whether all this histrionic exhaustion isn’t a way of covering up the fact that most of what we do doesn’t matter."
Tim Kreider 

 "You should eat delicious things while you can still eat them, go to wonderful places while you still can ... and not have evenings where you say to yourself, 'What am I doing here? Why am I here? I am bored witless!'"
Nora Ephron 

 The 15 Things Charles and Ray Eames Teach Us
01. Keep good company
02. Notice the ordinary
03. Preserve the ephemeral
04. Design not for the elite but for the masses
05. Explain it to a child
06. Get lost in the content
07. Get to the heart of the matter
08. Never tolerate “O.K. anything.”
09. Remember your responsibility as a storyteller
10. Zoom out
11. Switch
12. Prototype it
13. Pun
14. Make design your life… and life, your design.
15. Leave something behind.
Excerpt from: An essay by Keith Yamashita (PDF)
(via Swiss-Miss)

Seth Godin's blog "...art must be grasped at once, instantaneously."

"The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught."
Anton Chekhov 

"The old is not old enough to have died away; The new is still too young to be born."
Walt Whitman 

"Open a book this minute and start reading. Don't move until you've reached page fifty. Until you've buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve."
Carol Shields 

 "How would you describe the difference between modern war and modern industry -- between, say, bombing and strip mining, or between chemical warfare and chemical manufacturing? The difference seems to be only that in war the victimization of humans is directly intentional and in industry it is 'accepted' as a 'trade-off.'"
Wendell Berry

"Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Antoine de Saint Exupery 

 "Give, give, give — what is the point of having experience, knowledge or talent if I don’t give it away? Of having stories if I don’t tell them to others? Of having wealth if I don’t share it? I don’t intend to be cremated with any of it! It is in giving that I connect with others, with the world and with the divine."
Isabel Allende 

 "I'm willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else's living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another's brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves."
John Updike in a New York Times Book Review

"...going meat- and dairyless one day a week is more environmentally beneficial than eating locally every single day."
2008 report from Carnegie Mellon University

 "...we come to formal poems naturally, the way a child comes to language.

“Bath, book, bottle, bed” are soothing to children because they know what comes next. So is “Mary had a little lamb / whose fleece was white as snow / and everywhere that Mary went / the lamb was sure to go.” The rhythm comes measure by measure, as does the rhyme. It is a wonderful pleasure for children—for all of us—to be able to predict what comes next."
Sonia Levitin, Again! Again! Poetry Foundation 

 "Beauty awakens the soul to act."
Dante Alighieri

"Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."
Steve Jobs

"Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you're a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff's worth, without pity, and destroy most of it."

"Imagination is like a muscle. I found out that the more I wrote, the bigger it got."
Philip José Farmer 

 "There is a pervasive form of modern violence to which the idealist ... most easily succumbs: activism and overwork. The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help every-one in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his/her work... It destroys the fruitfulness of his/her own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom, which makes work fruitful."
Thomas Merton, from Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

 "To acquire the habit of reading is to construct for yourself a refuge from almost all the miseries of life."
Somerset Maugham 

 "Everything you need to learn about writing you will learn, and can only learn, by writing. So get rid of the TV and work. And when you're stuck, write why you're stuck, with merciless honesty, and you will become unstuck."
David Mitchell

"There is something beautiful about all scars of whatever nature. A scar means the hurt is over, the wound is closed and healed, done with."
Harry Crews

 "First, work like a maniac because no one else will do it for you. Second, know that art matters. Next, understand that fiction is about transformation and that change is possible. And finally, make the surface of writing lively, fun-filled, and funny, even if the characters are in excruciating pain."
Elizabeth Benedict

"It is a delicious thing to write, to be no longer yourself but to move in an entire universe of your own creating. Today, for instance, as man and woman, both lover and mistress, I rode in a forest on an autumn afternoon under the yellow leaves, and I was also the horses, the leaves, the wind, the words my people uttered, even the red sun that made them almost close their love-drowned eyes."
Gustave Flaubert

"...it's hard to stay mad when there's so much beauty in the world. Sometimes I feel like I'm seeing it all at once, and it's too much. My heart fills up like a balloon that's about to burst. And then I remember to relax, and stop trying to hold on to it. And then it flows through me like rain. And I can't feel anything but gratitude for every single moment of my stupid little life."  
American Beauty, 1999

"It is my belief that the writer, the free-lance author, should be and must be a critic of the society in which he lives. It is easy enough, and always profitable, to rail away at national enemies beyond the sea, at foreign powers beyond our borders who question the prevailing order. But the moral duty of the free writer is to begin his work at home; to be a critic of his own community, his own country, his own culture. If the writer is unwilling to fill this part, then the writer should abandon pretense and find another line of work: become a shoe repairman, a brain surgeon, a janitor, a cowboy, a nuclear physicist, a bus driver."
Edward Abbey, naturalist and author (1927-1989)

"Be tethered in native pastures, even if it reduces [you] to a back-yard in New York."
Henry James in a letter to Edith Wharton

"The main effort of arranging your life should be to progressively reduce the amount of time required to decently maintain yourself so that you can have all the time you want for reading."
Norman Rush

"I have blessed you every day of your life, Rachel," she told me. "I just never had the wisdom to do it out loud."

Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather's Blessings

Promise Yourself..

To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet.
To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.

"Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked. To design something really well, you have to get it. You have to really get what it's all about. It takes a passionate commitment to really thoroughly understand something, chew it up, not just quickly swallow it. Most people don't take the time to do that."
Steve Jobs- Wired magazine, 1994

 "It's about healing the world that touches you, that's around you."
Rachel Naomi Remen, On Being, December 27, 2007

"It involves all people who have ever been born, all people presently alive, all people yet to be born. We are all healers of the world."
Rachel Naomi Remen, On Being, December 27, 2007 

 "We are here because we are born with the capacity to find the hidden light in all events and all people, to lift it up and make it visible once again and thereby to restore the innate wholeness of the world."
Rachel Naomi Remen, On Being, December 27, 2007 

 "Craftsmanship is something that's really going out now. The young people have no patience with craftsmanship any more. They think, therefore they am [sic]. It's not enough. You don't think, therefore you are. You do, therefore you are, or else you aren't. Thinking is not enough."
Shel Silverstein, 1963 interview, The Aardvark 

 "The philosophy behind it isn’t important. The question is, if your work is weak and lacking so that it needs explanation, it isn’t enough, it isn’t clear enough. Make it so good and so clear that it doesn’t need any further explanation."
Shel Silverstein, 1963 interview, The Aardvark 

 "...Jung's idea that, ironically, the more intensely individual a person's thoughts are, the more uniquely applicable to him or her, the more they will have meaning for other people. 'That which is most personal is most common.' he said."
Adair Lara, Naked, Drunk, and Writing 

 "Every person who has ever achieved anything has been knocked down many times. But all of them picked themselves up and kept going, and that is what I have always tried to do."
Wangari Maathai 

 "But how are you to see into a virtuous Soul and know its loveliness? Withdraw into yourself and look. And if you do not find yourself beautiful yet, act as does the creator of a statue that is to be made beautiful: he cuts away here, he smooths there, he makes this line lighter, this other purer, until a lovely face has grown upon his work. So do you also: cut away all that is excessive, straighten all that is crooked, bring light to all that is overcast, labour to make all one glow of beauty and never cease chiseling your statue..."
Plotinus, The Enneads 

 "Most of us move now in such a thicket of excess that we can no longer make out the real contours of things. Where there is entanglement, there is no perspective or clarity to make out the true identity of anything."
John O'Donohue