"This tragic Cherokee business which we stirred at a meeting in the church yesterday will look to me degrading & injurious do what I can. It is like dead cats around one’s neck. It is like School Committees & Sunday School classes & Teachers’ meetings & the Warren street chapel & all the other holy hurrahs. I stir in it for the sad reason that no other mortal will move & if I do not, why it is left undone.
The amount of it, be sure, is merely a Scream but sometimes a scream is better than a thesis."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
"I thought that the book might be about becoming, perhaps mine. I thought that if I looked hard enough into the past that something would be revealed. I thought it might have been a cleansing fire. But it wasn’t; it was a yoke. I had been seduced by the idea of being a writer, a writer of books. I imagined the book might advance my career, legitimize my tinkering. That isn’t a reason to write a book."
"The Book I Didn’t Write," Elmo Keep
(Source: The Awl)
"This command of inner riches gives what she writes, and no doubt gave what she said, an extraordinary force and authority, even when her words are exaggerated or false.
It is harder to divest oneself of inner riches than of outward possessions; the rich man can sell all he has and give it to the poor. Those who find inner riches an obstruction to the growth of the spirit have the harder task of divesting the soul of all that makes it interesting and fetching to their fellows, of going away from the warm, rough world into other regions, into fire or ice or darkness."
"The Life and Death of Simone Weil," J. M. Cameron
"…I love flowers I’d love to have the whole place swimming in roses God of heaven there’s nothing like nature the wild mountains then the sea and the waves rushing then the beautiful country with fields of oats and wheat and all kinds of things and all the fine cattle going about that would do your heart good to see rivers and lakes and flowers all sorts of shapes and smells and colours springing up even out of the ditches primroses and violets nature it is as for them saying there’s no God I wouldn’t give a snap of my two fingers for all their learning why don’t they go and create something I often asked him atheists or whatever they call themselves go and wash the cobbles off themselves first then they go howling for the priest and they dying and why why because they’re afraid of hell on account of their bad conscience ah yes I know them well who was the first person in the universe before there was anybody that made it all who ah that they don’t know neither do I so there you are they might as well try to stop the sun from rising tomorrow the sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a woman’s body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldn’t answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didn’t know of Mulvey and Mr Stanhope and Hester and father and old captain Groves and the sailors playing all birds fly and I say stoop and washing up dishes they called it on the pier and the sentry in front of the governors house with the thing round his white helmet poor devil half roasted and the Spanish girls laughing in their shawls and their tall combs and the auctions in the morning the Greeks and the Jews and the Arabs and the devil knows who else from all the ends of Europe and Duke street and the fowl market all clucking outside Larby Sharans and the poor donkeys slipping half asleep and the vague fellows in the cloaks asleep in the shade on the steps and the big wheels of the carts of the bulls and the old castle thousands of years old yes and those handsome Moors all in white and turbans like kings asking you to sit down in their little bit of a shop and Ronda with the old windows of the posadas glancing eyes a lattice hid for her lover to kiss the iron and the wineshops half open at night and the castanets and the night we missed the boat at Algeciras the watchman going about serene with his lamp and O that awful deepdown torrent O and the sea the sea crimson sometimes like fire and the glorious sunsets and the figtrees in the Alameda gardens yes and all the queer little streets and pink and blue and yellow houses and the rosegardens and the jessamine and geraniums and cactuses and Gibraltar as a girl where I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down Jo me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes."
"Ulysses," James Joyce
"In 1976, on the occasion of the U.S. bicentennial, Ryan rode her bicycle on a four-thousand-mile trip, along back roads from Oregon to California, hoping that the trip would help her decide whether or not she wanted to be a writer. She says she was “resisting the claims that poetry was making on her,” but when she reached Colorado’s Hoosier Pass, she felt her mind sharpen “like a laser beam” on the fact that writing gave her “pleasure like nothing else.” She had found her answer, but she had no idea how to go about becoming a poet. For inspiration, she turned to an unlikely source, the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! books, which taught her to “utilize the fanciful.” The books served as fodder for her eight-year, self-imposed apprenticeship, during which she wrote “a gazillion” poems before publishing her first collection in 1983."
"This search for fame, the lust for material things and the objectification of others — that is, the cycle of grasping and craving — follows a formula that is elegant, simple and deadly:
Love things, use people.
This was Abd al-Rahman’s formula as he sleepwalked through life. It is the worldly snake oil peddled by the culture makers from Hollywood to Madison Avenue. But you know in your heart that it is morally disordered and a likely road to misery. You want to be free of the sticky cravings of unhappiness and find a formula for happiness instead. How? Simply invert the deadly formula and render it virtuous:
Love people, use things.
Easier said than done, I realize. It requires the courage to repudiate pride and the strength to love others — family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances, God and even strangers and enemies. Only deny love to things that actually are objects. The practice that achieves this is charity. Few things are as liberating as giving away to others that which we hold dear."
"Love People, Not Pleasure," Arthur C. Brooks
(Source: The New York Times)
"You know, a few years ago I met a nature writer at a conference and I was talking to him about how I thought my generation feels a real responsibility to move places and connect across difference—which is good, but results in no one being rooted.
His response was so simple and so obvious, but it’s really stayed with me. He just said, “Do both.” He said that people need to have a place to speak from, but then they can also leave, and that’s it."
Molly Caro May
"I don’t know man, just constantly seeking balance. Sacrificing in all directions, but pursuing the love paradox — 100 percent to it all. 100 percent to my family, 100 percent to my art, and 100 percent on the end of the rope. It doesn’t make sense and I pretty much botch one of them every single day, but in the end it works out, I guess."