We want a sense that an important character, like a narrator, is reliable. We want to believe that a character is not playing ages or being coy or being manipulative, but is telling the truth to the best of his or her ability...We do not wish to be crudely manipulated...We want to be massaged by a masseur, not whapped by a carpet beater.
We cheated, you and me, and someone noticed. I noticed you; someone else noticed me. It hurts us. That's not so bad. So many people cheat. Everywhere on every level. Everyone's cheated. I'm just saying that you don't need to see yourself as a cheater. Because that's not who you are. You're someone who cheated. There's a difference, and you should try to get that difference, or that's who you'll grow up to be.
You can either set brick as a laborer or as an artist. You can make the work a chore, or you can have a good time. You can do it the way you used to clear the dinner dishes when you were thirteen, or you can do it as a Japanese person would perform a tea ceremony, with a level of concentration and care in which you can lose yourself, and so in which you can find yourself.
They believe that if they do get published, a wonderful new life is in store. It will turn out that deep down they are really valuable people and will have lots of money from now on and really cool people like Ethan Hawke will be dropping by all the time. But it's a lie. Being a published writer will make them long to be ONLY as mentally ill as they are now. Their current level of obsession and doubt and self-loathing will look like the good old days. Honest.
published quoteswonderful quoteslife quotesstore quotesturn quotesdeep quotesvaluable quotespeople quoteslots quotesmoney quotescool quotesethan quoteshawke quotesdropping quotestime quoteslie quotespublished quoteswriter quotesmake quoteslong quotesmentally quotesill quotescurrent quoteslevel quotesobsession quotesdoubt quotesselfloathing quotesgood quotesdays quoteshonest quotes
For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
books quotesimportant quotesearth quotesmiracle quotessmall quotesflat quotesrigid quotessquares quotespaper quotesunfolds quotesworld quotesworld quotesworlds quotessing quotescomfort quotesquiet quotesexcite quotesbooks quotesunderstand quotesbehave quotesshow quotescommunity quotesfriendship quoteslive quotesdie quotes
The worst time in any writer's life is the two months before publication. ALL writers become mental and pathetic, even those of devout faith, who have some psychological healing to lean up against, and gorgeous lives. All writers think that this time, the jig is up, and they will be exposed as frauds.
If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you're a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act""truth is always subversive.
inside quotesreal quotesfind quotesinteresting quotesuniversal quotesrisk quotesplacing quotesreal quotesemotion quotescenter quoteswork quoteswrite quotesstraight quotesemotional quotesthings quotesvulnerability quotesrisk quotesunliked quotestruth quotesunderstand quoteswriter quotesmoral quotesobligation quotesrevolutionary quotesacttruth quotessubversive quotes
So what are we supposed to do again, when we hate everything? You stop pretending life is such fun or makes sense. It's often messy and cruel and dull, and we do the best we can. It's unfair, and jerks seem to win. But you fall in love with a few people. Like I love you, Elizabeth. You're the angel God sent me.
Jealousy is such a direct attack on whatever measure of confidence you've been able to muster. But if you continue to write, you are probably going to have to deal with it, because some wonderful, dazzling successes are going to happen for some of the most awful, angry, undeserving writers you know-people who are, in other words, not you.
A man dies and goes to heaven. He is being shown around by an angel. Everything is just so sweet and gentle, the total golden tender presence of God everywhere, a pond over there, a beautiful field there, and some hills for people who like to hike, and this expansiveness in every direction of sky and light and physical beauty. And there is this section separated from the rest; it has beautiful high walls. The man who's just come to heaven says, "What's over there?" The angel says, "That's for the fundamentalists. They don't consider it heaven if anyone else got in.
man quotesdies quotesheaven quotesshown quotesangel quotessweet quotesgentle quotestotal quotesgolden quotestender quotespresence quotesgod quotespond quotesbeautiful quotesfield quoteshills quotespeople quoteshike quotesexpansiveness quotesdirection quotessky quoteslight quotesphysical quotesbeauty quotessection quotesseparated quotesrest quoteshigh quoteswalls quotesheaven quotesangel quotesfundamentalists quotes
I've heard it said that every day you need half an hour of quiet time for yourself, or your Self, unless you're incredibly busy and stressed, in which case you need an hour. I promise you, it is there. Fight tooth and nail to find time, to make it. It is our true wealth, this moment, this hour, this day.
Bananas are great, as I believe them to be the only known cure for existential dread. Also, Mother Teresa said that in India, a woman dying in the street will share her banana with anyone who needs it, whereas in America, people amass and hoard as many bananas as they can to sell for an exorbitant profit. So half of them go bad, anyway.
If you don't believe in God, it may help to remember this great line of Geneen Roth's: that awareness is learning to keep yourself company. And then learn to be more compassionate company, as if you were somebody you are fond of and wish to encourage. I doubt that you would read a close friend's early efforts and, in his or her presence, roll your eyes and snicker. I doubt that you would pantomime sticking your finger down your throat. I think you might say something along the lines of, 'Good for you. We can work out some of the problems later, but for now, full steam ahead!
god quotesremember quotesgreat quotesline quotesgeneen quotesroths quotesawareness quoteslearning quotescompany quoteslearn quotescompassionate quotescompany quotesfond quotesencourage quotesdoubt quotesread quotesclose quotesfriends quotesearly quotesefforts quotespresence quotesroll quoteseyes quotessnicker quotespantomime quotessticking quotesfinger quotesthroat quoteslines quotesgood quoteswork quotesproblems quotesfull quotessteam quotesahead quotes
Toni Morrison said, "The function of freedom is to free someone else," and if you are no longer wracked or in bondage to a person or a way of life, tell your story. Risk freeing someone else. Not everyone will be glad that you did. Members of your family and other critics may wish you had kept your secrets. Oh, well, what are you going to do?
Most people's intuitions are drowned out by folk sayings. We have a moment of real feeling or insight, and then we come up with a folk saying that captures the insight in a kind of wash. The intuition may be real and ripe, fresh with possibilities, but the folk saying is guaranteed to be a cliche, stale and self-contained.
And my fear of failure has been lifelong and deep. If you are what you do- and I think my parents may have accidentally given me this idea- and you do poorly, what then? It's over; you're wiped out. All those prophecies you heard in the dark have come true, and people can see the real you, see what a schmendrick you are, what a fraud.
Remember that you own what happened to you. If your childhood was less than ideal, you may have been raised thinking that if you told the truth about what really went on in your family, a long bony white finger would emerge from a cloud and point to you, while a chilling voice thundered, "We *told* you not to tell." But that was then. Just put down on paper everything you can remember now about your parents and siblings and relatives and neighbors, and we will deal with libel later on.
remember quoteshappened quoteschildhood quotesideal quotesraised quotesthinking quotestold quotestruth quotesfamily quoteslong quotesbony quoteswhite quotesfinger quotesemerge quotescloud quotespoint quoteschilling quotesvoice quotesthundered quotestold quotesput quotespaper quotesremember quotesparents quotessiblings quotesrelatives quotesneighbors quotesdeal quoteslibel quotes
Clutter and mess show us that life is being lived...Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation... Perfectionism is a mean, frozen form of idealism, while messes are the artist's true friend. What people somehow forgot to mention when we were children was that we need to make messes in order to find out who we are and why we are here.
clutter quotesmess quotesshow quoteslife quoteslivedtidiness quotesmakes quotesheld quotesbreath quotessuspended quotesanimation quotesperfectionism quotesfrozen quotesform quotesidealism quotesmesses quotesartists quotestrue quotesfriend quotespeople quotesforgot quotesmention quoteschildren quotesmake quotesorder quotesfind quotes
Life is like a recycling center, where all the concerns and dramas of humankind get recycled back and forth across the universe. But what you have to offer is your own sensibility, maybe your own sense of humor or insider pathos or meaning. All of us can sing the same song, and there will still be four billion different renditions.
Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground - you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.
perfectionism quotesmeans quotesdesperately quotesleave quotesmess quotesclean quotesclutter quotesshow quoteslife quoteslived quotesclutter quoteswonderfully quotesfertile quotesground quotesdiscover quotestreasures quotespiles quotesthings quotesedit quotesfix quotesthings quotesgrip quotestidiness quotessuggests quotesgood quotesmakes quotesheld quotesbreath quotessuspended quotesanimation quoteswriting quotesbreathe quotesmove quotes