Category Archives: Quotes

An entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem

Humans, as a species, are constantly, and in every way, comparing themselves to one another, which, given the brief nature of their existence, seems an oddity and, for that matter, a waste. Nevertheless, this is the driving influence behind every human’s social development, their emotional health and sense of joy, and, sadly, their greatest tragedies…To be sure, it is killing them, and yet sustaining their social and economic systems. They are an entirely beautiful people with a terrible problem.

DONALD MILLER, Searching for God Knows What

The Thrill of Seeing Oneself in Print

“I understood immediately the thrill of seeing oneself in print. It provides some sort of primal verification: you are in print; therefore you exist…Seeing yourself in print is such an amazing concept: you can get so much attention without actually having to actually show up somewhere…There are many obvious advantages to this. You don’t have to dress up, for instance, and you can’t hear them boo you right away.”

ANNE LAMOTT, Bird by Bird

Your Face Tomorrow

How can I not know today your face tomorrow, the face that is there already or is being forged beneath the face you show me or beneath the mask you are wearing, and which you will only show me when I am least expecting it?…All these things can be noticed, observed, smelled and even, on occasions, felt, the chill shock of condensing sweat. At the very least you sense them. You know or should know. Or perhaps once these things have happened, we do not realise that we knew they were going to happen, and that this was precisely how it would turn out. And isn’t it true that, deep down, we are not as surprised as we pretend to others and, above all, to ourselves, and that we then see the logic of it all and recognise and even remember the unheeded warnings that some layer of our unconscious mind did, nevertheless, pick up? Perhaps we want to convince ourselves of our own astonishment, as if we might find in it a specious consolation and various pointless excuses that really do not work…Yet hardly anyone ever feels such astonishment. Not deep down, not in the knowledge that dares not speak or declare itself or even allow itself to be known or to become conscious, not in that knowledge which so fears itself that it hates and denies and hides from itself, or looks at itself only out of the corner of one eye and with its face half-hidden.

JAVIER MARÍAS, Your Face Tomorrow 1: Fever and Spear

He Liked the Idea So Much

He liked the idea so much that he did not attempt to injure it through experience.


You’ll Never Have to Guess at What Jealousy Means Again

The terrible truth is that feeling really does have to be learned. It comes spontaneously when one is in love, or when somebody important dies; but people like you and me – interpretative artists – have to learn also to recapture those feelings, and transform them into something we can offer to the world in our performances. You know what Heine says…”Out of my great sorrows I make my little songs.”…And what we make out of the feelings like brings us is something a little different, something not quite so shattering but very much more polished and perhaps also more poignant, than the feelings themselves. Your jealousy – it hurts now, but…you’ll never have to guess at what jealousy means again, when you meet with it in music…Everybody claims to have been in love, but to love so that you can afterward distill something from it which makes other people know what love is or reminds them forcibly – that takes an artist.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, A Mixture of Frailties

Wisdom May Be Rented

Wisdom may be rented, so to speak, on the experience of other people, but we buy it an an inordinate price before we make it our own forever.

ROBERTSON DAVIES, Leaves of Malice

What If A Demon Were To Creep After You One Night

What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, ‘This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!’ Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, ‘Never have I heard anything more divine’? ”

FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE (via Jonathan Carroll)

It Is People’s Secrets We Want to Know

God preserve us from writers who regurgitate what they have learnt from books! It is people’s secrets we want to know — it is the natural history of the human heart that we have been trying to put down for a thousand years and everyone must and can leave their contribution.

AUGUST STRINDBERG (via Advice To Writers)

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