"Don't ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive."
~ Howard Thurman
"Being a parent is like being a waitress during a big rush.
You're totally outnumbered and people keep spilling drinks"
- Ann K
"Man is what he believes."
"Security is mostly a superstition.
It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it.
Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all" --HELEN KELLER
P.T. Barnum said, "Without promotion something
terrible happens, NOTHING!"
Language is where being dwells.
"If there is something you believe you can do or dream you can
do, begin it. There is magic in boldness."-- Goethe
"A good traveller has no fixed plan and is not intent on arriving" -- Lao Tsu.
"Poets treat their experiences shamelessly: they exploit them" -- Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil
"Some years ago -- never mind how long precisely -- having little
or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore,
I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world." -- Herman Melville, Moby Dick
"Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear --
not absence of fear." -- Mark Twain
"On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux" -- Antoine de Saint Exupéry
"With me, a story usually begins with a single idea or memory
or mental picture.
The writing of the story is simply a matter of working up
to that moment, to explain why it happened or what caused it to follow." --William Faulkner
"I felt time in full stream, and I felt consciousness in full
stream joining it, like the rivers."
-- Annie Dillard, An American Childhood, 1987.
"When you reach out and touch other human beings, it doesn't
matter whether you call it therapy or teaching or poetry." -- Audre
"To be a poet is a condition rather than a profession." -- Robert Graves
"The courage of the poet is to keep ajar the door that leads
into madness." --Christopher Morley
"A writer's job is to say the things that other people only
That takes guts. Soldiers have to be brave. So do policemen, firemen,
miners, constructions workers on high-rise buildings, and test pilots.
the bravest are the men and women who fly into outer space.
Writers who do really
good writing learn to see things with the fresh innocence of visitors from outer
Their bravest journeys take place when they fly into inner space, the
unexplored or unproclaimed recesses, the hiding places where our secrets are
-- Sol Stein
"The true beloveds of this world are in their lover's eyes,
lilacs opening, ship lights, school bells,
a landscape, remembered conversations,
friends, a child's Sunday, lost voices,
one's favorite suit, autumn and all
seasons, memory, yes, it being the earth and water of existence, memory."
-- Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms, 1948.
"Modern man thinks he loses something -- time -- when he does
not do things quickly;
yet he does not know what to do with the time he gains
-- except kill it."
-- Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving, 1956.
"To me, the creative process is a VERY emotional one, it not
only brings out very strong emotions, but relies on them to a certain extent.
The agony and the ecstasy may sound contrived , but it is very real to me. As
I mentioned in my story, when I was young, the best music I created occurred
when I was in a very black mood. I have at least gotten past that requirement,
thank God. But even now, I must reach at least a certain level of intensity
(of desire) in order to be creatively successful. Emotion is a key element in
that, and I find my work lacking a certain edge if I do not attain significant
emotional commitment in the process. Agonizing over the result eventually brings
out the best creative solution, but only if I fight hard enough for it, and
immerse myself enough in it. The process sometimes can be horribly painful,
but I find it to be the only way to achieve results that have real impact.
"On the other hand, sometimes even when I reach results that are incredibly
satisfying and significant to me, clients or critics are unable to appreciate
them. At first, that aspect was very troubling to me. In the end, one has to
reach a point of self-confidence with the value of one's creative efforts and
realize that not everyone who looks at them is capable of appreciating their
worth. Getting to that point can also be difficult.
"Creativity, by it's very nature is a lonely process. I had a friend, an artist,
who used to come by my place every few days in order to break out from the extreme
isolation of his work, and commiserate with someone who had similar experiences
wrestling with the creative process. He eventually moved to LA, and is now the
creative director of [film studio] there.
"We both were (and continue to be) committed to our desire to create. In our
discussions we both agreed, the capacity to dwell on things incessantly turns
out to be very valuable, even though it is often painful. Neither of us would
trade that aspect of our personalities for anything, as it is what drove us
to strive for a better creative result. At the same time, it becomes absolutely
necessary to evolve ways to avoid being totally consumed by the process itself."
- James C. Amsdell II, Architect, Musician
"I was 27 when I made my first dance," he says, "and suddenly
I was hooked. I've never wanted to do anything else since." -- French choreographer
"Imitation is natural to man from childhood, one of his advantages
over the lower animals being this, that he is the most imitative creature in
the world, and learns at first by imitation. And it is also natural for all
to delight in works of imitation." (Works of imitation -- art). -- Aristotle,
"Poetics" Chapter 4.
The process of converting experience into words -- the medium
of artistic expression. Writing. There is no life without the process.
Writing gives meaning to experience.
The writer is compelled to observe life in greater detail, to seek greater depth
of knowledge on the subject.
To cease to write, is to cease to exist on a meaningful level.
Writing connects the soul with the earthly world.
-- a state of flow between thought and experience.
Writing is the exercise that helps to transport the mind between flat and flow. March 20, 1997, Paris / October 2, 1997 Boston
"I paint what I know is there." -- Pablo Picasso
Flow: (a psychological term)
"Picasso spent most of his life in flow standing at his easel with a paint brush
in his hands. Anyone who has ever focused on something so absorbing that time
appears suspended knows what it's like to be in flow.
It has been defined as being completely centered, and is often described as
being fully alive. Science has proven that endorphins play a major role in this
somewhat altered state by releasing a morphine like substance into the body
in such abundance that pleasure subdues all thoughts of pain or discomfort."
"The painter is able to intensify our experiences, find new relationships among
objects, new forms, and new colors, ... show us things in our environment which
we overlooked or ignored ... make the world about us become alive, rich, beautiful,
Artists paint to discover truth and to create order
Confronting being alone:
"In general, people don't want to sit down with themselves because there is too
much about themselves that they don't like."
-- January 19, 1995 from a conversation
with a friend, PhD psychology.
People can be uncomfortable when others cry.
A friend once said, when crying, that they were, "not doing well."
When out to sea alone and upset, I called home, by radio, and remember the panic
that others felt when I conveyed that I was crying or upset.
They thought I
was not doing very well when, in fact, I was exceeding all previous levels.
Even if someone has been to the place you are describing, show
it to them in a new way to bring out the special qualities in a way not previously
expressed. January 9, 1995
"If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion
and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
-- James A. Michener, in
William Safire and Leonard Safire, Good Advice, 1982.
A neighbor, on writing:
recommends spending time with the great minds of history, most of which can
be found in the library.
Also, he said, " you can read of some one's adventure, but ... so what? It needs
a soul." It needs to be a part of the reader. The reader needs to find himself
in the work or find that the writing so greatly transcends the daily life that
it brings him / her along. August 24, 1994 journal.
To know the dimensions of space, to imagine the intricacies
of another's experiences ... to know and understand the experiences (thoughts,
feelings) of another... as an exploration of self ... myth. They cannot recognize
it, if they do not know it themselves.
Communication requires effort on the part of the reader and
At a class reunion in lieu of posing the typical ice breaker, "so what are you doing?" or "what have you been up to," I asked people, to "tell
me a story." This approach was taken to hopefully get to know something of the
person, as opposed to receiving prefabricated replies about their method of
acquiring money. Garbage collectors describing themselves as sanitary engineers.
Let's be real. My approach attempts to bring out interesting, unusual, potentially
revealing replies, or else it would, very rapidly reveal that the person has
nothing to say at this time and you can seek others for conversation.
In a circle of people, I turned to an acquaintance, who I had not
seen for ten years and said, "tell me a story." She described beads and how
she likes to make things with them, the things she makes, the way they feel
in her hands as she is working with them, how they make her feel. A very sexy
The entire world of experience becomes assimilated in the work.
To isolate yourself amongst the beautiful is certainly okay, but visitations
amongst the grime of mortality must not be omitted lest you do the reader a disservice.
"Life portrayed to bring a tear to the eye, not to avert the
eye. Our world needs to be woven together with compassion."
"An individual who has a specific talent but does not care to
apply effort to it will probably accomplish little."
"We have a ... collective agreement to be in control. We create
a picture of what the world is like. We all know it's not anything like that,
but in order to keep ourselves calm and secure we maintain that picture. There
is something about the wildness of passion. You know that feeling, when you're
going out into the country and you have a moment of panic ... and you have to
change gears and maybe feel a bit of the fear to get past it?"
" ... there is also a lovely unity ... to our conflicted yearnings
for both security and passion."
Caring and ambition are proper emotions that can help support
ability and provide the drive toward excellence.
"A writer must knock readers down. This is the goal he must
constantly have in mind: to make people listen, to catch their attention, to
find ways to make them hold still while he says what he so passionately wants
to say. Although creative writing as an intellectual exercise may be pursued
with profit by anyone, writing as a profession is not a job for amateurs, dilettantes,
part-time thinkers, 25-watt feelers, the lazy, the insensitive, or the imitative.
It is for the creative, and creativity implies both talent and hard work."
"To make a novel you need a passion ... a situation charged
with love, hate, ambition, longing--some tension that cries to be resolved."
"To distill the essence of what is seen, to create an abstraction
of its qualities."
"It is easier to live through someone else than to become complete
-- Betty Friedan, The Feminine Mystique, 1963.
"I am long on ideas, but short on time. I expect to live to
be only about a hundred."
-- Thomas A. Edison, Golden Book, April, 1931.
"A man in the house is worth two in the street."
-- Mae West, Belle of the Nineties, 1934.
"I was about half in love with her by the time we sat down.
That's the thing about girls.
Every time they do something pretty, even if they're
not much to look at, or even if they're sort of stupid, you fall half in love
with them, and then you never know where the hell you are."
-- J.D. Salinger, Catcher in the Rye, 1951.
"Many of our problems with anger occur when we choose between
having a relationship and having a self."
-- Harriet Goldhor Lerner, The Dance of Anger, 1985.
"The act of sex, gratifying as it may be, is God's joke on humanity.
It is man's last desperate stand at superintendency."
-- Bette Davis, The Lonely Life, 1962.
“Meglio un giomo da leone che cento da pecoro,”
“It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 days as a sheep.”
Notes on this document:
Original thoughts are written without quotation marks and citations.
Quotes without references - ouch - where did I get them, I don't
remember, but will be searching for sources. Apologies to the authors. I am
going to redouble my efforts to honor the sources and hope that the demonstration
of my mistake and remorse for making it is in and of itself a lesson for me
and to share with others. The essential need to respect the copyright of authors,
At the time when I took in these quotes there was no thought they would ever
leave my computer, they were to serve to motivate me only, but the in the interest
of sharing the motivating properties of these words, in the interest of promoting
artistic expression, I put them forth here.
November 16, 1997
May 1, 1998
December 5, 2006
"Copyright protection subsists from the time the
work is created in fixed form; that is, it is an incident of the process of
authorship. The copyright in the work of authorship immediately becomes the
property of the author who created it. Only the author or those deriving their
rights through the author can rightfully claim copyright."
Myths about copyright explained
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