Be a good steward of your gifts. Protect your time. Feed your inner life. Avoid too much noise. Read good books, have good sentences in your ears. Be by yourself as often as you can. Walk. Take the phone off the hook. Work regular hours.more info
source: “Everything I Know About Writing Poetry,” in A Hundred White Daffodils (Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 1999), 141.
“‘Carpe diem’ doesn’t mean seize the day—it means something gentler and more sensible. ‘Carpe diem’ means pluck the day. Carpe, pluck. Seize the day would be ‘cape diem,’ if my school Latin serves. No R. Very different piece of advice. What Horace had in mind was that you should gently pull on the day’s stem, as if it were, say, a wildflower or an olive, holding it with all the practiced care of your thumb and the side of your finger, which knows how to not crush easily crushed things…Pluck the cranberry or blueberry of the day tenderly free without damaging it, is what Horace meant—pick the day, harvest the day, reap the day, mow the day, forage the day.”more info
source: The Anthologist: A Novel (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009), 127.
medium: Novelvia: Whiskey River
“Though I was always waked for eclipses, and indeed carried to the window as an infant in arms and shown Halley’s Comet in my sleep, and though I’d been taught at our diningroom table about the solar system and knew the earth revolved around the sun, and our moon around us, I never found out the moon didn’t come up in the west until I was a writer and Herschel Brickell, the literary critic, told me after I misplaced it in a story. He said valuable words to me about my new profession: ‘Always be sure you get your moon in the right part of the sky.'”more info
source: One Writer’s Beginnings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 10–11.
“Sometimes, the shortest path between two points is serpentine.”more info
source: Red Brick, Black Mountain, White Clay: Reflections on Art, Family, and Survival (New York: The Penguin press, 2012), 15.
“The best results always come when you’re focusing on nothing but execution and letting the results just happen as they will.”more info
source: “Tiger’s Search for Golf Stamina,” Golf Journal, The Wall Street Journal, March 7, 2009.
medium: Newspaper articlevia: Caroline Ellen
“It is my considered opinion that one reason you are not writing is that you are allowing yourself to read in the time set aside to write. You ought to set aside three hours every morning in which you write or do nothing else; no reading, no talking, no cooking, no nothing, but you sit there. If you write all right and if you don’t all right, but you do not read; whether you start something different every day and finish nothing makes no difference; you sit there. It’s the only way, I’m telling you. If inspiration comes you are there to receive it, you are not reading. And don’t write letters during that time. If you don’t write, don’t do anything else. And get in a room by yourself. If there are two rooms in that house, get in the one where nobody else is…”more info
source: letter to Cecil Dawkins, November 12, 1960, in The Habit of Being: The Letters of Flannery O’Connor, ed. by Sally Fitzgerald (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1979), 417–18.
“As I’ve gone through life, I’ve found that your chances for happiness are increased if you wind up doing something that is a reflection of what you loved most when you were somewhere between nine and eleven years old…At that age, you know enough of the world to have opinions about things, but you’re not old enough yet to be overly influenced by the crowd or by what other people are doing or what you think you ‘should’ be doing. If what you do later on ties into that reservoir in some way, then you are nurturing some essential part of yourself.”more info
source: The Conversations: Walter Murch and the Art of Editing Film, by Michael Ondaatje (New York: Random House, 2002).
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“Do all the other things, the ambitious things—travel, get rich, get famous, innovate, lead, fall in love, make and lose fortunes, swim naked in wild jungle rivers (after first having it tested for monkey poop)—but as you do, to the extent that you can, err in the direction of kindness. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality—your soul, if you will—is as bright and shining as any that has ever been. Bright as Shakespeare’s, bright as Gandhi’s, bright as Mother Theresa’s. Clear away everything that keeps you separate from this secret luminous place. Believe it exists, come to know it better, nurture it, share its fruits tirelessly.”more info
source: convocation speech for the graduates of Syracuse University, 2013, reprinted on The 6th Floor Blog, New York Times, July 31, 2013. Full text here.
medium: Convocation speechvia: Rachel Hass
Q: Do you have words to live by?
A: Jim Jarmusch once told me “Fast, Cheap, and Good…pick two. If it’s fast and cheap it won’t be good. If it’s cheap and good it won’t be fast. If it’s fast and good it won’t be cheap.” Fast, cheap, and good…pick (2) words to live by.
source: “Tom Waits Spills the Beans to Tom Waits,” Sound Effects Blog, Boston Globe, May 22, 2008.
“The savviest piece of advice I got as a rookie reporter-photographer came my first week on the job at the Exeter News-Letter in New Hampshire. The picture editor told me, ‘If you think you’re close, get closer.’ Words to brand on your brain, maybe even your retinas, if you’re being paid to see, especially when laying bare the natural world.”more info
source: “Au Naturel: Books by Ryan McGinley, Robert Longo and More,” New York Times, June 28, 2012.
medium: Book review
“A career is built one paragraph at a time. I wrote six books and a blue-million articles before anything of mine hit the bestseller lists. I don’t know any shortcuts. But if you’re really a writer, that’s no problem, because you’d rather be writing than anything else.”more info
source: Frequently Asked Questions on www.kingsolver.com
“Don’t write when it moves you… Try to make it habitual, even if you just start with 15 minutes a day, two pages a day. Make it such a part of your routine that not doing it makes it a stranger.”more info
source: “Jennifer Egan on Growing Up in San Francisco, Finding Inspiration, and Experiencing the ‘Sixties Hangover,'” by Carly Schwartz, Huffington Post, October 10, 2011.
“One should always sleep in all of one’s guest beds, to make sure that they are comfortable.”more info
source: Eleanor Roosevelt’s My Day: Her Acclaimed Columns, 1936-1945 (New York: Pharos Books, 1989), 218.
medium: Newspaper column
“Don’t worry about losing. If it is right, it happens—The main this is not to hurry. Nothing good gets away.”more info
source: November 10, 1958 letter to Thom, his fourteen-year-old son, in Letters of a Nation, Andrew Carroll ed. (New York: Kodansha, 1997 ), 314.
“Some people are better left unknown.”more info