Quotenik
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Academic

Journal of a Novel: The East of Eden Letters

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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.

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source: “Everything I Know About Writing Poetry,” in A Hundred White Daffodils (Saint Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 1999), 141.

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medium: nonfiction

“Fallen leaves lying on the grass in the November sun bring more happiness then daffodils.”

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source: The Unquiet Grave (New York: Persea Books, 1981), 17.

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medium: nonfiction

notes: Ernest Hemingway described The Unquiet Grave as “a book which, no matter how many readers it will ever have, will never have enough.”

“To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his or her work for peace.”

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source: Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander (New York: Doubleday, 2009), 81.

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medium: nonfiction

“‘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.”

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source: The Anthologist: A Novel (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2009), 127.

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medium: Novel

via: Whiskey River

“Every book is a quotation; and every house is a quotation out of all forests and mines and stone quarries; and every man is a quotation from all his ancestors.”

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“Your habits reflect your identity, so if you struggle to change a particular habit, re-think your identity.”

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source: pre-publication notes for her forthcoming book Better Than Before; more info here

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medium: author website

“My ordinary state of mind is very much like the waiting room at the DMV.”

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source: Songwriters on Songwriting by Paul Zollo (New York: Da Capo Press, 2003).

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medium: Interview

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source: ARTNews, “How Non-Artists Can Draw: Comics Great Lynda Barry on Teaching Creativity,” by Nicole Casamento, June 5, 2014.

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medium: Magazine

“Don’t let anyone say there aren’t magic words.”

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source: The Blazing World (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2014), 17.

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medium: Fiction

“It is much better for a writer to be underrecognized than over, in terms of keeping one’s head down, like the proverbial Japanese nail, so that one might observe the world unhammered and unimpeded. Abjure fame and avoid obscurity. But between those extremes lies the perch where a writer occasionally might do some good work. There’s a Jack Butler Yeats painting I love, showing a wild celebration of St. John’s Eve in western Ireland, with Yeats and J. M. Synge standing in the background, watching and looking small and out of the picture. Yet it was they who created the picture, and a good deal more.”

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source: “Please Turn to the Chapter on Obscurity . . .,” New York Review of Books, May 23, 2014.

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medium: newspaper essay

“If you’re given the tools, you have a responsibility to use them. I’m doing what I’m cut out to do, the best thing I can do, until they throw dirt on me.”

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source: “Kris Kristofferson Is Still Living His Epic Life,” by Turk Pipkin, Esquire, May 12, 2014.

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medium: magazine profile

“Who knows what the day after tomorrow will bring—the very thing we most wanted and haven’t allowed our hearts to hope.”

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source: letter to Eudora Welty, January 24, 1967, in What There Is to Say We Have Said, ed. by Suzanne Marrs (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011), 213.

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medium: Letter

“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.'”

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source: One Writer’s Beginnings (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1984), 10–11.

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medium: Memoir

“For gardeners, this is the season of lists and callow hopefulness; hundreds of thousands of bewitched readers are poring over their catalogues, making lists for their seed and plant orders, and dreaming their dreams.”

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source: “A Romp in the Catalogues,” March 1, 1958 in Onward and Upward in the Garden (Boston: Beacon Press, 2002), 3.

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medium: Magazine article

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