Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Stephen King

You know, sometimes people say to me, ‘Why do you choose to write that creepy stuff?’ And I usually say, ‘What makes you think I have a choice?’
- Stephen King

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Learn Your Way Out

With low overhead, frugal means, and fragile budgets, you can’t buy your way out of problems. You have to learn your way out.
- Paul Hawken, Growing a Business

How to Kiss a Ghost

May my silences become more accurate.
- Theodore Roethke

The tragedy inherent in enhancing tradition: to embrace the dead in the right way; or how to kiss a ghost.
- Theodore Roethke

A poet is judged, in part, by the influences he resists.
- Theodore Roethke

Theodore Roethke

Inspiration: the important thing in life is to have the right kind of frustration.
- Theodore Roethke

Monday, July 29, 2013

Paul Hawken

When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: If you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse. What I see everywhere in the world are ordinary people willing to confront despair, power, and incalculable odds in order to restore some semblance of grace, justice, and beauty to this world.
― Paul Hawken

Saturday, July 27, 2013


I dreamed I was sleeping on the street under piles of books and papers to keep warm.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Henry James

I call people rich when they're able to meet the requirements of their imagination.
― Henry James, The Portrait of a Lady

It's time to start living the life you've imagined.
― Henry James


Sorrow comes in great waves...but rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us, it leaves us. And we know that if it is strong, we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain.
― Henry James

Bill Barich

A good writer refuses to be socialized. He insists on his own version of things, his own consciousness. And by doing so he draws the reader's eye from its usual groove into a new way of seeing.
- Bill Barich

Theodore Roethke

Those who are willing to be vulnerable move among mysteries.
- Theodore Roethke

Henry James

To live in the world of creation—to get into it and stay in it—to frequent it and haunt it—to think intensely and fruitfully—to woo combinations and inspirations into being by a depth and continuity of attention and meditation—this is the only thing.
- Henry James

Cesare Pavese

What matters to an artist is not experience, but inward experience.
- Cesare Pavese


I dreamed my friend had a cerulean blue mother cat who was nursing five blue kittens. The tomcat was all blue too. I had never seen a blue cat before and I wanted to show Bill and adopt one of the kittens. When I woke up I wondered for a moment, is there such thing as blue fur? Then I remembered there isn't but there are blue feathers.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


Christina Jones, a British nurse-consultant and psychologist, found that at three months I.C.U. patients with pronounced symptoms of PTSD reported the most relief if given diaries, compared with those who were not.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Quick Cooling

I hope you all are handling the crazy heat okay. I am looking forward to an end to this trend. At sunset, after a day confined to air-conditioning, I took Lily for a long walk. I felt like a prisoner on release!

My latest strategy for quick cooling:
Wet and wring out a dish-towel. Place it in the freezer for ten minutes. Place it on your neck. Ahhhhh. Don't do it too many times in a row or you'll get a stiff neck. But it's great for cooling down in a moment of heat freak out!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

I Step Outside

I step outside and say hi to our new neighbor trimming her hedges. I run into a woman on my walk who has adopted two puppies, a yorkie and a doberman. Life is once again bigger than my worries and I am grateful.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Alice Munro

A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.
― Alice Munro

Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind... When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.
― Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

I loved taking off. In my own house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide - sometimes from the children but more often from the jobs to be done and the phone ringing and the sociability of the neighborhood. I wanted to hide so that I could get busy at my real work, which was a sort of wooing of distant parts of myself.
― Alice Munro, Selected Stories

I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.
― Alice Munro

Alice Munro

It's not possible to advise a young writer because every young writer is so different. You might say, 'Read,' but a writer can read too much and be paralyzed. Or, 'Don't read, don't think, just write,' and the result could be a mountain of drivel. If you're going to be a writer you'll probably take a lot of wrong turns and then one day just end up writing something you have to write, then getting it better and better just because you want it to be better, and even when you get old and think 'There must be something else people do,' you won't quite be able to quit.
- Alice Munro

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Marcia Sandmeyer Wilson

Friend, you have to realize I am OLD. Being OLD is like being drunk. The brain is all softened up like a piece of wet dough. Things get blurry and self consciousness disappears. There are old thoughts flying around like tattered rags of memories and all I have to do is settle down and imagine something. Anything at all can trigger a thought.

I was thinking about painting this morning. So the ideas are flying around in my old head, but you know what gets them on canvas? Bravery. I think the most important thing an artist can have maybe is courage. You know. The courage to make a fool of oneself in public.

-Marcia Sandmeyer Wilson



One must wait until the evening to see how splendid the day has been.
― Sophocles

The Kids Told Me

Today the kids told me there was a shooting back here in the parkinglot. I looked up at the girl's father who was standing right there and he said it's true. Friday night at around 10 PM he heard boom, boom, boom, and thought it was fireworks at first but it had no sulfur smell. It was gunfire. The bad guys, trapped back here, ran away on foot abandoning their cars. Lots of police showed up. The detectives tore off the siding of one of the tenements to get at the bullets. The police towed cars and my neighbor proudly gave a statement. I have a renewed appreciation for my longtime annoying but non-shooting neighbors. Luckily nobody got hurt but we all got scared.

James Baldwin

One of the hazards of being an American writer, and I'm well placed to know it, is that eventually you have nothing to write about. A funny thing happens on the way to the typewriter. There is a decidedly grave danger of becoming a celebrity, of becoming a star, of becoming a personality. Again, I'm very well placed to know that. It's symptomatic of the society that doesn't have any real respect for the artist. You're either a success or a failure and there's nothing in between. And if you are a success, you run the risk that Norman [Mailer] has run and that I run, too, of becoming a kind of show business personality. Then the legend becomes far more important than the work. It's as though you're living in an echo chamber. You hear only your own voice. And, when you become a celebrity, that voice is magnified by multitudes and you begin to drown in this endless duplication of what looks like yourself. You have to be really very lucky, and very stubborn, not to let that happen to you. It's a difficult trap to avoid. And that's part of Norman's dilemma, I think. A writer is supposed to write. If he appears on television or as a public speaker, so much the better or so much the worse, but the public persona is one thing. On the public platform or on television, I have to sound as if I know what I'm talking about. It's antithetical to the effort you make at the typewriter, where you don't know a damned thing. And you have to know you don't know it. The moment you carry the persona to the typewriter, you are finished.
- James Baldwin


Saturday, July 06, 2013

Heat Blizzard

The heat wave makes me feel boxed in but last night we took a walk at sunset. I was so grateful to get out. This morning I took Lily out at 8 AM before the sun got any higher. I call this weather the heat blizzard.

James Baldwin

One writes out of one thing only — one's own experience. Everything depends on how relentlessly one forces from this experience the last drop, sweet or bitter, it can possibly give. This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.

Art has to be a kind of confession. I don't mean a true confession in the sense of that dreary magazine. The effort it seems to me, is: if you can examine and face your life, you can discover the terms with which you are connected to other lives, and they can discover them, too — the terms with which they are connected to other people.

The primary distinction of the artist is that he must actively cultivate that state which most men, necessarily, must avoid: the state of being alone.

Any real change implies the breakup of the world as one has always known it, the loss of all that gave one an identity, the end of safety. And at such a moment, unable to see and not daring to imagine what the future will now bring forth, one clings to what one knew, or dreamed that one possessed. Yet, it is only when a man is able, without bitterness or self-pity, to surrender a dream he has long cherished or a privilege he has long possessed that he is set free — he has set himself free — for higher dreams, for greater privileges.

Any writer, I suppose, feels that the world into which he was born is nothing less than a conspiracy against the cultivation of his talent — which attitude certainly has a great deal to support it. On the other hand, it is only because the world looks on his talent with such a frightening indifference that the artist is compelled to make his talent important. So that any writer, looking back over even so short a span of time as I am here forced to assess, finds that the things which hurt him and the things which helped him cannot be divorced from each other; he could be helped in a certain way only because he was hurt in a certain way; and his help is simply to be enabled to move from one conundrum to the next — one is tempted to say that he moves from one disaster to the next.

The price one pays for pursuing any profession or calling is an intimate knowledge of its ugly side.

It will be a great day for America, incidentally, when we begin to eat bread again, instead of the blasphemous and tasteless foam rubber that we have substituted for it. And I am not being frivolous here, either. Something very sinister happens to the people of a country when they begin to distrust their own reactions as deeply as they do here, and become as joyless as they have become.

One must say Yes to life, and embrace it wherever it is found - and it is found in terrible places... For nothing is fixed, forever and forever, it is not fixed; the earth is always shifting, the light is always changing, the sea does not cease to grind down rock. Generations do not cease to be born, and we are responsible to them because we are the only witnesses they have. The sea rises, the light fails, lovers cling to each other and children cling to us. The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another, the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.

If the concept of God has any validity or any use, it can only be to make us larger, freer, and more loving. If God cannot do this, then it is time we got rid of Him.

I think all theories are suspect, that the finest principles may have to be modified, or may even be pulverized by the demands of life, and that one must find, therefore, one's own moral center and move through the world hoping that this center will guide one aright. I consider that I have many responsibilities, but none greater than this: to last, as Hemingway says, and get my work done.
I want to be an honest man and a good writer.

- James Baldwin