Friday, June 23, 2017

May Sarton

"The more articulate one is, the more dangerous words become."
— May Sarton

May Sarton

"Without darkness, nothing comes to birth, As without light, nothing flowers."
— May Sarton

"I can tell you that solitude
Is not all exaltation, inner space
Where the soul breathes and work can be done.
Solitude exposes the nerve,
Raises up ghosts.
The past, never at rest, flows through it."
— May Sarton

May Sarton Journal

"For any writer who wants to keep a journal, be alive to everything, not just to what you're feeling, but also to your pets, to flowers, to what you're reading."
— May Sarton

"At some point I believe one has to stop holding back for fear of alienating some imaginary reader or real relative or friend, and come out with personal truth."
— May Sarton

May Sarton

In the middle of the night, things well up from the past that are not always cause for rejoicing--the unsolved, the painful encounters, the mistakes, the reasons for shame or woe. But all, good or bad, give me food for thought, food to grow on.
— May Sarton (At Seventy: A Journal)

John Barth

“... a man's most useful friend and fearsome foe is the poet.”
― John Barth, The Sot-Weed Factor

Terrible Person

When I woke in the night to pee I could hear the committee of sleep discussing what a terrible person I am. This is what happens when I drink tea in the afternoon when I'm in receive mode.


“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Stop acting so small. You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“What you seek is seeking you.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“The minute I heard my first love story,
I started looking for you, not knowing
how blind that was.
Lovers don't finally meet somewhere.
They're in each other all along.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Illuminated Rumi

“Don’t grieve. Anything you lose comes round in another form.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Dance, when you're broken open. Dance, if you've torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you're perfectly free.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“You were born with wings, why prefer to crawl through life?”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Forget safety.
Live where you fear to live.
Destroy your reputation.
Be notorious.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, The Essential Rumi

“When I am with you, we stay up all night.
When you're not here, I can't go to sleep.
Praise God for those two insomnias!
And the difference between them.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi

“Knock, And He'll open the door
Vanish, And He'll make you shine like the sun
Fall, And He'll raise you to the heavens
Become nothing, And He'll turn you into everything.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi


“My soul is from elsewhere, I'm sure of that, and I intend to end up there.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi


“Sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment.”
― Jalaluddin Rumi, Masnavi i Man'avi, the spiritual couplets of Maula


silence is the language of god,
all else is poor translation.
― Jalaluddin Rumi

Anna Akhmatova

“You do not know just what you've been forgiven.”
― Anna Akhmatova


“As the future ripens in the past,
so the past rots in the future --
a terrible festival of dead leaves.”
― Anna Akhmatova, Poems of Akhmatova

The Friend

“My shadow serves as the friend I crave.”
― Anna Akhmatova


“Each of our lives is a Shakespearean drama raised to the thousandth degree.”
― Anna Akhmatova


“Rising from the past, my shadow
Is running in silence to meet me.”
― Anna Akhmatova

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Connection is Why We're Here

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren't always comfortable, but they're never weakness.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can't survive.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity. If we want greater clarity in our purpose or deeper and more meaningful spiritual lives, vulnerability is the path.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“When I look at narcissism through the vulnerability lens, I see the shame-based fear of being ordinary. I see the fear of never feeling extraordinary enough to be noticed, to be lovable, to belong, or to cultivate a sense of purpose.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“What we know matters but who we are matters more.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Numb the dark and you numb the light.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“The willingness to show up changes us, It makes us a little braver each time.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Connection is why we're here; it is what gives purpose and meaning to our lives. The power that connection holds in our lives was confirmed when the main concern about connection emerged as the fear of disconnection; the fear that something we have done or failed to do, something about who we are or where we come from, has made us unlovable and unworthy of connection.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Even to me the issue of "stay small, sweet, quiet, and modest" sounds like an outdated problem, but the truth is that women still run into those demands whenever we find and use our voices.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

“Shame derives its power from being unspeakable.”
― Brené Brown, Daring Greatly

Inner Amplification

This morning I have been thinking about inner amplification versus outer amplification.

Meryl Streep

It's amazing what you can get if you quietly, clearly and authoritatively demand it.
- Meryl Streep

The Work Itself is the Reward

We need art as much as we need good works. You need it like food. You need it for inspiration, to keep going on the days that you're low. We need each other in that way.
- Meryl Streep

The work itself is the reward, and if I choose challenging work, it'll pay me back with interest. At least I'll be interested, even if nobody else is.
- Meryl Streep

I'm in show business. I believe in illusion and delusions and in holding aloft the bubble of a dream of some sort because, really, there are lots of reasons to look at the chasm. But art and music, these ineffables, they're just - they're the consolations of what human beings can create and make, and delight is accessible, you know, should you care to find it.
- Meryl Streep

The Lesson

You just have to keep on doing what you do. It's the lesson I get from my husband; he just says, Keep going. Start by starting.
- Meryl Streep

Bring Light

I think the best role models for women are people who are fruitfully and confidently themselves, who bring light into the world.
- Meryl Streep

A Gift

You have to embrace getting older. Life is precious, and when you've lost a lot of people, you realize that each day is a gift.
- Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

That is the simple secret. Always take your heart to work.
- Meryl Streep

Being a celebrity has taught me to hide, but being an actor has opened my soul.
- Meryl Streep

Meryl Streep

The formula of happiness and success is just, being actually yourself, in the most vivid possible way you can.
- Meryl Streep

What makes you different or weird, that's your strength.
- Meryl Streep

I think that you find your own way. You have your own rules. You have your own understanding of yourself, and that's what you're going to count on. In the end, it's what feels right to you. Not what your mother told you. Not what some actress told you. Not what anybody else told you but the still, small voice.
- Meryl Streep

An Audience

“An audience is never wrong. An individual member of it may be an imbecile, but a thousand imbeciles together in the dark — that is critical genius.”
- Billy Wilder

Wednesday, June 21, 2017


“If it’s possible to have a reading hangover, I have one.”
― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation


“I need to get into the water, to clear my head.”
― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation

“People spend their entire lives moving back and forth over the same water, moving but staying.”
― Erika Swyler, The Book of Speculation

Cesar Nikko Caharian

“Swimming is simply moving meditation.”
― Cesar Nikko Caharian

Erika Swyler

She'd started swimming early in the morning, when the kids were asleep, when she thought he was asleep. She didn't know her absence woke him, that the shift in the bed was an earthquake. When she climbed back in, she smelled like salt and seaweed. Sometimes her hair would still be knotted on top of her head. She tried to keep it dry. She didn't want him to know. The problem with marrying the mermaid girl from the carnival was knowing that one day she'd swim away.
― Erika Swyler

Swimmer's Knots Between the Shoulder Blades

Use a hollow rubber ball lean against a wall and roll the ball over the knot. You can also lie on the ball for a few minutes on the floor. Then allow time to let your body heal.

The Quiet Room by Lori Schiller

“When I was up she taught me to recognize the feeling and savor it. “Remember how good you feel now,” she said. “There will be times later on when everything will seem bleak. I don’t want to minimize the grim and harsh times. I know how bad you feel then. But they won’t last forever. Capture the good moments,” she said.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

“A long time ago I realized that, as psychiatrists, we had to have a healthy respect for our own humanness, and our own smallness in the face of what we were dealing with. If a person got better, we could appreciate that we had done a good job, but we also needed to realize that God – or luck – was on our side. If the person got worse and had to go to a state hospital, we had to keep ourselves from feeling that we hadn’t done enough. For the truth is, we were powerless in so many of these situations. We did what we could, but sometimes the illness was just bigger than we were.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

“If you decide you have to kill yourself,” he said, “in the last second before you act, picture my face. Listen to me giving you one last plea not to do it. And know that someone really cares.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

“Even though the Voices were far more intense in the hospital than before, in some ways they were less frightening. When I was in high school and college, they had sneaked up on me, blasting out of the airwaves almost without warning. By now, they had become almost familiar. I hated them. I suffered from them. But they seemed almost a normal part of living. I knew them. I understood them and they understood me.”
― Lori Schiller, The Quiet Room: A Journey Out of the Torment of Madness

a fingernail clipping in the sky

The moon is a fingernail clipping in the sky. The longest day. I am always relieved when the days speed up again contracting or expanding versus the flat still days.

Le Diable et le Bon Dieu

“When the rich wage war it's the poor who die.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, The Devil and the Good Lord (French: Le Diable et le Bon Dieu)


“So this is hell. I'd never have believed it. You remember all we were told about the torture-chambers, the fire and brimstone, the "burning marl." Old wives' tales! There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is—other people!”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

Jean-Paul Sartre

“This is what I thought: for the most banal even to become an adventure, you must (and this is enough) begin to recount it. This is what fools people: a man is always a teller of tales, he sees everything that happens to him through them; and he tries to live his own life as if he were telling a story.
But you have to choose: live or tell.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea


“A story was a form of telepathy. By means of inking symbols onto a page, she was able to send thoughts and feelings from her mind to her reader's. It was a magical process, so commonplace that no one stopped to wonder at it.”
― Ian McEwan, Atonement

“Wasn't writing a kind of soaring, an achievable form of flight, of fancy, of the imagination?”
― Ian McEwan, Atonement

Think the Same

“I am alone in the midst of these happy, reasonable voices. All these creatures spend their time explaining, realizing happily that they agree with each other. In Heaven's name, why is it so important to think the same things all together. ”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

An Undertaking

“It's quite an undertaking to start loving somebody. You have to have energy, generosity, blindness. There is even a moment right at the start where you have to jump across an abyss: if you think about it you don't do it.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

Three O'clock

“Three o'clock is always too late or too early for anything you want to do.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Jean-Paul Sartre

“Life begins on the other side of despair.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“You are -- your life, and nothing else.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

“Everything has been figured out, except how to live.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“Man can will nothing unless he has first understood that he must count on no one but himself; that he is alone, abandoned on earth in the midst of his infinite responsibilities, without help, with no other aim than the one he sets himself, with no other destiny than the one he forges for himself on this earth.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

“My thought is me: that's why I can't stop. I exist because I think… and I can't stop myself from thinking. At this very moment - it's frightful - if I exist, it is because I am horrified at existing. I am the one who pulls myself from the nothingness to which I aspire.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

“Life has no meaning a priori… It is up to you to give it a meaning, and value is nothing but the meaning that you choose.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre


“In love, one and one are one.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Being and Nothingness

“It is therefore senseless to think of complaining since nothing foreign has decided what we feel, what we live, or what we are.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre, Being and Nothingness


“Like all dreamers I confuse disenchantment with truth.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre


“Words are loaded pistols.”
― Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Amor Towles

“Whatever setbacks he had faced in his life, he said, however daunting or dispiriting the unfolding of events, he always knew that he would make it through, as long as when he woke in the morning he was looking forward to his first cup of coffee. Only decades later would I realize that he had been giving me a piece of advice.”
― Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

“I've come to realize that however blue my circumstances, if after finishing a chapter of a Dickens novel I feel a miss-my-stop-on-the-train sort of compulsion to read on, then everything is probably going to be just fine.”
― Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

“Right from the first, I could see a calmness in you - that sort of inner tranquility that they write about in books, but that almost no one seems to possess. I was wondering to myself: How does she do that? And I figured it could only come from having no regrets - from having made choices with .... such poise and purpose.”
― Amor Towles, Rules of Civility

Sore Muscles

Stretching Before Swimming

If you don't stretch your muscles before swimming, your muscles can tear more easily as the muscle tries to move through its range of motion. So when you swim freestyle, your arm muscles -- specifically, your biceps, triceps and shoulders -- will feel that burn. Stretching before you get in the water can help prevent muscle tearing. As you stretch, your muscles will loosen up so you're already relaxed and ready to go before you start swimming.

Swimming Warmups and Cooldowns

If it's your first or second time swimming laps, then you should start getting in the habit of warming up and cooling down before and after your workout. A slow warmup will prevent you from swimming "cold," as “cold” muscles that suddenly have to work hard are more likely to become damaged. Warmups also gradually increase your heart and breathing rates while increasing the flow of oxygen to your muscles. Likewise, cooling down after a workout helps lower your heart and breathing rates back to resting levels. DOMS is caused by sudden increases in intensity or duration, so without warmups and cooldowns, your muscles can become unnecessarily tired.


Rebecca Solnit

When you don’t hear others, you don’t imagine them, they become unreal, and you are left in the wasteland of a world with only yourself in it, and that surely makes you starving, though you know not for what, if you have ceased to imagine others exist in any true deep way that matters.
- Rebecca Solnit

...there was an old woman in Occupy Wall Street I always go back to who said, “We’re fighting for a society in which everyone is important.”
- Rebecca Solnit

Source: Solnit's fabulous essay

Garage Mystery

"The activity at garage eight is always puzzling to us. They do strange things like remove a wheel, take off door panels and open the hood but not do any obvious engine work. There is no electricity in these garages. It doesn't seem like they are really trying to sell cars or do real car repair. We have often had the sense something else was up, possibly drug-related. The people involved act shifty and paranoid. All the guys who've had this garage were up to nonsense," he said.

"After being relatively quiet for a while, the garages have been quite active nearly daily. There are five dead cars of theirs getting moved around and they sometimes have no license plates and then they have plates again. Some disappear and then reappear. We wonder if these cars are being used for drug distribution around the city. And if the "car repair" is basic hiding of drugs in wheel wells and door panels and engine compartments. Just a thought. It's what the last guy was up to we're pretty sure."

Lenora Thompson

“I think,” said I looking Michael straight in the eye, “that you’re full of shit.” Then I waited. Waited for the explosion that never came. Because he’s normal. I’d never have dared say that to a narcissist!

More than anything else, try to find a normal person. Just an ordinary kind of guy or gal. Someone who’s been told they’re “too nice.” A gentle person. A calm person. A kind person. A balanced person. A person with a sense of proportion. A person with a good sense of humor who can laugh at you and themselves equally, without getting their stinger bent out of joint. A person with quiet strength.

A person who can be wrong…and still be okay. A person who can acknowledge and take pride in the ways you’re better than them…and not resent you. A person who doesn’t criticize you. A person who doesn’t try to change you. A person who pays you compliments. A person who doesn’t demand to know where you are and what you’re doing at every moment of every day. A person who doesn’t accuse you of anything, including infidelity. A person who isn’t bossy and demanding. A person who gives you carte blanche on hairstyle, clothes, etc. A person who winks at your OCD and is blind to your scars. A person who is firm in their beliefs, without cramming them down anyone else’s throat, including your throat. A person who doesn’t control the money with an iron fist and encourages you to treat yourself. A person who hugs and kisses you frequently and freely.

A person who can be told “you’re full of shit” and respond with a chuckle and a twinkle…but still stick to their beliefs without being dogmatic. A person who tells you they love you so frequently that when you ask, “How are you?” they absent-mindedly respond, “I love you too.” (True story!)

That’s the kind of spouse you can be happy with for five, twenty-five or fifty years while the weeks, months and years fly by much too swiftly!


Cyclothymia is Neurochemical

cyclothymia is a neurochemical disorder – not the person’s fault –

Routine is key for stabilizing moods, and people with bipolar disorders are especially sensitive to change. Any changes made to their eating, sleeping or exercise routines can interfere with their circadian rhythms and trigger an episode, Preston said.

That’s why it’s so important that all three are done on a regular basis. For instance, experts suggest going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. While this might seem tough and tedious, Preston said that it can help tremendously with regulating mood.


The Day the Voices Stopped

by Ken Steele, Claire Berman
For thirty-two years Ken Steele lived with the devastating symptoms of schizophrenia, tortured by inner voices commanding him to kill himself, ravaged by the delusions of paranoia, barely surviving on the ragged edges of society. In this inspiring story, Steele tells the story of his hard-won recovery from schizophrenia and how activism and advocacy helped him regain his sanity and go on to give hope and support to so many others like him.

Josephine Winslow Johnson

“What is sanity, after all, except the control of madness?”
― Josephine Winslow Johnson, Now in November

“Lord make me satisfied with small things. Make me content to live on the outside of life. God make me love the rind!”
― Josephine Winslow Johnson, Now in November

Monday, June 19, 2017

Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design by Charles Montgomery

From Publishers Weekly

Can cities make us better people? Is the suburban American Dream really a nightmare? In this lively and accessible book, journalist Montgomery (The Shark God) marshals decades of interdisciplinary research into an effective argument against what he calls the dispersed city—the modern city/suburb designed around the automobile. The result is a succession of arguments meant to debunk individualism and show how citizens thrive on contact with others. In Montgomery's hands, urban design proves not only exciting, but integral to our future. He persuasively demonstrates that designing cities with social beings in mind can make them more pleasant places to live, and shows why suburbs are experiencing higher crime, as well as a significant happiness deficit. Furthermore, this passionate jeremiad argues that urban design often reinforces inequality, and Montgomery includes useful prescriptions for creating what he calls the fair city, as well as addressing issues like gentrification. For Montgomery, the city is a happiness project that exists in part to corral our conviviality and channel it productively. Though Montgomery's argument may seem strange at first, the book will likely make you a believer. 68 b&w illus. Agent: Rebecca Gradinger, Fletcher & Co. (Nov.)

From Booklist

What is considered the happiest city on earth? Improbably, it just might be Bogotá, Colombia, where drug lords ruled, bicycles now roll, and pedestrians stroll in a city with a mayor committed to transforming his town’s image and its people’s lives. What’s the secret to his success? Not surprisingly, restricting traffic plays a huge part in Bogotá’s livability, but banning cars isn’t the be-all and end-all to urban bliss. As Montgomery illustrates through vibrant discussions of the physics, physiology, and psychology of urban, suburban, and exurban dwellers, multiple factors must coalesce before a city, large or small, can achieve perfection. All of which may become terribly muddled as climate change and resource depletion stress urban centers to an untenable tipping point. Touting extensive research tempered by anecdotal examples, Montgomery enumerates the mistakes made not only by the people who plan and govern cities but also by the people who live in them, and he offers cautious reassurance that it’s not too late to turn things around for all cities. --Carol Haggas


Worth watching

James Baldwin

“It took many years of vomiting up all the filth I’d been taught about myself, and half-believed, before I was able to walk on the earth as though I had a right to be here.”
― James Baldwin, Collected Essays

James Baldwin

“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness.”
― James Baldwin, Sonny's Blues

James Baldwin

“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.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time

Thank You, James Baldwin

“It is certain, in any case, that ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”
― James Baldwin

“People who treat other people as less than human must not be surprised when the bread they have cast on the waters comes floating back to them, poisoned.”
― James Baldwin

“I imagine one of the reasons people cling to their hates so stubbornly is because they sense, once hate is gone, they will be forced to deal with pain.”
― James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time


“You write in order to change the world ... if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, then you can change it.”
― James Baldwin

James Baldwin

“Perhaps home is not a place but simply an irrevocable condition.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“The victim who is able to articulate the situation of the victim has ceased to be a victim: he or she has become a threat.”
― James Baldwin

“People can't, unhappily, invent their mooring posts, their lovers and their friends, anymore than they can invent their parents. Life gives these and also takes them away and the great difficulty is to say Yes to life.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room

“There are so many ways of being despicable it quite makes one’s head spin. But the way to be really despicable is to be contemptuous of other people’s pain.”
― James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room


“Medicine is my lawful wife, and literature is my mistress. When I get fed up with one, I spend the night with the other”
― Anton Chekhov


“What a fine weather today! Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself.”
― Anton Chekhov


“The task of a writer is not to solve the problem but to state the problem correctly.”
― Anton Chekhov

“The role of the artist is to ask questions, not answer them.”
― Anton Chekhov

An Olympian

"The string bean is still swimming in the pool," my husband said as we were unloading the groceries.
The girl was swirling around in the tiny inflated pool in front of the tenement. Her long skinny legs and arms were poking out. "She's the real urban mermaid," I said. "An Olympian."

Tobias Wolff

“A true piece of writing is a dangerous thing. It can change your life.”
― Tobias Wolff, Old School

“We are made to persist. That's how we find out who we are.”
― Tobias Wolff

“Fearlessness in those without power is maddening to those who have it.”
― Tobias Wolff, This Boy's Life

“There are very few professions in which people just sit down and think hard for five or six hours a day all by themselves. Of course it's why you want to become a writer — because you have the liberty to do that, but once you have the liberty you also have the obligation to do it.”
― Tobias Wolff

“In the very act of writing I felt pleased with what I did. There was the pleasure of having words come to me, and the pleasure of ordering them, re-ordering them, weighing one against another. Pleasure also in the imagination of the story, the feeling that it could mean something. Mostly I was glad to find out that I could write at all. In writing you work toward a result you won't see for years, and can't be sure you'll ever see. It takes stamina and self-mastery and faith. It demands those things of you, then gives them back with a little extra, a surprise to keep you coming. It toughens you and clears your head. I could feel it happening. I was saving my life with every word I wrote, and I knew it.”
― Tobias Wolff, In Pharaoh's Army: Memories of the Lost War

“I have never been able to understand the complaint that a story is "depressing" because of its subject matter. What depresses me are stories that don't seem to know these things go on, or hide them in resolute chipperness; "witty stories," in which every problem is the occasion for a joke; "upbeat" stories that flog you with transcendence. Please. We're grown ups now.”
― Tobias Wolff

“I have also learned that you can be patient and diligent and sometimes it just doesn’t strike sparks. After a while you begin to understand that writing well is not a promised reward for being virtuous. No, every time you do it you’re stepping off into darkness and hoping for some light. You can be faithful, work hard, not waste your talents in drink, and still not have it happen.”
― Tobias Wolff

“We love hearing stories of other people’s misfortunes — not terrible misfortunes, we don’t like that, but if somebody has taken a really expensive holiday, we don’t mind hearing that their flight was canceled and they had to sleep on the airport floor, and that there was no snow on the slopes when they finally arrived, and that the heating crashed in their hotel and that they had to wear several layers of clothing to bed every night. We live by stories. It’s the principle by which we organize our experience and thus derive our sense of who we are. We’re in an unceasing flow of time and events and people, and to make sense of what goes past, we put a beginning and an end to a certain thing, and we leave things out and we heighten other things, and in that way we break the unbroken flow into stories, because that’s the only way we can give it significance.”
― Tobias Wolff

Sunday, June 18, 2017


“I am a cage, in search of a bird.”
― Franz Kafka

Shabby and Sad

Run away! Run away! There's a part of me that wants to run away from the politics, poverty, and drugs that seem to be everywhere. Everything is looking shabby and sad these days.


The world is smelly today. The air is as thick as molasses. The humidity rolled back in and with it my house's history of every bad smell.


“You cannot fake effort; talent is great, but perseverance is necessary.”
― Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom

“Marriage is not a ritual or an end. It is a long, intricate, intimate dance together and nothing matters more than your own sense of balance and your choice of partner.”
― Amy Bloom

“In a true partnership, the kind worth striving for, the kind worth insisting on and even, frankly, worth divorcing over, both people try to give as much or even a little more than they get. "Deserves" is not the point. And "owes" is certainly not the point. The point is to make the other person as happy as we can, because their happiness adds to ours. The point is, that in the right hands, everything that you give, you get.”
― Amy Bloom

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.”
― Amy Bloom

Amy Bloom

“Learning to listen, letting people finish their sentences, and most of all, the habit of noticing the difference between what people say and how they say it. {on the habits of psychoanalytic training and practice applied to fiction writing} The gap between what people tell you and what's really going on is what interests me.”
― Amy Bloom

“Some people are your family no matter when you find them, and some people are not, even if you are laid, still wet and crumpled, in their arms.”
― Amy Bloom, Love Invents Us

“Sophisticated readers understand that writers work out their anger, their conflicts, their endless grief and rolling list of loss, through their stories. That however mean-spirited or diabolical, it's only a story. That the darkness in the soul is shaped into type and lies there, brooding and inert, black on the page, and active, dangerous, only in the reader's mind. Actually, harmless. I am not harmless.”
― Amy Bloom, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You

“I have made the best and happiest ending that I can in this world, made it out of the flax and netting and leftover trim of someone else's life, I know, but made it to keep the innocent safe and the guilty punished, and I have made it as the world should be and not as I have found it.”
― Amy Bloom, A Blind Man Can See How Much I Love You

“I think the most important thing in the world is being brave. I'd rather be brave than beautiful. Hell, I'd settle for acting brave.”
― Amy Bloom

Within the Shadow of Failure

“I work continuously within the shadow of failure. For every novel that makes it to my publisher’s desk, there are at least five or six that died on the way.”
- Gail

“There are two kinds of people. One kind, you can just tell by looking at them at what point they congealed into their final selves. It might be a very nice self, but you know you can expect no more surprises from it. Whereas, the other kind keep moving, changing... They are fluid. They keep moving forward and making new trysts with life, and the motion of it keeps them young. In my opinion, they are the only people who are still alive. You must be constantly on your guard against congealing.”
― Gail Godwin

“Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths pure theater.”
― Gail Godwin

“How easy it was to make people happy, when you didn't want or need anything from them.”
― Gail Godwin

“The more you respect and focus on the singular and the strange, the more you become aware of the universal and infinite.”
― Gail Godwin

“When I was in seminary," Father Edward had told other guests around the table when he was purchasing his books, "my spiritual director told me not to read theology. 'Read novels,' he said, and I have.”
― Gail Godwin, Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir

“As a teacher, Kurt Vonnegut was easy, magnanimous. He didn't try to make his students into little Kurt Vonneguts. He respected material unlike his own and was startlingly humble about what he did. ("I write with a big black crayon," he would write to me later, "while you're more of an impressionist. I don't think you have it in you to be crude.") In his workshop sessions, things always seemed a little looser, a little kinder, a little funnier.”
― Gail Godwin, Publishing: A Writer’s Memoir

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Counting: Tool or Weapon

For many years I have been against the idea of counting laps at the pool but recently I decided just out of curiosity, how many laps do I swim in an hour? I started counting which in and of itself was a challenge but it was also a focal point, not as a measurement but as a mantra. The interesting thing is resisting turning the counting into a weapon. You did more yesterday. You were faster yesterday. And I must remember to invite myself to leave after swimming just one lap. With this strategy I might be able to continue to enjoy the counting. Many days I have been inspired to do one more to stop on a round number and I end up surprising myself. But I have to always start with Do one lap. In order to keep it healthy.

Mind Circuit

“The mind is like a circuit of Christmas tree lights. When the brain works well, all of the lights twinkle brilliantly, and it’s adaptable enough that, often, even if one bulb goes out, the rest will still shine on. But depending on where the damage is, sometimes that one blown bulb can make the whole strand go dark.”
― Susannah Cahalan

Susannah Cahalan

“Sometimes, just when we need them, life wraps metaphors up in little bows for us. When you think all is lost, the things you need the most return unexpectedly.”
― Susannah Cahalan, Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness

Susannah Cahalan

SC: [...] The Clock Test is ordinarily given to people with dementia or Alzheimer disease. It had no business being given to a 24-year-old . . . but my doctor, Souhel Najjar, had a brilliant stroke of insight and decided to use it to test me.

He first asked me to draw a circle—and I did after one aborted attempt. (I later learned that circle drawing is an overlearned practice that many people—even those with severe cognitive deficits—can do.) Then he asked me to write in the numbers. When he stared at the page, he nearly applauded. I had squished in all the numbers—1 through 12—on the right-hand side, entirely neglecting the left side of space. This proved to him that whatever I was suffering from was neurological—not psychiatric. It was the key that finally led to my final diagnosis.


To a Friend Considering Swimming

Ooh you might just LOVE IT!
Like Clark Kent pack towel suit and goggles.
Step one carry towel and suit, and forget to swim.
Step two just get wet.
Step three...just play in the water like a four year old.
Have a tea party underwater
Hug the water (like Suzuki violin method)
You won't be sorry
You might find nirvana.

Love and mermaids,

Igor Stravinsky

“To listen is an effort, and just to hear is no merit. A duck hears also.”
-Igor Stravinsky

“My music is best understood by children and animals.”
-Igor Stravinsky

Friday, June 16, 2017

Loving the Rain

I looked at the radar like an air traffic controller. The yellow-orange was heading this way due to arrive in minutes. Lily wanted to go out and so did I. So I closed the house windows grabbed my umbrella and left. As we walked through Precious Blood cemetery the skies opened up drumming on my umbrella. I loved it. Lily was soaked her collar was now dark purple. I was smiling. When we went back out onto the street there were two rivers of rainwater. I saw a mother and daughter sharing a yellow umbrella leaping to cross the streams. They ducked into the candy store. Sweet Celeste rolled down her window and offered me a lift. "Thanks, but I chose to come out in this," I said. "I looked at the radar map and did it anyway. It's still better than being trapped by four walls."

Anne Lamott

“Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It's like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can't stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.”
― Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

Clarissa Pinkola Estes

Understand the paradox: If you study the physics of a waterspout, you will see that the outer vortex whirls far more quickly than the inner one. To calm the storm means to quiet the outer layer, to cause it to swirl much less, to more evenly match the velocity of the inner core - 'til whatever has been lifted into such a vicious funnel falls back to Earth, lays down, is peaceable again. One of the most important steps you can take to help calm the storm is to not allow yourself to be taken in a flurry of overwrought emotion or desperation thereby accidentally contributing to the swale and the swirl.

Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach. Any small, calm thing that one soul can do to help another soul, to assist some portion of this poor suffering world, will help immensely. It is not given to us to know which acts or by whom, will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good. What is needed for dramatic change is an accumulation of acts, adding, adding to, adding more, continuing. We know that it does not take "everyone on Earth" to bring justice and peace, but only a small, determined group who will not give up during the first, second, or hundredth gale.

One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times. The light of the soul throws sparks, can send up flares, builds signal fires, causes proper matters to catch fire. To display the lantern of soul in shadowy times like these - to be fierce and to show mercy toward others, both, are acts of immense bravery and greatest necessity. Struggling souls catch light from other souls who are fully lit and willing to show it. If you would help to calm the tumult, this is one of the strongest things you can do.

There will always be times when you feel discouraged. I too have felt despair many times in my life, but I do not keep a chair for it; I will not entertain it. It is not allowed to eat from my plate. The reason is this: In my uttermost bones I know something, as do you. It is that there can be no despair when you remember why you came to Earth, who you serve, and who sent you here. The good words we say and the good deeds we do are not ours: They are the words and deeds of the One who brought us here. In that spirit, I hope you will write this on your wall: When a great ship is in harbor and moored, it is safe, there can be no doubt. But that is not what great ships are built for.

Excerpt: We Were Made For These Times
By Clarissa Pinkola Estes



How Swimming Reduces Depression
By Therese J. Borchard

How Swimming Reduces Depression I’ve always known that I climb out of any pool a lot happier than when I dove in.

Yes, I know any kind of aerobic exercise relieves depression.

For starters, it stimulates brain chemicals that foster the growth of nerve cells; exercise also affects neurotransmitters such as serotonin that influence mood and produces ANP, a stress-reducing hormone, which helps control the brain’s response to stress and anxiety. But swimming, for me, seems to zap a bad mood more efficiently than even running. Swimming a good 3000 meters for me can, in the midst of a depressive cycle, hush the dead thoughts for up to two hours. It’s like taking a Tylenol for a headache! It was with interest, then, that I read an article in “Swimmer” magazine about why, in fact, that’s the case.

Here’s the gist, excerpted from the article “Staying Happy?” by Jim Thornton in the Jan/Feb issue of “Swimmer” magazine.

Regardless of cause, a growing number of researchers and psychologists alike have become true believers in the efficacy of swimming. “We know, for instance, that vigorous exercise like swimming can significantly decrease both anxiety and depression” says sports psychologist Aimee C. Kimball, director of mental training at the Center for Sports Medicine at University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. “Currently, there’s a ton of research looking at the various mechanisms by which it works.”

On the physiological level, hard swimming workouts release endorphins, natural feel-good compounds whose very name derives from “endogenous” and “morphine.” Swimming serves, as well, to sop up excess fight-or-flight stress hormones, converting free-floating angst into muscle relaxation. It can even promote so-called “hippocampal neurogenesis” – the growth of new brain cells in a part of the brain that atrophies under chronic stress. In animal models, exercise has shown itself to be even more potent than drugs like Prozac at spurring such beneficial changes.

Moby Coquillard, a psychotherapist and swimmer from San Mateo, Calif., is so convinced that he prescribes exercise to depressed patients. “I absolutely believe swimming can serve as a kind of medicine. For me, it represents a potent adjunct to antidepressant medications and, for some patients, it’s something you can take in lieu of pills.”

Besides possible biochemical changes in the brain, swimming requires the alternating stretch and relaxation of skeletal muscles while simultaneously deep-breathing in a rhythmic pattern. If this sounds familiar, it’s because these are key elements of many practices, from hatha yoga to progressive muscle relaxation, used to evoke the relaxation response. “Swimming, because of its repetitive nature, is incredibly meditative,” Coquillard says. There’s even a built-in mantra, be this the slow count of laps, or self-directed thoughts like “relax” or “stay smooth.”

“I teach a mindfulness-based cognitive therapy class for depression,” he adds, “and we use focus on the body here in the moment to keep past thoughts or future worries from invading our consciousness.” By concentrating on different aspects of their stroke mechanics, from hip rotation and kick patterns, to streamlining and pulls, regular swimmers practice this intuitively. The result: On a regular basis, most get a break from life’s not always pleasant stream of rumination.

Moreover, since most pools have set times for lap swimming and coached Masters workouts alike, regular swimmer usually find themselves settling into a schedule that becomes automatic. There’s no need to decide if you should go exercise now or later. For stressed out people, this lack of options, says Coquillard, is paradoxically comforting because it removes the burden of yet another decision. “All you have to do is show up at the regular time,” he says, “and you know there’s a good chance you’ll end up leaving the pool feeling a little better than when you arrived.


I told myself just go swim ONE LAP and at least you'll come home clean. I opened the doors to let in the cool air and swam and swam.
Swim those blues away. Even lifting one's mood a sixteenth of an inch is worth it.

Rethinking Jail

Article by Sam Quinones
Unit 104 offers G.E.D. classes, instruction on criminal-addictive thinking, 12-step meetings, overdose-resuscitation training, physical exercise, prayer and meditation, counseling, inmate self-governance and extensive writing assignments for those derelict in confronting the issues that landed them in custody. Classes begin at 8:30 a.m., with beds made military style.


Amid this national epidemic of opiate addiction, rethinking jail, as Kentucky has, as a place of sanctuary and recovery for a population that has lost hope, might not just be advisable; it may be indispensable.


He had shaved his head and was sprouting a beard. "You look like the children's toy with the magnetic shavings," I said.
"I'm growing it for my favorite sports team, the Bruins." he said.


“I drank coffee and read old books and waited for the year to end.”
― Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America


“All of us have a place in history. mine is clouds.”
― Richard Brautigan


“It was not an outhouse resting upon the imagination. It was reality.”
― Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan

“Now it was close to sunset and the earth was beginning to cool off in the manner of eternity and office girls were returning like penguins from Montgomery Street.”
― Richard Brautigan, Trout Fishing in America


“Let us pretend that my mind is a taxi... and suddenly you are riding in it.”
― Richard Brautigan

Watcha Doin?

“Watcha doin? If you're like me, you're doin nothin, but you're doin it so well that everybody thinks you're doin somethin.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Edna Webster Collection of Undiscovered Writing


“I daydream about a high school where everybody plays the harmonica: the students, the teachers, the principal, the janitor and the cook in the cafeteria.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express

In a Cafe

I watched a man in a cafe fold a slice of bread as if he were folding a birth certificate or looking at the photograph of a dead lover.”
― Richard Brautigan


The yellow brick apartment house across the street has wind chimes on the 3rd floor porch. It's cloudy today and the sound of the chimes has transported me to the sea.

Once Upon a Time

“Once upon a time there was a dwarf knight who only had fifty words to live in and they were so fleeting that he only had time to put on a suit of armor and ride swiftly on a black horse into a very well-lit woods where he vanished forever.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express


“With the rain falling
surgically against the roof,
I ate a dish of ice cream
that looked like Kafka's hat.
It was a dish of ice cream
tasting like an operating table
with the patient staring
up at the ceiling.”
― Richard Brautigan, Lay the Marble Tea


“There are not too many fables about man's misuse of sunflower seeds.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express


“There are spiders living comfortably in my house while the wind howls outside. They aren't bothering anybody. If I were a fly, I'd have second thoughts, but I'm not, so I don't.”
― Richard Brautigan, The Tokyo-Montana Express

The Thought

“The thought of her hands
touching his hair
makes me want to vomit.”
― Richard Brautigan

Borrowing the Light

“Night was coming on in, borrowing the light. It had started out borrowing just a few cents worth of the light, but now it was borrowing thousands of dollars worth of the light every second. The light would soon be gone, the bank closed, the tellers unemployed, the bank president a suicide.”
― Richard Brautigan, A Confederate General from Big Sur

Richard Brautigan

“For the rest of my life I'll be thinking about that hamburger. I'll be sitting there at the counter, holding it in my hands with tears streaming down my cheeks. The waitress will be looking away because she doesn't like to see kids crying when they are eating hamburgers...”
― Richard Brautigan


“Elizabeth's voice had a door in it. When you opened that door you found another door, and that door opened yet another door. All the doors were nice and led out of her.”
― Richard Brautigan

Richard Brautigan

“I’ll affect you slowly
as if you were having a picnic in a dream.
There will be no ants.
It won’t rain.”
― Richard Brautigan, Loading Mercury With a Pitchfork


“Probably the closest things to perfection are the huge absolutely empty holes that astronomers have recently discovered in space. If there's nothing there, how can anything go wrong?”
― Richard Brautigan

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sad Day

I was feeling blue and I knew a walk would be a good thing. It had been days since Lily and I had the walk to the pond. I noticed a bird cage on the edge of a yard. Is there a bird in there? I was worried because the cage was in the blazing sun. I stepped closer and saw a hand-written sign that read Apple Come Home. The cage door was open.

Motion and Mood

Why should moving more be part of your wellness program? For one thing, it’s a natural antidepressant. Heaps of research links exercise to improved mood—both as an immediate pick-me-up and by reducing the risk of future depressive episodes—and stronger resilience, which is the ability to handle stress.

(The majority of studies have focused on major depressive disorder, but those involving bipolar depression show similar results. One caveat: Exercise and elevated mood gets trickier because taking “goal-directed activity” to extremes is an aspect of mania.)

Scientists are trying to puzzle out just how exercise combats depression. One promising candidate is a brain protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). In addition to playing a crucial role in maintaining and creating neurons, BDNF appears to have antidepressants effects.

Physical activity spurs the production of BDNF— not to mention improving oxygen and nutrient flow to your brain.

Giddy Grasshopper

“Giddy grasshopper
Take not leap and crush
These pearls of dewdrop”
― Kobayashi Issa, Japanese Haiku

Kobayashi Issa

“Where there are humans,
You'll find flies,
And Buddhas.”
― Kobayashi Issa

“In the cherry blossom's shade
there's no such thing
as a stranger.”
― Kobayashi Issa

“Even in warmest
how cold my shadow”
― Kobayashi Issa

in the dragonfly's eye --
― Kobayashi Issa

“All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
killing mosquitoes.”
― Kobayashi Issa


It’s the birthday of Japanese poet Kobayashi Issa (books by this author), born in Kashiwabara, Japan (1763). He’s one of the masters of the Japanese form of poetry called haiku, which uses 17 Japanese characters broken into three distinct units. He spent most of his adult life traveling around Japan, writing haiku, keeping a travel diary, and visiting shrines and temples across the country. By the end of his life, he had written over 20,000 haiku celebrating the small wonders of everyday life. He’s a big reason haiku became so popular in Japan and around the world.
-Writer's Almanac

Monday, June 12, 2017

Polish Change

The sign read POLISH CHANGE
I imagined becoming Russian, Italian, French,
or Greek instead of Polish
But it was about changing from red to black or yellow to pink
or even going natural
or a glittery green
A manicure and pedicure with a thick enamel accent
I rubbed my shekels and rubles together until they shone like the moon

The Water

Swimming is my friend. It lifts me up when I am blue and it grounds me when I am flying and it untangles me when I am scrambled. I feel very lucky to have water as a companion. Swimming laps is a bit of an addiction for me because who doesn't want to feel better?

Stay Cool

This morning Lily and I walked while the shadows were long, at 6:30. I soaked my head and wore my straw hat and sunglasses. Downtown was deserted, Edward Hopper barren. The trick for staving off heat panic is hiding underneath the heat. I do this is by swimming laps or sitting in front of the fan with wet hair. Lily had a slight limp this morning but as my friend Charles said while he was recovering from his stroke motion is lotion and after walking a bit she was fine. My guess is her left hip got sore when she slept on the floor to stay cool instead of sleeping on her bed.

Sunday, June 11, 2017


This morning I swam to quiet my mind. I require daily solitude. Today the heat struck the neighborhood mute. Amen to that. Ninety-three degrees, and muffled as falling snow.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Body Talk

"What are you up to today young lady," he asked.
"I'm on the way to the library," I said.
"I used to love to read. Now I get headaches when I wear glasses. You know that piece of aluminum that's behind the eye, well mine came off. Now I'm blind in my right eye," he said. "Don't ever get the sugar. Everyone in my family had it. My father died of it. My brother got rid of it. I don't know how he did it. The button that regulates insulin got stuck 'on' when my brother was treated for cancer," the man said pointing to his ribs. "Now he doesn't have it anymore."

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Social Anxiety Stomach Ache

Whenever I have to show up to a an event where there's a group of people, I get a stomach ache. Even loving the people I am going to see does not stop my social anxiety. I am not sure how I can solve this although I keep trying.

Louise Erdrich, Four Souls

“To sew is to pray. Men don't understand this. They see the whole but they don't see the stitches. They don't see the speech of the creator in the work of the needle. We mend. We women turn things inside out and set things right. We salvage what we can of human garments and piece the rest into blankets. Sometimes our stitches stutter and slow. Only a woman's eyes can tell. Other times, the tension in the stitches might be too tight because of tears, but only we know what emotion went into the making. Only women can hear the prayer.”
― Louise Erdrich, Four Souls

Witnessed as a Person

“Women without children are also the best of mothers, often, with the patience, interest, and saving grace that the constant relationship with children cannot always sustain. I come to crave our talk and our daughters gain precious aunts. Women who are not mothering their own children have the clarity and focus to see deeply into the character of children webbed by family. A child is fortunate who feels witnessed as a person, outside relationships with parents by another adult.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Blue Jay's Dance: A Birth Year

Louise Erdrich

“Things which do not grow and change are dead things.”
― Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich

“We do know that no one gets wise enough to really understand the heart of another, though it is the task of our life to try.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Bingo Palace

To Love

“To love another human in all of her splendor and imperfect perfection, it is a magnificent task...tremendous and foolish and human.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Last Report on the Miracles at Little No Horse

Louise Erdrich

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum


“When we are young, the words are scattered all around us. As they are assembled by experience, so also are we, sentence by sentence, until the story takes shape.”
― Louise Erdrich, The Plague of Doves

Eudora Welty

In her essay ''Place in Fiction,'' Eudora Welty speculates that the loss of place might also mean the loss of our ability to respond humanly to anything. She writes: It is only too easy to conceive that a bomb that could destroy all traces of places as we know them, in life and through books, could also destroy all feelings as we know them, so irretrievably and so happily are recognition, memory, history, valor, love, all the instincts of poetry and praise, worship and endeavor, bound up in place.''
Article Where I Ought to Be: A Writer's Sense of Place
By Louise Erdrich

A Place

Here I am, where I ought to be. A writer must have a place where he or she feels this, a place to love and be irritated with.
-Louise Erdrich

Louise Erdrich

I was in love with the whole world and all that lived in its rainy arms.
- Louise Erdrich

Orhan Pamuk

Life is beautiful if you are on the road to somewhere.
-Orhan Pamuk

For if a lover's face survives emblazoned on your heart, the world is still your home.
-Orhan Pamuk

A Writer

A writer is someone who spends years patiently trying to discover the second being inside him, and the world that makes him who he is: when I speak of writing, what comes first to my mind is not a novel, a poem, or literary tradition, it is a person who shuts himself up in a room, sits down at a table, and alone, turns inward; amid its shadows, he builds a new world with words.
-Orhan Pamuk


Mankind's greatest error, the biggest deception of the past thousand years is this: to confuse poverty with stupidity.
- Orhan Pamuk

Two Eternities

Before my birth there was infinite time, and after my death, inexhaustible time. I never thought of it before: I'd been living luminously between two eternities of darkness.
- Orhan Pamuk

When I Paint

When I paint, I definitely live in the present, like someone in a shower whistling or singing. - Orhan Pamuk


I don't much care whether rural Anatolians or Istanbul secularists take power. I'm not close to any of them. What I care about is respect for the individual.
- Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk

I write a world where everyone is partly right.
- Orhan Pamuk


Being a fiction writer makes you someone who works with irresponsibility.
- Orhan Pamuk


I get used to my fountain pens and my clothes, and I can never throw them away. I replace them only when I see that they are broken or embarrassing to wear.
- Orhan Pamuk

Orhan Pamuk

I always enjoy impersonating my characters in the first-person singular.
- Orhan Pamuk

I strongly believe that the art of the novel works best when the writer identifies with whoever he or she is writing about. Novels in the end are based on the human capacity, compassion, and I can show more compassion to my characters if I write in a first person singular.
- Orhan Pamuk