Friday, August 05, 2011

Weekly Quotes Part 31

As I've done before, since the quotes are so many this week, I won't add comments to them unless you find one remarkable and would like to discuss it. Or if you are just curious why, of all the pages I read this week, I chose to write that quote down in my journal.  Enjoy!

The Journals of Sylvia Plath

He gives orders—mutually exclusive:  read ballads an hour, read Shakespeare an hour, read history an hour, think an hour and then ‘You read nothing in an hour—bits, read things straight through.’ (246-47)

Quoting Possession: Demoniacal and Other by Oesterreich (94)
Although the patient appeared possessed, his malady was not possession but the emotion of remorse. This was true of so many possessed persons, the devil being for them merely the incarnation of their regrets, remorse, terrors and vices.  (258)

I have distant subjects.  I haven’t opened my experience up.  I keep discarding and discarding.  My mind is barren of ideas and I must scavenge themes as a magpie must: scraps and oddments.  I feel paltry, wanting in richness.  Fearful, inadequate, desperate.  (242)

Now, every day, I am writing 5 pages, about 1,500 words on a small vignette, a scene charged with emotion, conflict, and that is that:  to make these small bits of life, which I discarded as trivial, not serious ‘plot material.’ I cannot correct faults in rhythm, in realization—in thin air.  I spend 3 hours, and shall from now on, in writing, not letting a bad or slight subject engulf the day.  (250)

Writing is a religious act: it is an ordering, a reforming, a relearning and revolving of people and the world as they are and as they might be . . . The writing lasts:  it goes about on its own in the world.  People read it:  react to it as to a persona, a philosophy, a religion, a flower:  they like it, or do not.  It helps them, or it does not.  It feels to intensify living:  you give more, probe, ask, look, learn, and shape this: you get more:  monsters, answers, color and form, knowledge.  You do it for itself first.  If it brings in money, how nice.  You do not do it first for money.  Money isn’t why you sit down at the typewriter. Not that you don’t want it.  It is only too lovely when a profession pays for your bread and butter.  With writing, it is maybe, maybe not.  How to live with such insecurity?  With what is worst, the occasional lack of faith in the writing itself?  How to live with these things?  (272)

Quote from therapist Dr. Ruth Beuscher
You have always been afraid of premature choices cutting off other choices.  (273)

[I]t’s a hell of a responsibility to be yourself. It’s much easier to be somebody else or nobody at all.  (271)

Let life happen.  (274)

So my work is to have fun in my work and to FEEL THAT MY WORKS ARE MINE. (281)

Writing . . . was a substitute for myself:  if you don’t love me, love my writing and love me for my writing.  (281)

War Talk

The more the two sides try to call attention to their religious differences by slaughter each other, the less there is to distinguish them from one another.  They worship at the same altar.  They’re both apostles of the same murderous god, whoever he is.  (18)

While the parallels between contemporary India and pre-war Germany are chilling, they’re not surprising.  (25)

It is disturbing to see how neatly nationalism dovetails into fascism.  While we must not allow the fascists to define what the nation is, or who it belongs to, it’s worth keeping in mind that nationalism—in all its many avatars:  communist, capitalist, and fascist—has been at the root of almost all genocide of the twentieth century.  On the issue of nationalism, it’s wise to proceed with caution.  (36)

Historically, fascist movements have been fuelled by feelings of national disillusionment.  (39)

Under the circumstances, it’s futile to go on blaming politicians and demanding from them a morality of which they’re incapable. There’s something pitiable about a people that constantly bemoans its leaders.  If they’ve let us down, it’s only because we’ve allowed them to.  (40)

[A]m I being obtuse?  Perhaps it’s common practice for the unfortunate to vent their rge and hatred on the next most unfortunate, because their real adversaries are inaccessible, seemingly invincible, and completely out of range.  (42)

Writers imagine that they cull stories from the world.  I’m beginning to believe that vanity makes them think so.  That it’s actually the other way around.  Stories cull writers from the world.  Stories reveal themselves to us.  The public narrative, the private narrative—they colonize us.  They commission us. They insist on being told.  Fiction and nonfiction are only different techniques of storytelling.  (45)

The God of Small Things

And the Air was full of Thoughts and Things to Say.  But at times like these, only the Small Things are ever said.  The Big Things lurk unsaid inside.  (136)

[T]he secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets.  The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again.  The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably.  They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings.  They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen  They are as familiar as the house you live in.  Or the smell of your lover’s skin.  You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t.  In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t.  In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t.  And yet you want to know again.  (218)

Dance of Intimacy

Change requires courage, but the failure to change does not signify the lack of it.  (27)

Ultimately you are the best expert on yourself. (31)

We are not high on the selfhood scale when we cannot stay emotionally connected to family members and speaking directly to the important and difficult issues in our lives.  (34)

Anniversary dates always kick up anxiety, whether we are aware of them or not.  (49)

We cannot work on intimacy problems if we stay narrowly focused on one relationship or on any one definition of ‘the problem’.  (51)

Whatever goes unresolved and unprocessed may cause trouble in our next relationship venture.  (55)

It is of questionable virtue to push someone into discussing something because we think it is good to do so.  (60-61)

Distance and cutoff between family members have nothing to do with an absence of feeling, or a lack of love or concern.  Distance and cutoff are simply ways of managing anxiety.  Rather than reflecting a lack of feeling, they reflect an intensity of feeling.  (63)

Because women are encourage to feel guilty about everything—and to take responsibility for all human problems—we often have difficulty sorting out when guilt is there for a good reason.  (67)

We commonly confuse closeness with sameness and view intimacy as the merging of two separate “I’s” into one worldview. (70)

Romancing the Ordinary

A woman shouldn’t have to be diagnosed with breast cancer to take up mountain climbing or landscape design.  (330)

The ordinary stuns with soulful intensity.  (335)

While it’s true that we read books to find out who we are; we also fall in love for the same reason.  Whether the romance is real or imaginary, with another person or on the page, we fall in love to better understand who we are and what we might become.  (337)

Simple Abundance

For as long as we continue to cling to bad habits that may not be life-threatening but certainly aren’t life-enhancing, we only steal from our potential.  (July 30)

A friend of mine has a theory that it’s not so much all we actually have to do in any one week that will kill us, it’s thinking about all we have to do.  (August 3)

Garland of Love

We are responsible for all our actions, whether of thought or behavior, whether deliberate or unintentional.  (July 31)

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