Friday, August 19, 2011

Weekly Quotes Part 33


Journals of Sylvia Plath

The only way to stop envying others is to have a self of joy.  (285)

Why must I punish myself, or save myself, by pretending I’m stupid and can’t feel?   (291)

If I could once see how to write a story, a novel, to get something of my feeling over, I would not despair.  If writing is not an outlet, what is?  (292)

I make up problems, all unnecessary.  I do not reverence the present time.  (293)

This is too much.  The world is so big so big so big  I need to feel a meaning and productiveness in my life.  (297)

What I fear worst is failure, and this is stopping me from trying to write because then I don’t have to blame failure on my own writing. . . . (297-298)

I need an outsider:  feel like the recluse who comes out into the world with a life-saving gospel to find everybody has learned a new language in the meantime and can’t understand a word he’s saying.  (298)

How to overcome my naïveté in writing?  Read others and think hard.  Never step outside my own voice, such as I know it.  (302)

Ideas flock where one plants a single seed.  (307)

In the morning, all is possible; even becoming a god. (314)

While reading Plath’s journals I was struck again and again by the familiar “artist’s angst” I see in myself and other creative people.  The constant self-flagellation, the struggle with fear of success/failure, the urge toward the impossibility of perfection.  It’s all there.  A bit scary, all things considered, to see one’s self so clearly in Plath’s writings.

War Talk

Flags are bits of colored cloth that governments use first to shrink-wrap people’s minds and then as ceremonial shrouds to bury the dead. . . .  [W]hen writers, painters, musicians, filmmakers suspend their judgment and blindly yoke their art to the service of the nation, it’s time for all of us to sit up and worry. (47)

War cannot avenge those who have died.  War is only a brutal desecration of their memory.  (52)

Wars are never fought for altruistic reasons.  (68)

Fortunately power has a shelf life.  When the time comes, maybe this mighty empire will, like others before it, overreach itself and implode from within.  (74)

While the elite journeys to its imaginary destination somewhere near the top of the world, the dispossessed are spiraling downwards into crime and chaos.  This climate of frustration and national disillusionment is the perfect breeding ground, history tells us, for fascism.  (105)

We can re-invent civil disobedience in a million different ways.  In other words, we can come up with a million ways of becoming a collective pain in the ass.  (112)

The corporate revolution will collapse if we refuse to buy what they are selling—their ideas, their version of history, their wars, their weapons, their notion of inevitability.  (112)

Remember this:  We be many and they be few.  They need us more than we need them.  (112)

Dance of Intimacy

All of us see the world through a different filter creating as many views of reality as there are people in it.  (71)

[I]n any close relationship difference will inevitably emerge—differences in values, beliefs, priorities, and habits, as well as differences in how we manage anxiety and navigate relationships under stress.  (71)

When we generalize about any group . . . we exaggerate similarities within the group and minimize similarities between groups.  (75)

People commonly try to make changes they are not ready for to attempt to address a hot issue before they have completely addressed smaller problems.  (99)

[W]e can’t learn to swim by jumping off the high dive.  (99)

When we complain that our mother’s (or whoever) won’t listen to reason, it usually means that they won’t see things our way or do what we want them to do.  (114)

[W]e cannot know for certain what is best for another person—what they can and cannot tolerate, what they need to do, when, and why.  Surely it is difficult enough to know this for one’s self. (120)

Moving at glacial speed in the face of very high anxiety is the optimal way to proceed.  Rather than signifying a lack of strength or perseverance, moving slowly—or sometimes not moving at all—may be necessary to preserving and protecting the well-being and integrity of the self.  (135)

Questions enlarge our capacity for reflection and for seeing a problem in its broader context.  (138)

[L]earning to say ‘I’m sorry’ goes a long way toward lowering intensity and shifting a pattern of any relationship.  (140)

The Waves

About him my feeling was he sat there in the centre.  Now I go to that spot no longer.  The place is empty.  (153)

The truth is that I am not one of those who find these satisfactions in one person, or in infinity. (156)

I have made up thousands of stories; I have filled innumerable notebooks with phrases to be used when I have found the true story, the one story to which all these phrases refer.  But I have never yet found that story.  And I begin to ask, Are there stories?  (187)

Let the silent army of the dead descend.  I move forward.  (196)

I know what loves are trembling into fire; how jealousy shoots its green flashes hither and thither, how intricately love crosses love, love makes knots; love brutally tears them apart.  I have been knotted; I have been torn apart.  (214)

To let oneself be carried on passively is unthinkable.  (240)

Mostly, I share these quotes from Woolf to show how poetic some of the things she expresses are.  I will be rereading this novel, no doubt.

Finding Water

So much of being sane and happy begins with the doing of things that are sane and happy.  (123)

Quoting the Talmud
We do not see things as they are.  We see things as we are.  (135)

As we all know, it is a pet peeve of mine when authors do not cite where they find these wonderful quotes but for me not to share some of them would be impossible.  So I share them in hopes of someday finding a source, a proper source, to offer myself and you.

Romancing the Ordinary

When our lives feel empty and lacking, it’s often because we’re giving too little notice to all that we’ve lived through or that’s surrounding us or all that we’re so desperately trying to overlook.  (353-354)








Simple Abundance

No one really expects a dilettante to deliver the goods.  (August 14)

What if the fatal wound, the one from which we never recover, is regret?  (August 14)

Why do we make ourselves sick competing against strangers?  I believe it’s just another sophisticated, seditious form of self-sabotage.   (August 16)

The cycle of creation is cyclical.  There’s a reason the past is a prologue.  (August 16)

When you’re authentic, so is your art.  (August 16)

How can we live richer, deeper, and more passionately if we aren’t willing to invest in ourselves?  Many of us have played it safe for too long and wonder why we’re miserable.Play it safe is the riskiest choice we can ever make.  (August 18)

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