Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Writers Hour quotes.

Words of Wisdom via Alastair Humphreys:

"It helps if you can separate what is urgent from what is important. Superficially the two words are similar. But extrapolate your life a few decades, and they lead to very different destinations. Urgent shouts more loudly than Important. But Important is, well, important.

On the first Tuesday of every month, my calendar pings a reminder at me. That’s standard, of course; my life is ruled by a crowded calendar (because I am the King of Busy). But this is one ping I always enjoy. Indeed, the busier I am, the more I appreciate the interruption. And that is because my calendar tells me to ‘Climb a Tree’. 

It reminds me to step away from the aimless conference calls and the interruptions and spend 20 minutes doing something which I will never regret. 

 It is a pleasant way to measure and notice the changing seasons…I hope that I never deem myself too busy with urgent tasks to do something as important as climbing a tree."

Today's words of wisdom via David Bowie:

“I think it’s terrible when artists work to fulfil other people’s expectations…

If you feel safe in the area you’re working in you’re not working in the right area. Always go further into the water than you feel you’re capable of being in. Go a little out of your depth and when you don’t quite feel that your feet are touching the bottom you’re just about in the right place to do something exciting.” –David Bowie

Today Neil Gaiman:

"I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.

Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.

So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.

Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.

Make your mistakes, next year and forever."

Ryan Holiday

"You will come across obstacles in life - fair and unfair. And you will discover, time and time again, that what matters most is not what these obstacles are but how we see them, how we react to them, and whether we keep our composure. You will learn that this reaction determined how successful we will be in overcoming - or possibly thriving because of - them.


– Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way

Today's words of wisdom via friend of the Salon, agent Rachel Mann:

“Ultimately you write alone. And ultimately you and you alone can judge your work. The judgment that a work is complete—this is what I meant to do, and I stand by it—can come only from the writer, and it can be made rightly only by a writer who’s learned to read her own work. Group criticism is great training for self-criticism. But until quite recently no writer had that training, and yet they learned what they needed. They learned it by doing it.” 
― Ursula K. Le Guin, Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story

Some gentle words from the wise Mary Oliver:

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird —
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy
to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

Today's words of wisdom via Ryan Holiday:

"People claim to want to do something that matters, yet they measure themselves against things that don't, and track their progress not in years but in microseconds. They want to make something timeless, but they focus instead on immediate payoffs and instant gratification.

Making a beloved classic that last for more than 100 years may seem like tall order. Fine, put that aside. What if we start by just trying to make something that lasts longer than average.

Let's start by internalizing the best practices of those who've achieved intermediate and lasting success so we can give ourselves the best chance of joining the lofty perch of those who have made something truly perennial and timeless. Let's be truly ambitious."   Perennial Seller

Or in Wendell Berry's words, we did "our real work":

“It may be that when we no longer know what to do,
we have come to our real work
and when we no longer know which way to go,
we have begun our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.”

― Wendell Berry, Our Real Work
Today's words of wisdom from Rumi:

“I said: what about my eyes?

He said: Keep them on the road.

I said: What about my passion?

He said: Keep it burning.

I said: What about my heart?

He said: Tell me what you hold inside it?

I said: Pain and sorrow.

He said: Stay with it. The wound is the place where the Light enters you.”

Nice work today writers. We showed up and did our job.

Today's words of wisdom (thank you Graham for the curation and reading):

“To speak out about the world as it is, says James Baldwin, is the writer’s job.”

"Writers are extremely important people in a country, whether or not the country knows it. The multiple truths about a people are revealed by that people’s artists - that is what the artists are for...

It seems to me that the truth about us, as individual men and women, and as a nation, has been, and is being recorded, whether we wish to read it or not. Perhaps we cannot read it now, but the day is coming when we will have nothing else to read. 

We are the generation that must throw everything into the endeavor to remake America into what we say we want it to be. Without this endeavor, we will perish. However immoral or subversive this may sound to some, it is the writer who must always remember that morality. If it is to remain or become morality, it must be perpetually examined, cracked, changed, made new...Not everything that is faced can be changed; but nothing can be changed until it is faced.”

James Baldwin

Via Anna, today's words of wisdom from Wendell Berry:

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

–Wendell Berry, The Peace of Wild Things

Today's words of wisdom via the one and only Maya Angelou:

“I’ve always had the feeling that life loves the liver of it. You must live and life will be good to you, 
give you experiences. They may not all be that pleasant, but nobody promised you a rose garden.
. But more than likely if you do dare, what you get are the marvelous returns. Courage is probably 
the most important of the virtues, because without courage you cannot practice any of the other
 virtues, you can’t say against a murderous society, I oppose your murdering. You got to have
 courage to do so. I seem to have known that a long time and found great joy in it.”

– Maya Angelou, 

Today's words of wisdom:

"Every single day, I get emails from aspiring writers asking my advice about how to become a writer, and here is the only advice I can give: Don’t make stuff because you want to make money — it will never make you enough money. And don’t make stuff because you want to get famous — because you will never feel famous enough. 

Make gifts for people — and work hard on making those gifts in the hope that those people will notice and like the gifts.

 Maybe they will notice how hard you worked, and maybe they won’t — and if they don’t notice, I know it’s frustrating. But, ultimately, that doesn’t change anything — because your responsibility is not to the people you’re making the gift for, but to the gift itself."

– John Green (author of the Fault in Our Stars)

Today's words of wisdom via lovely Mary Oliver:

I worried a lot. Will the garden grow, will the rivers
flow in the right direction, will the earth turn
as it was taught, and if not how shall
I correct it?

Was I right, was I wrong, will I be forgiven,
can I do better?

Will I ever be able to sing, even the sparrows
can do it and I am, well,

Is my eyesight fading or am I just imagining it,
am I going to get rheumatism,
lockjaw, dementia?

Finally I saw that worrying had come to nothing.
And gave it up. And took my old body
and went out into the morning,
and sang.

– Mary Oliver,
Thanks for writing with us today. Today's words of wisdom from Mary Oliver:

“If you suddenly and unexpectedly feel joy, don’t hesitate. Give in to it.
 There are plenty of lives and whole towns destroyed or about to be.
 We are not wise, and not very often kind. And much can never be redeemed. 
Still life has some possibility left. Perhaps this is its way of fighting back,
 that sometimes something happened better than all the riches or power in the world. 
It could be anything, but very likely you notice it in the instant when love begins.
 Anyway, that’s often the case. Anyway, whatever it is, don’t be afraid of its plenty. 
Joy is not made to be a crumb. 

– Mary Oliver, 

PS - Today's words of wisdom:

"We push and push - to get a raise, a new client, to prevent some exigency from happening.
 In fact, the best way to get what we want might be to reexamine the desires in the first place.
 Or it might be to sim for something else entirely and use the impediment as an opportunity to
 explore a new direction…

We wrongly assume that moving forward is the only way to progress, the only way we can win.

Sometimes, staying put, going sideways, or moving backward is actually the best way to eliminate
 what blocks or impedes your path. There is a certain humility required in the approach. It means 
accepting that the way you originally wanted to do things is not possible…We can use the things 
that block us to our advantage."

― Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle is the Way


  1. Replies
    1. Mimi thanks for reading the quotes. I hadn't meant to publish them. I was just making a personal collection for my own records.
      We get a quote every morning at The Writers Hour and if I like it I save it on my blog.


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