"This is how I lived my life for years and years. I drifted through the day at the mercy of chance and happenstance. Whatever came along, I did it. And this was before texting and tweeting and FOMO. If you’re a writer or an artist, you can’t live like that. You have to run your day. You can’t let your day run you. You must roll out of bed each morning with an unshakeable focus and intention. Your novel, your start-up, your movie. That’s your day. That’s why you’re here. You can’t yield to distractions and temptations. You must be like the Blues Brothers. You’re on a mission from God."
"Hemingway knew the secret. I mean, he was a lush and a bad man in many ways, but he knew the secret. You get up and, first thing in the morning, you do your 500 words. Do it every day and you’ve got a book in eight or nine months."
"Depression is closely associated with obsessive thinking. Some of us alleviate our depression by channeling it into creativity. In the case of writers, this means turning an idea over and over, keeping it constantly in view—the metaphor that comes to mind is of a dog shaking a rug, tenaciously holding onto it and refusing to let go. We who write this way refuse to let an idea alone. Instead, through worrying over it, we find a way to make the ordinary into something new, something expressive of ourselves."
"A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein"
"Prayer of an Anonymous Abbess: Lord, thou knowest better than myself that I am growing older and will soon be old. Keep me from becoming too talkative, and especially from the unfortunate habit of thinking that I must say something on every subject and at every opportunity. Release me from the idea that I must straighten out other peoples’ affairs. With my immense treasure of experience and wisdom, it seems a pity not to let everybody partake of it. But thou knowest, Lord, that in the end I will need a few friends. Keep me from the recital of endless details; give me wings to get to the point. Grant me the patience to listen to the complaints of others; help me to endure them with charity. But seal my lips on my own aches and pains — they increase with the increasing years and my inclination to recount them is also increasing. I will not ask thee for improved memory, only for a little more humility and less self-assurance when my own memory doesn’t agree with that of others. Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be wrong. Keep me reasonably gentle. I do not have the ambition to become a saint — it is so hard to live with some of them — but a harsh old person is one of the devil’s masterpieces. Make me sympathetic without being sentimental, helpful but not bossy. Let me discover merits where I had not expected them, and talents in people whom I had not thought to possess any. And, Lord, give me the grace to tell them so. Amen"
"Poetry is a vocation. It is not a career but a calling. For as long as I can remember, I have associated that calling, my life’s work, with walking. I love the leisurely amplitude, the spaciousness, of taking a walk, of heading somewhere, anywhere, on foot. I love the sheer adventure of it, setting out and taking off. You cross a threshold and you’re on your way. Time is suspended. Writing poetry is such an intense experience that it helps to start the process in a casual or wayward frame of mind. Poetry is written from the body as well as the mind, and the rhythm and pace of a walk can get you going and keep you grounded. It’s a kind of light meditation. Daydreaming is one of the key sources of poetry — a poem often starts as a daydream that finds its way into language — and walking seems to bring a different sort of alertness, an associative kind of thinking, a drifting state of mind."
- Edward Hirsch, Walking with His Muse"
"I hate taking risks. I’m a worrier. But I do believe that taking small, managed risks outweighs the much greater risk of closing your eyes and hoping things work out the way they’re going."