Fyodor Dostoevsky

December 19

We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken. —Fyodor Dostoevsky

Edna St. Vincent Millay

September 1

The world is mine: blue hill, still silver lake,
Broad field, bright flower, and the long white road
A gateless garden, and an open path:
My feet to follow, and my heart to hold.

—Edna St. Vincent Millay

Anaïs Nin

August 16

You must not fear, hold back, count or be a miser with your thoughts and feelings. It is also true that creation comes from an overflow, so you have to learn to intake, to imbibe, to nourish yourself and not be afraid of fullness. The fullness is like a tidal wave which then carries you, sweeps you into experience and into writing. Permit yourself to flow and overflow, allow for the rise in temperature, all the expansions and intensifications. Something is always born of excess: great art was born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibitions, instabilities, and it always balances them. If it seems to you that I move in a world of certitudes, you, par contre, must benefit from the great privilege of youth, which is that you move in a world of mysteries. But both must be ruled by faith. — Anaïs Nin

Rainer Maria Rilke

August 3

My loving friend, you see, my life was never given a foundation, no one was able to imagine what it would want to become. In Venice there stands the so-called Ca del Duca, a princely foundation, on which later the most wretched tenement came to be built. With me it’s the opposite: the beautiful arched elevations of my spirit rest on the most tentative beginning; a wooden scaffolding, a few boards…Is that why I feel inhibited in raising the nave, the tower to which the weight of the great bells is to be hoisted (by angels, who else could do it)?

—Rilke, writing to Magda von Hattingberg on February 8, 1914

Rainer Maria Rilke

July 13

You still don’t understand? Throw the emptiness in
your arms out into that space we breathe; maybe birds
will feel the air thinning as they fly deeper into themselves.

—Rainer Maria Rilke

Henry James, Uncategorized

July 4

We work in the dark—we do what we can—we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art. —Henry James

Rainer Maria Rilke

June 25

In this there is no measuring with time, a year doesn’t matter, and ten years are nothing. Being an artist means: not numbering and counting, but ripening like a tree, which doesn’t force its sap, and stands confidently in the storms of spring, not afraid that afterward summer may not come. It does come. But it comes only to those who are patient, who are there as if eternity lay before them, so unconcernedly silent and vast. I learn it every day of my life, learn it with pain I am grateful for: patience is everything! — Rainer Maria Rilke, April 3, 1903 (Letters to a Young Poet)


March 9

When I am silent, I have thunder hidden inside. – Rumi


January 21

It did not occur to Arthur that he should try to relieve her guilt or offer to share the blame. Nor did it occur to Eleanor that she had just repeated the mistake of all women since the beginning of time. She had not only forgiven a man his ways, but had taken responsibility for them as well. She closed her eyes and said goodbye to her female god. –  from The Proposition (1998)


December 11

They were careless people, Tom and Daisy — they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made… — F. Scott Fitzgerald

Rainer Maria Rilke, Uncategorized

December 4

I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don’t search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answers. — Rainer Maria Rilke, from Letters to a Young Poet (translation by Stephen Mitchell)
Woody Guthrie

December 2

I hate a song that makes you think that you are not any good. I hate a song that makes you think that you are just born to lose. Bound to lose. No good to nobody. No good for nothing. Because you are too old or too young or too fat or too slim or too ugly or too this or too that. Songs that run you down or poke fun at you on account of your bad luck or hard travelling. I am out to fight those songs to my very last breath of air and my last drop of blood. I am out to sing songs that will prove to you that this is your world and that if it has hit you pretty hard and knocked you for a dozen loops, no matter what color, what size you are, how you are built, I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself and in your work. And the songs that I sing are made up for the most part by all sorts of folks just about like you. —Woody Guthrie

Winston Churchill

November 12

All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope. —Winston Churchill


November 9

Some nights stay up till dawn,
as the moon sometimes does for the sun.
Be a full bucket pulled up the dark way
of a well, then lifted out into light.


A B Guthrie Jr

October 13

Wherever mountains are, there exist people to whom mountains are where life should be lived. To millions more they are a fascination, an exhilaration, a challenge, a solace; but when a man tries to state why, he finds himself using the impotent abstractions. Like magnificence. Like solitude. Like self-humility. Like freedom and beauty. Or he goes the other way and speaks for fresh air and fishing, of bighorn and bear. None of these suffices, and together they don’t explain. Maybe we can’t improve on the simple statement that mountains are mountains. — A. B. Guthrie, Jr.


September 8

An eye is meant to see things.
The soul is here for its own joy.

A head has one use: For loving a true love.
Feet: To chase after.

Love is for vanishing into the sky. The mind,
for learning what men have done and tried to do.

Mysteries are not to be solved: The eye goes blind
when it only wants to see why.

A lover is always accused of something.
But when he finds his love, whatever was lost
in the looking comes back completely changed.
— Rumi, Night and Sleep

Charles Frazier

September 5

She fit her head under his chin, and he could feel her weight settle into him. He held her tight and words spilled out of him without prior composition. And this time he made no effort to clamp them off. He told her about the first time he had looked on the back of her neck as she sat in the church pew. Of the feeling that had never let go of him since. He talked to her of the great waste of years between then and now. A long time gone. And it was pointless, he said, to think how those years could have been put to better use, for he could hardly have put them to worse. There was no recovering them now. You could grieve endlessly for the loss of time and the damage done therein. For the dead, and for your own lost self. But what the wisdom of the ages says is that we do well not to grieve on and on. And those old ones knew a thing or two and had some truth to tell, Inman said, for you can grieve your heart out and in the end you are still where you are. All your grief hasn’t changed a thing. What you have lost will not be returned to you. It will always be lost. You’re left with only your scars to mark the void. All you can choose to do is go on or not. But if you go on, it’s knowing you carry your scars with you. Nevertheless, over all those wasted years, he had held in his mind the wish to kiss her on the back of her neck, and now he had done it. There was a redemption of some kind, he believed, in such complete fulfillment of a desire so long deferred. — Charles Frazier, Cold Mountain

William Hecht

September 2

Within each artist there reside two souls. The first is the naked persona, the character and tribal actor of whatever rank and reputation.  This is the face and figure you accost and respond to: the creature of hunger and urges, the striving, surviving being, the rejoicing voice or the doleful visage, the proud or humble citizen of this party, an active member of that club, a husband, a wife, parent, sibling, friend. There is little to differentiate this aspect of the artist from another human; you would be hard put to single-out the artists from the throng of a crowded beach.

Yet among any collection of humans and residing within the artists there, is a second set of souls. Often cloaked and recondite, shielded and sheltered, harbored and nurtured, these are the creative essences, the muse-spirits that are stirred in the presence of beauty or invoked by the manifold names of art. They are borne across the world as if on currents of grace. These souls have as their mandate to find, capture, and render beauty to form, guarding it from time and blindness: they are as curators of things perfect; they are the wispy ranks of the true faithful, finding, framing and putting on display for all to see the clues to the divine, the evidence of God. — William Hecht

Andrew Wyeth

August 19

I prefer winter and fall, when you can feel the bone structure in the landscape—the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. — Andrew Wyeth

Pablo Neruda

June 10

…And that’s why i have to go back
to so many places
there to find myself
and constantly examine myself
with no witness but the moon
and then whistle with joy,
ambling over rocks and clods of earth,
with no task but to live,
with no family but the road.

— Pablo Neruda

Henry Frederic Amiel

May 4

Tell me what you feel in your room when the full moon is shining in upon you and your lamp is dying out, and I will tell you how old you are, and I shall know if you are happy. — Henri Frederic Amiel