Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. …(It)… is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

— Anne Lamott

(Thanks to Advice for Writers for this fine quotation.)


“By now there must be in the world a million guitar virtuosos; but there are very few real blues players. The reason for this is that the blues–not the form but the blues–demands such dedication. This dedication lies beyond technique; it makes being a blues player something like being a priest. Virtuosity in playing blues licks is like virtuosity in celebrating the Mass, it is empty, it means nothing. Skill–competence–is a necessity, but a true blues player’s virtue lies in his acceptance of his life, a life for which he is only partly responsible.”

Stanley Booth

(For more, go  here.)

… If the novelist is not sustained by a hope of money, then he must be sustained by a hope of salvation, or he simply won’t survive the ordeal. People without hope not only do not write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have an experience.

Flannery O’Connor

Or, for a salvation plea you can dance to, there’s this…

“Busy men find life very short… the part of life we really live is small.” — Seneca, “On the Shortness of Life

Seneca’s thinking in “Shortness”  is, of course, how to live well even given the limits of time,  that we so often forget passes quickly. His meditations are a useful pleasure on a holiday like today–take a few minutes, read some chewy Stoic-y goodness and then take his good advice as permission to live a less harassed life.

(And, if you get interested in Seneca, check out this article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.)