Saturday, December 31, 2011

Bookin' It in 2011

I read the following 15 books in 2011. The titles in bold were particularly influential, inspiring or interesting.
  1. Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller - Marshall Chapman
  2. Leavings - Wendell Berry
  3. Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain - Portia de Rossi
  4. Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination - Hugh MacLeod
  5. Don't Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit edited by Sonny Brewer
  6. Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and Its Consequences - Sarah Schulman
  7. The Abstinence Teacher - Tom Perrotta
  8. Love, Ellen: A Mother/Daughter Journey - Betty DeGeneres
  9. Transition: The Story of How I Became a Man - Chaz Bono
  10. Transparent - Don Lemon
  11. Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering - Meredith Baxter
  12. Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics – and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway - Frank Schaeffer
  13. Raw: A Poetic Journey edited by Aimee Maude Sims
  14. Truth Be Told: Off the Record About Favorite Guests, Memorable Moments, Funniest Jokes, and a Half Century of Asking Questions - Larry King
  15. Me - Ricky Martin

Friday, December 23, 2011

Larry King:

That's when you understand it.  When it's happening to you.

Truth Be Told, p. 137

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yashar Ali:

As far as I am concerned, the epidemic of gaslighting is part of the struggle against the obstacles of inequality that women constantly face.  Acts of gaslighting steal their most powerful tool: their voice.  This is something we do to women every day, in many different ways.

"A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy'"

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

When it came to honoring the Bible more than a God Who might have actually created the universe, Mom -- like all conservative religionists hiding behind their holy books -- seemed to ignore the inner witness of Beauty, Humor, Paradox, Complexity, Love, and most of all in terms of what makes us humans, memories of actual experiences.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 63

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

We've all been there.  You know you're capable of doing great things, being in "The Zone," but every external marker out there indicates otherwise -- that you'll never get to do the "life's best work" that you're capable of.  That your career will be nothing but drudgery and abuse in exchange for what seems an increasingly meager paycheck.

Yeah, it's a painful place to be.  But it doesn't last forever, not if you don't give up.  Not if you don't succumb to all the overpriced, treadmill-type external markers of success -- fancy houses, cars, schools, vacations, and "stuff" that you can't really afford, that you don't really need nearly as much as the guy in the next cubicle says that you do.

This is it.

Fight like hell.

Evil Plans, p. 141

Monday, December 19, 2011

Larry King:

My motto is: I've never learned anything while I was talking.

Truth Be Told, p. 130

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Silence is the greatest reward a perpetrator can receive, whether the perpetrator is a family, a government, a publishing company, or an individual.

Ties That Bind, p. 170-171

Friday, December 16, 2011

Louie Armstrong:

I don't know what I do.  I just know that I do it.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Larry King:

I was the facilitator.  That's the job.  To get the guest to open up so he or she can hit a home run.  That's what a lot of people in broadcasting don't understand these days.

Truth Be Told, p. 109

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Yashar Ali:

When these women receive any sort of push back to their reactions, they often brush it off by saying, "Forget it, it's okay."  That "forget it" isn't just about dismissing a thought, it is about self-dismissal.  It's heartbreaking.  No wonder some women are unconsciously passive aggressive when expressing anger, sadness, or frustration.  For years, they have been subjected to so much gaslighting that they can no longer express themselves in a way that feels authentic to them.

"A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy'"

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

If professional Christians earn their living and derive their meaning from their roles as religious leaders -- not to mention enjoy their power over other people -- then they have all the more motivation to deny their doubts (and their bodies and perhaps their sexual orientation) and to call for others to conform to their beliefs.  But note I say "conform to their beliefs" rather than conform to their example.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 67

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Ergo, the haters are a sign that you're doing something right.  So you probably want to get other people to hate you eventually -- that is, the right kind of people.  In some ways, they might actually end up helping you define your mission to others, more than the people who actually love you.

Evil Plans, p. 117

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Larry King:

I don't amass companies or properties.  But in a way, I guess you could say I do acquire.  I acquire people.  The joy in my life is meeting somebody interesting every day.

Truth Be Told, p. 35

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Abraham Lincoln:

To sin by silence when they should protest makes cowards of men.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Yashar Ali:

It's a whole lot easier to emotionally manipulate someone who has been conditioned by our society to accept it.  We continue to burden women because they don't refuse our burdens as easily.  It's the ultimate cowardice.

"A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy'"

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

As modernity has threatened the belief system of conservative Christians, their resentment has grown into alienation.  Rather than rethink their beliefs, many Christian leaders seem hell-bent on forcing the world to conform to their fears.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 66-67

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Steve Jobs:

Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Mahatma Gandhi:

A coward is incapable of exhibiting love; it is the prerogative of the brave.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lucius Annaeus Seneca:

It is not that we have a short time to live, but that we waste a lot of it.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Larry King:

I've always been more fascinated by the singer than the song.  So my curiosity lies in the billionaire -- not the billions.

Truth Be Told, p. 31

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Telling victims that their abuser is wrong does not help anything.  You have to tell the abuser herself.

Ties That Bind, p. 170

Friday, December 2, 2011

Yashar Ali:

Even vocal, confident, assertive women are vulnerable to gaslighting.  Why?  Because women bare the brunt of our neurosis.  It is much easier for us to place our emotional burdens on the shoulders of our wives, our female friends, our girlfriends, our female employees, our female colleagues, than for us to impose them on the shoulders of men.

"A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy'"

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

Many religious fundamentalists feel under siege by the secular world and harbor a deeply paranoid sense of victimhood.  I think of those who turn their sense of victimhood into material and political success and their claims of persecution into strategies of achieving power as Jesus Victims.  I don't mean they are victims of Jesus; rather, they claim to be victims for the sake of Jesus, accruing power through the rhetoric of sacrifice and persecution and grasping at conspiracy theories about how the nefarious "World" and all "Those Liberals" are out to do them in.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 33

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Steve Jobs:

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma -- which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bruxy Cavey:

When sinful, broken, hurting people are pleasantly surprised at how accepting we are, and religious people are outraged at how accepting we are, there's a good chance we're starting to live like Jesus.

The End of Religion

Monday, November 28, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

All great marketing breakthroughs are evolutions of language.

Evil Plans, p. 99

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Human beings have the profound duty to intervene when someone else is being victimized, especially if that person asks them to.

Ties That Bind, p. 170

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr.:

The church at times has preserved that which is immoral and unethical.  Called to combat social evils, it has remained silent behind stained-glass windows....  How often the church has been an echo rather than a voice, a taillight behind the Supreme Court rather than a headlight guiding men progressively and decisively to higher levels of understanding.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Yashar Ali:

Those who engage in gaslighting create a reaction -- whether it's anger, frustration, sadness -- in the person they are dealing with. Then, when that person reacts, the gaslighter makes them feel uncomfortable and insecure by behaving as if their feelings aren't rational or normal.

"A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy'"

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

Believing in invisible things breeds an inferiority complex among people competing with science for hearts and minds.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 33

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Barbra Streisand:

A man is commanding, a woman is demanding.  A man is forceful, a woman is pushy.  A man is a perfectionist, a woman is a pain in the ass.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

How do you get your stuff on the radar screen of "The Twenty"?  By creating brilliant stuff.  By creating brilliant stuff that "speaks" to the market in a way it has never been spoken to before.  If your stuff is different enough that it changes "the conversation" of your market for the better, other folk will notice, even the Big Boys.  "Improve the conversation by improving the language." 

Evil Plans, p. 99

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tonetta Landis:

Accept the reality that all oppression is connected and all forms of injustice reinforce one another.

From "Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian's Guide to More Than Survival"

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Does anyone ever refuse to consider a manuscript because they have too many heterosexual books in the pipeline?

Ties That Bind, p. 162

Friday, November 18, 2011

Erskine Caldwell:

I think you must remember that a writer is a simple-minded person to begin with and go on that basis.  He's not a great mind, he's not a great thinker, he's not a great philosopher, he's a storyteller.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Yashar Ali:

A remark intended to shut you down like, "Calm down, you're overreacting," after you just addressed someone else's bad behavior, is emotional manipulation, pure and simple.

"A Message to Women From a Man: You Are Not 'Crazy'"

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

I wasted ten years or so of my life chasing "success" in Evangelical and other right-wing circles.  Other than collecting material for future novels (and memoirs), I regret every moment I spent selling myths to the deluded, or I should say that I regret selling myths to myself and then passing them on to people as deluded as I was.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 30

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ellen DeGeneres:

I think I’m just very real, and people sense that. They know everything about me. This is a platform that’s probably more powerful than politics, and I think if you have a loud voice, you should use it for good.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

So where does your product or service or art fit into other people's narrative?  How does telling your story become a survival tool for other people?

Evil Plans, p. 46

Sunday, November 13, 2011

David Cameron:

I once stood before a conservative conference and said it shouldn’t matter whether commitment was between a man and a woman, a woman and a woman, or a man and another man ... Five years on, we’re consulting on legalizing gay marriage. And to anyone who has reservations, I say: Yes, it’s about equality, but it’s also about something else: commitment. Conservatives believe in the ties that bind us; that society is stronger when we make vows to each other and support each other.  So I don’t support gay marriage despite being a conservative. I support gay marriage because I’m a conservative.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

What's fascinating about shunning is that people are so distorted by their own sense of supremacy that they actually believe that you will and should follow their command of silence.

Ties That Bind, p. 151

Friday, November 11, 2011

Annie Dillard:

Assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients.  That is, after all, the case....  What could you say to a dying person that would not enrage by its triviality?

The Writing Life

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not Just Another BS Night in Music City

I plan to attend poet/memoirist Nick Flynn's reading at Vanderbilt University this evening.  Flynn has authored a number of books, including Another Bullshit Night in Suck City and several poetry collections.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

Since the children of professional Christians are raised in what amounts to cocoons and echo chambers, they are often -- literally -- unequipped to do anything except carry on the family business.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 30

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Martha Graham:

No artist is pleased.  There is no satisfaction whatever at any time.  There is only a queer, divine dissatisfaction; a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

My last words will be "thank you."

Evil Plans, p. 175

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tonetta Landis:

Be indivisible.  Your Christian world will insist that you cannot be gay.  Your gay world will view you with suspicion because you are a Christian.  You will feel the pulling in your chest.  When this happens, keep in mind that for any part of you to survive authentically, all of you must survive relentlessly.

From "Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian's Guide to More Than Survival"

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Truthful lesbian representations teach straight people, through some trickle down theory, to be kinder to gay people.

Ties That Bind, p. 139

Friday, November 4, 2011

Annie Dillard:

One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time.  Do not hoard what seems good for a later place....  Something more will arise for later, something better.

The Writing Life

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Steve Jobs:

I have a great respect for incremental improvement, and I've done that sort of thing in my life, but I've always been attracted to the more revolutionary changes. I don't know why. Because they're harder. They're much more stressful emotionally. And you usually go through a period where everybody tells you that you've completely failed.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

The  Evangelical ghetto is a network of personality cults operating, as far as nepotistic leadership and succession goes, something like North Korea.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 29

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Martha Graham:

There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique.  If you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost.  The world will not have it.  It is not your business to determine how good it is; nor how valuable it is; nor how it compares with other expressions.  It is your business to keep it yours, clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.  You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work.  You have to keep open and aware directly of the urges that motivate you.  Keep the channel open.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

I'm not the world's most talented person at what I do.  Neither are you.  That doesn't make the gifts we have any less valid.

Evil Plans, p. 174

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Tonetta Landis:

Remember Essex [Hemphill].  Refuse to die by your own hands.  Celebrate that you have made it here without being completely broken.  Celebrate this with champagne.  Acknowledge that you need others critically.  Become powerful through laughter and vulnerability and kisses.

From "Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian's Guide to More Than Survival"

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

When people refuse to discuss why they are shunning you, when they give no reason and have no terms of reconciliation, it is because to actually talk about it would be to reveal their own behavior.  And their power lies in the ability to command silence about their own behavior.  They can only pretend to be neutral if the mechanics of the moment are not discussed.  Once sequence and substance are laid out starkly, their responsibility is revealed.  Hence, no conversation.

Ties That Bind, p. 122-123

Friday, October 28, 2011

Eric Fromm:

The person who gives up his individual self and becomes an automaton, identical with millions of other automatons around him, need not feel alone and anxious any more. But the price he pays, however, is high; it is the loss of his self.

Escape from Freedom

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Steve Jobs:

For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "no" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

Sacrificing-For-The-Lord was a pride-filled way of life.  No owner of a new home, car, or yacht was ever prouder of his or her venal material possessions than we Schaeffers were of not achieving our fondest dreams.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 25

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

I never hated a job because of what it took from me -- all jobs take a lot from you, especially the best ones.  I hated a job because it never allowed me to give enough to the world.

Evil Plans, p. 174

Monday, October 24, 2011

June Jordan:

Consequently, most of us really exist at the mercy of other people's formulations of what's important.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Tonetta Landis:

Consider that some things are more important than stain-glassed certainty.  Like humility.  Like bent knees.  Like a beckoning to do more than survive.  Like a beckoning to embrace mystery and to become fertile ground.

From "Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian's Guide to More Than Survival"

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

People who have acted fairly have nothing to hide and therefore don't.

Ties That Bind, p. 114

Friday, October 21, 2011

Aldous Huxley:

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Steve Jobs:

Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn't really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That's because they were able to connect experiences they've had and synthesize new things.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Frank Schaeffer:

When she wrote [The Tale of Two Bad Mice] in 1904, [Beatrix] Potter couldn't have known that her classic story would someday be an allegory aptly illustrating the delusion suffered by members of the American Religious Right.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. x

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

You were given a gift by the Creator, God, the Universe...Whatever.  Until you have returned the favor, life will have a certain, feckless emptiness to it.

Evil Plans, p. 173

Monday, October 17, 2011

June Jordan:

We need, each of us, to begin the awesome, difficult work of love: loving ourselves so that we become able to love others without fear so that we can become able enough to enlarge the circle of our trust and our common striving for a safe, sunny afternoon near to flowering trees and under a very blue sky.

"A Powerful Hatred"

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

The state trusts the homophobes whom they have long rewarded, and the state mistrusts the gay people whom they have long abused.

Ties That Bind, p. 114

Friday, October 14, 2011

Audre Lorde:

That you can't change City Hall is a rumor being spread by City Hall.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Steve Jobs:

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Lily Tomlin:

Forgiveness means giving up all hope for a better past.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Love doesn't HAVE a purpose.  LOVE IS PURPOSE.

Evil Plans, p. 172

Monday, October 10, 2011

June Jordan:

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

From "Poem for South African Women"

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Tonetta Landis:

The call is to be fully alive.  To be awake.  To be honest.  It is to spend all of yourself extravagantly.

From "Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian's Guide to More Than Survival"

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

People who want to pretend that they do not have responsibility to others try to refuse the information that would make them conscious of this responsibility.
Ties That Bind, p. 108

Friday, October 7, 2011

Thomas Merton:

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?  This is the most important of all voyages of discovery.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Steve Jobs:

Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.  They somehow already know what you truly want to become.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

C. S. Lewis:

My own eyes are not enough for me; I will see through those of others.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle, may have a million times more money than me, but he isn't going to live a million times longer than me, watch a million times more sunsets than me, make love to a million times more women than me, drink a million times more fine wines than me, listen to a million times more Beethoven string quartets than me, or have a million times more grandchildren than me.  Human beings don't scale.

Evil Plans, p. 171

Monday, October 3, 2011

Jonathan Safran Foer:

I think music is probably the most directly impactful art form.  I mean, it's the one that, within three minutes, you can find yourself screaming at the top of your lungs and banging your fists.  And a novel never does that.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Tonetta Landis:

Conspire to create a dangerously inclusive life.

From "Battle Hymn: A Queer Christian's Guide to More Than Survival"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Let's face it, people think that the system works if it works for them.

Ties That Bind, p. 136

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wendy Gritter:

Conversation isn't research (at least not first and foremost).  Conversation is about relating, it is about seeing one another's humanity, listening with a commitment to be fully present.  It is connecting to our creativity in opening our minds (where we exercise our intellectual capacity), our souls (the seat of our emotions) and our spirit (where we hear the voice of God).

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Thomas Jefferson:

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion.  Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

John Shore:

It's typical to think that theology is static and permanent.  It's not, though.  What's true instead is that theology follows sociology.  And slowly but surely we are all becoming members of one big society.  At the very least media generally, and the Internet in particular, has made world travelers, and culture tourists, of us all.

The world is rapidly changing.  And as surely as one day follows the next, Christian theology, as it always has (slavery, anyone?) will change right along with it.  As our world grows smaller, our Christianity will grow larger, broader, and more inclusive.

"The Inevitability of the Rise of Liberal Christianity"

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

A waker reminds you on a constant basis just how alive you really are ... And there's something about their influence that makes you utterly unable to go back to "sleep" ever again, despite your best efforts.

Evil Plans, p. 168

Monday, September 26, 2011

Billy Collins:

Poetry doesn't need to keep up with the news; poetry is the news.  And the news is very simple: Life is beautiful and you are going to die.  Read all about it!

In Conversation with Billy Collins

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Rob Tisinai:

The real problem, I think, is that adults are confused. We can add same-sex marriage to the list of things that kids understand easily but many adults do not:  iPods, P2P file sharing, Justin Beiber. But while those grown-ups have to admit iPods do in fact exist, many of them deny same-sex marriage — or even romantic love — can ever happen. So of course kids who find it perfectly natural must be awfully mixed up.

"Confused Adults Find Children Confusing"

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

To blame the distress and pain of the gay family member for the infliction of that pain is like blaming someone for ruining your furniture when in fact they bled all over it because you shot them.

Ties That Bind, p. 72

Friday, September 23, 2011

Wendy Gritter:

In my experience, quick reactions just don't make for good bridge-building as they inevitably carry more opinion than reflection.

"'Pray Away the Gay?' a lesson in talking past one another....."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Maya Angelou:

People do what they know to do -- not what you think they should know.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

John Shore:

I refuse to relinquish the name "Christian" to people who can't tell the message of Christ from the sound of their own farts.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

A waker is someone who is very good at waking other people up from their metaphorical slumber, temporary or otherwise ... Being around them or their work just makes you feel more alive, more inspired, more motivated, more awake.

Evil Plans, p. 168

Monday, September 19, 2011

Billy Collins:

I think there is in America a huge, mostly untapped audience for poetry.  Most people don't read poetry because they don't know what poetry is.  Since many of them have had zero contact with poetry since they left school, they have to make up reasons why they don't read it.

"In Conversation with Billy Collins"

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Rob Tisinai:

A while back, Bill Clinton said something wonderful about America: “People the world over have always been more impressed by the power of our example than by the example of our power.” That applies to gay people, too. The most devastating argument in the world is trivial next to our simple, open, matter-of-fact presence.

"Confused Adults Find Children Confusing"

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Frankly, I often find that the myth of the angry lesbian/ angry woman/ angry black man is really the rage of the dominant culture person at being asked to look at themselves.

Ties That Bind, p. 53

Friday, September 16, 2011

Billy at Vandy

I look forward to witnessing 2001-2003 Poet Laureate Billy Collins read his poetry tonight at Vanderbilt University.

Philip Roth:

And there's far less vindictiveness than is imagined on the part of the writer who writes about somebody's secret than just this sort of stupid, childish awe of the human fact of it.  So, it isn't so much that one is pious about one's self or pious about being a writer and say, "Well, I have to be honest."  It's not that at all.  It's you're hypnotized, you're mesmerized, you're fascinated by the thing in itself and you want to present it.

NPR's Fresh Air, May 8, 2000

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Sally Field:

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

"Death by Stuff" is really no way to live.

Evil Plans, p. 161

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Sister Lisa Bertolini:

Carrying the light of Jesus should not look like a mob with torches and pitchforks.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Don Lemon:

After all, my life experiences have now taught me there's a bigot in every neighborhood.  Sometimes you fight them with your fists, but mostly you fight them with your grace, your intelligence and your wit.  You fight them by acknowledging them to be the scared little children they are.

Transparent, p. 219

Sunday, September 11, 2011

John Shore:

That shame—the great, burning inner shame that every gay and lesbian person is forced to overcome if he or she is ever to claim for themselves the same righteous pride of self that straight people so easily accept as their birthright—should be the shame of everyone who is not today working toward full LGBT acceptance and affirmation. And that holds especially true for Christians, who for far too long have used the Good News of the Gospels to bring nothing but terrible news to homosexuals, who, just like them, want nothing more, and nothing less, than to be loved for who they are.

"Republican Politician Caught with His Gay Pants Down: Whose Shame Is It?"

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

To pretend that straight people can keep all their advantages while gay people can be allowed to access them is preposterous ... As history has shown us, when black people can sit in the front of the bus, more white people have to stand.  When jobs open up for women, they become more competitive for men.

Ties That Bind, p. 52

Friday, September 9, 2011

Philip Roth:

There's an awful lot of stupid, childish awe in writers.  People may think that you're trying to reveal their secrets.  You're sort of dumbstruck by their secrets and by your own, of course, too.

NPR's Fresh Air, May 8, 2000

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

The world will ALWAYS conspire to make you less than you decide what you're going to do about it, then act.

Evil Plans, p. 158

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

St. Thomas Aquinas:

The truth of our faith becomes a matter of ridicule among the infidels if any Christian, not gifted with the necessary scientific learning, presents as dogma what scientific scrutiny shows to be false.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Don Lemon:

I'm not sure you can really learn to interview.  I think much of it is innate, or comes with learning to be confident enough to shut up and let the silence fall between you and the subject.

Transparent, p. 198

Monday, September 5, 2011

Theodore Roosevelt:

I am a part of everything that I have read.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meredith Baxter:

I may be the only lesbian you know (although this is quite doubtful) and I am here to dispel, if only to a small degree, whatever fears, misunderstandings, and apprehensions you might have about the threat of a homosexual agenda.  (That idea is amusing.  The only agenda I know of is...leave us alone; don't make choices for us that we wouldn't make for you.)

Untied, p. 282

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Similarly, gay people will never have a full and fair place in the family structure until straight people have less currency, less entitlement, and less power than they currently hold.

Ties That Bind, p. 52

Friday, September 2, 2011

Philip Roth:

There's no novelist worth his or her salt who isn't fascinated by the real and whose job is founded and grounded in this fascination with the real thing.

NPR's Fresh Air, May 8, 2000

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Interesting destinies rarely come from just reading the instruction manual.

Evil Plans, p. 157

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

If we all focused on being grateful for every day and looking for the good in everything and everyone around us, much of our hate and bigotry and fear would fall away.

Love, Ellen, p. 364

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Don Lemon:

Whatever your religion, though, if your idea is to wipe someone out, I'm betting you're going against God every time.  If that's the way it is, if we're all going to wipe out everyone who doesn't believe the same exact things we do, well, that's it for us.  We're talking about the end of the world because we're not ever going to all believe the exact same thing.

Transparent, p. 196

Monday, August 29, 2011

Carl Jung:

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Meredith Baxter:

Whenever anyone comes out, prominent or not, it lays the groundwork for social change and acceptance.

Untied, p. 282

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Oppressed people, people unfairly excluded from full participation, cannot have their rightful place until the people who exclude them experience a diminishment of their own access and power.

Ties That Bind, p. 51

Friday, August 26, 2011

Anthony Trollope:

Never think you're not good enough.  A person should never think that.  People will take you very much at your own reckoning.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Austin Kleon:

What makes you interesting isn't just what you've experienced, but also what you haven't experienced.  The same is true when you make art: you must embrace your limitations and keep moving.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Paul Monette:

Go without hate, but not without rage.  Heal the world.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

The best way to get approval is not to need it.

Evil Plans, p. 153

Monday, August 22, 2011

Don Lemon:

Allowing a political affiliation to completely define who you are and what you believe is too simple for me.  It's like wearing only one suit, which is something I couldn't image ever doing as long as I had a choice.

Transparent, p. 172-173

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

Above all, I've learned that there's nothing so important and so wanted as a parent's love.

Love, Ellen, p. 344

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

If a critical mass of straight people withdraw from discriminatory social institutions until they are available to gay people, those institutions will cease to have social currency.

Ties That Bind, p. 49

Friday, August 19, 2011

Czesław Miłosz:

When a writer is born into a family, the family is finished.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Austin Kleon:

Art is all about the slow accumulation over time.  Writing a page one day doesn't seem like much.  Do it for 365 days and you have a big novel.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Meredith Baxter:

A woman was talking about our parents as wells and that we were wired to go to our parent-wells for nurturing and sustenance.  Many of us found our parent-wells were empty, but they weren't empty at us.  They were just empty.

Untied, p. 251

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Every time I tried acting normal it gave me the feeling that I was being poisoned...

Evil Plans, p. 146

Monday, August 15, 2011

Don Lemon:

Whether it's coming from a white person or a black one, black box thinking is reductionist at best.  They're reducing the person, in this case, me, down to their own preconceived notions about what he must believe without giving him a chance to show his individuality.

Transparent, p. 171-172

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

The key to building a bridge to acceptance by heterosexuals is coming out.  As people begin to realize that acquaintances, coworkers, service people, and professionals they already know and like happen to be gay or lesbian, their ignorance and fear will vanish, as it should.

Love, Ellen, p. 341

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

What is most difficult to face, but increasingly obvious as gay visibility provokes containment, but not equality, is that homophobes enjoy feeling superior, rely on the pleasure of enacting their superiority, and go out of their way to resist change that would deflate their sense of supremacy.  Homophobia makes heterosexuals feel better about themselves.

Ties That Bind, p. 47

Friday, August 12, 2011

Thomas Wolfe:

My purpose as a writer is to loot my life to the very walls.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

The Bible is perfection crammed into imperfect language, the otherworldly expressed in worldly ways, holiness written down by unholy hands, read by unholy eyes, and processed by unholy brains.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 189

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Death is what gives life its edge.

Evil Plans, p. 139

Monday, August 8, 2011

Don Lemon:

Journalists, whether they are holding cameras or notepads, help people give voice to what they are experiencing.

Transparent, p. 155

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

I've heard it said that with the word "heterosexual" the accent is on "hetero" and with the word "homosexual" the accent is on "sexual."

Love, Ellen, p. 333

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

...the system of supremacy into which straight people are inaugurated is so persuasive, so dominant in its invisibility, and therefore unidentifiable, that parents and siblings and other relatives are often not individual enough to transcend its inherent cruelties.

Ties That Bind, p. 44

Friday, August 5, 2011

Nicholas Lore:

It takes courage to be the author of your life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Austin Kleon:

The thing is: art takes a lot of energy to make.  You don't have that energy if you waste it on other stuff.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

The Bible has been, and probably always will be, a relentless, magnetic force that both drives me away from my faith and continuously calls me home.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 189

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Your average product might be useful, offer good value, and all that market-friendly stuff, but the best Evil Plan offers something much more for people -- a chance to buy into an idea that matters, and share it with people who matter to them.

Evil Plans, p. 127

Monday, August 1, 2011

Don Lemon:

Much as some would like us to believe differently, there really isn't any "us" and "them" in this world.  We're all "us" with the same basic fears and hopes.

Transparent, p. 153

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

When you learn that someone you know is homosexual, you don't know anything about his or her sexual practices.

Love, Ellen, p. 332

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

If we really believe that homophobia is wrong, we must act that way.

Ties That Bind, p. 40

Friday, July 29, 2011


I don't doubt God.  I have firm faith absolutely in God.  It's religion I'm doubting.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Austin Kleon:

Find  people on the Internet who love the same things as you and connect with them.  Share things with them.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

When we cling to our beliefs as children cling to their favorite toys, it is hard for Jesus to take us by the hand and lead us somewhere new.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 155

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Social and personal identity involves a lot of sharing what matters to you most, with those who matter to you most.  We're primates.  We're social.  That's what we do.

Evil Plans, p. 126

Monday, July 25, 2011

Don Lemon:

Sometimes, it's hard to give up something good and take a chance on something better...

Transparent, p. 113

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

Religion should never be an excuse not to love.

Love, Ellen, p. 321

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Most people do what they're told, so tell them something different.  Change the social standard of how gay people are supposed to be treated and most people will change their behavior to follow.

Ties That Bind, p. 40

Friday, July 22, 2011

Barb Johnson:

So, except for the sawdust and heavy lifting, carpentry and writing are practically the same thing.  In addition to a good lie, there's a lot of engineering and architecture in both.  And a consideration for beauty.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 157

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Austin Kleon:

The best way to vanquish your enemies on the Internet?  Ignore them.  The best way to make friends on the Internet?  Say nice things about them.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

The more committed we are to certain theological absolutes, the more likely we are to discount the work of the Spirit when it doesn't conform to our presuppositions.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 155

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Getting a lot of people to hate you is easy -- all you have to do is become really successful at doing something you love.

Evil Plans, p. 118

Monday, July 18, 2011

Don Lemon:

In the end, secrets hurt me far more than they protected me.  My "secrets" have fooled no one, and in the end did me more harm than good.

Transparent, p. 83

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

Wouldn't it be better if the inordinate energy and money spent by right-wing religious extremists to rant about what others do in the privacy of their own homes could be spent in causes that are actually family-friendly?

Love, Ellen, p. 320

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

I believe in, am committed to, and am working toward a cultural agreement that homophobia is a social pathology and that society's best interest is served by any program or practice that mitigates homophobia.  The family is the best place to start because the family is where people first learn its power.  That is why the commitment to eradicating homophobia must begin with the family.

Ties That Bind, p. 26-27

Friday, July 15, 2011

Silas House:

Early on in my writing education, I was told by the great writer James Still that the best thing a writer could do was to "discover something new every day."

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 133

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Austin Kleon:

I'd say that 90% of my mentors and peers don't live in Austin, Texas.  They live on the Internet.  Which is to say, most of my thinking and talking and art-related fellowship is online.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

To be wrong about God is the condition of humanity, for better or for worse.  Sometimes it lures us into questioning God; sometimes it summons us to give him another chance. 

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 119

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

One thing that causes far too much of the proverbial "quiet desperation" in modern society is the relentless pursuit of "having it all."

Evil Plans, p. 107

Monday, July 11, 2011

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

It is not the end of the physical body that should worry us.  Rather, our concern must be to live while we're alive -- to release our inner selves from the spiritual death that comes with living behind a facade designed to conform to external definitions of who and what we are.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

Since many dysfunctional, abusive households have a mother and a father present, it's clear that being heterosexual is not necessarily a qualification for being a good parent.

Love, Ellen, p. 314

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

The reason that the existence of homophobia and the practice of homophobes are able to render good, honest, caring, productive, dignified people as pathological is because homophobia itself is the pathology.

Ties That Bind, p. 26

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mickey Maudlin:

As a young evangelical, I was socialized to see the biggest threat to the church as theological liberalism. But now I think the biggest threat is Christian tribalism, where God’s interests are reduced to and measured by those sharing your history, tradition, and beliefs, and where one needs an “enemy” in order for you to feel “right with God.”

News & Pews, "Rob Bell's Hell"

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Larry Brown:

I wasted a lot of time writing about things I didn't know anything about, instead of using my natural home and the landscape that creates the lives that are lived here, and the characters who live in my fiction ... You don't know when you start out that there's plenty of life around you, no matter where you live.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 55

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Austin Kleon:

People love it when you give your secrets away, and sometimes, if you're smart about it, they'll reward you by buying the things you're selling.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

The second theme that emerged while reading the Gospels is that, if Jesus is God, then God has not forgotten the downtrodden and oppressed of this world.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 104

Monday, July 4, 2011


Woe to the makers of literal translations, who by rendering every word weaken the meaning!  It is indeed by so doing that we can say the letter kills and the spirit gives life.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

Love can transform ignorance to understanding and rejection to acceptance.

Love, Ellen, p. 297

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

To oppose gay rights sixty years ago, when there was no visible movement, was a very different action than opposing us today.  Knowing gay people, seeing our wish for justice, and saying "No" is a lot meaner than refusing something vague and theoretical.

Ties That Bind, p. 5

Friday, July 1, 2011

Colum McCann:

What is therapy but a form of storytelling?  Storytelling is the great democracy.  We all want to -- need to -- tell our stories.  There is a certain catharsis in being able to tell your story, in confronting your demons.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Rainer Maria Rilke:

Have patience with everything that remains unsolved in your heart.  Try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books written in a foreign language.  Do not now look for the answers.  They cannot now be given to you because you could not live them.  It is a question of experiencing everything.  At present you need to live the question.  Perhaps you will gradually, without even noticing it, find yourself experiencing the answer, some distant day.

Letters to a Young Poet

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Austin Kleon:

Artists aren't magicians.  There's no penalty for revealing your secrets.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

You can only live life to the full in the moment.  The past and the present are distractions.

Evil Plans, p. 120

Monday, June 27, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

If there's one thing I know for sure, it's that serious doubt -- the kind that leads to despair -- begins not when we start asking God questions but when, out of fear, we stop.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 226

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

We have an idea that everybody else is "normal," and we keep our concerns secret, in the hope that we can pretend them away.  When we finally admit them, it turns out that a lot of other people have the same secrets.  In the end, nobody is normal -- or at least nobody is your idea of "normal."

Love, Ellen, p. 103

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

In order for us to come to a cultural agreement that homophobia within the family is wrong, we need one basic shared assumption: homophobia is not the fault of gay people.  Homophobia is not caused by gay people.  There is nothing that a gay person can ever do to justify it.  Homophobia is a pathological manifestation of heterosexual culture.  As a pure prejudice, it is wrong and as social currency within and outside of the family, it is despicable.

Ties That Bind, p. 23

Friday, June 24, 2011

Ray Charles:

I was born with music inside me.  Music was one of my parts.  Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart.  Like my blood.  It was a force already within me when I arrived on the scene.  It was a necessity for food or water.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Michelle Richmond:

(The Sunday lunch crowd in the Deep South has surely done more to tarnish the reputation of fundamentalist Christians than Ted Haggard and Jim Bakker combined.)

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 179

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Austin Kleon:

One of the things I've learned as an artist is that the more open you are about sharing your passions, the more people love your art.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Life is too short not to do something that matters.

Evil Plans, p. 105

Monday, June 20, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

Those who say that having childlike faith means not asking questions haven't met too many children.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 225

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

The great irony of the pretense of normality is that it is so commonplace.

Love, Ellen, p. 103

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Not thinking is one of their privileges.  After all, in every system of domination, the dominant group knows only about themselves, while the members of the subordinate group know about their own lives as well as the lives of the dominant group members.  So, those with the most power have the least information about how other people live.  If straight people were forced to think about and be accountable for their behavior toward us, they would have to justify their actions.  And that would be pretty hard to do.

Ties That Bind, p. 22-23

Friday, June 17, 2011

Walt Whitman:

... re-examine all you have been told at school or church or in any book, dismiss whatever insults your own soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem ...

Leaves of Grass, Preface

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Larry Brown:

I've seen that distant dream come true, a book with my name on it.  It hasn't been easy and I doubt if it ever will be.  I don't think it was meant to be easy.  I think that from the first it was meant to be hard for the few people who came along and wanted to write it, because the standards are so high and the rewards so great, in my case, making readers look into the hearts of the people I've chosen to write about.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 57

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Austin Kleon:

Step 1: Wonder at something.  Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

What's far more interesting is not what we create, but how we create it, why we create it.

Evil Plans, p. 105

Monday, June 13, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

Our best answers in defense of Christianity have always been useless clanging symbols unless our lives have inspired the world to ask.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 223

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Betty DeGeneres:

Of course, at the time when I was growing up, gays and lesbians were in the closet so much that I had no idea they even existed until I went off to college.  And even then, my exposure was limited to innuendo and rumor.  So although I was not predisposed to be prejudiced, I was totally ignorant.

Love, Ellen, p. 29

Sunday, May 29, 2011

John Shore:

I think keeping the afterlife a complete mystery is God’s way of telling us to pay maximum attention to the life we have on this side of the door. That the ever-fluid now of our life is where the action is. As clearly as he possibly can, I think he’s telling us to with full and focused consciousness be in our lives. To love our lives. To believe in our lives. To trust that within every single moment of our lives is virtually everything that we could ever want to know.

"Is Hell Real? What Are We, Six?"

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Let's face it -- most people are average and cannot conceptualize beyond what has already been articulated, especially if it is an official point of view.

Ties That Bind, p. 20

Friday, May 27, 2011

Michelle Richmond:

What writer hasn't imagined the moment of recognition, when the impersonal sentences on the page begin to clarify, to coalesce, and the reader looks inside the story and sees himself?

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 184

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Gustave Flaubert:

Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

In their own way, all artists are entrepreneurs, and all entrepreneurs are artists.

Evil Plans, p. 104

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

Most of the people I've encountered are looking not for a religion to answer all their questions but for a community of faith in which they can feel safe asking them.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 222

Monday, May 23, 2011

Austin Kleon:

If there was a secret formula for getting an audience, or gaining a following, I would give it to you.  But there's only one not-so-secret formula that I know: "Do good work and put it where people can see it."

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Many of my students find analysis and critical thinking to be emotionally upsetting.  It makes them feel disloyal to their parents and their church and their government.  They would rather not know that what is said on television is often not true.  The consequences of this knowledge are too disruptive, even if the ignorance keeps them from reaching their life goals of having interesting, financially stable jobs.

Ties That Bind, p. 21

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Amy continues tea and coffee tour

Amy and fellow poet Randy Foster will continue their coffee house tour this evening at Maxximo Jo's Coffee in Franklin, Tenn. The two will be reading their bitter and sweet, naughty and nice poems about tea and coffee.  Copies of their brand new chapbook, Sugar and Spice and Nothing That's Nice, will be available for purchase, as well as Maxximo Jo's fantastic drinks and homemade gelato.

The "A Poet and a Politician Walk into a Coffee Bar" Tour
Saturday, May 21st, from 7 to 8 p.m.
Maxximo Jo's Coffee
1212 Murfreesboro Road
Franklin, TN  37064
(615) 791-9822

Until then, drink well...

Friday, May 20, 2011

Michelle Richmond:

I always believed that a writer, no matter how she makes her living, is a very lucky person.  Because a writer can take any unpleasantness, any drudgery, any sadness, any comic madness, gather words around that thing, and spin it out into the world like a Frisbee.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 184

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kurt Vonnegut:

There's only one rule I know of: goddamn it, you've got to be kind.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

The only people who can change the world are people who want to.  And not everybody does.

Evil Plans, p. 66

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

I'm no longer ready to give an answer about everything.  Sometimes I'm not ready because I feel that an answer does not do justice to the seriousness or complexity of the question.  Sometimes I'm not ready to give an answer because I honestly don't know what the best one is.  Sometimes I'm not ready to give an answer because I can tell that the person asking doesn't really want one anyway.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 221

Monday, May 16, 2011

Austin Kleon:

I think the more that writing is made into a physical process, the better it is.  You can feel the ink on paper.  You can spread writing all over your desk and sort through it.  You can lay it all out where you can look at it.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Human beings deserve, by virtue of being born, acknowledgement, recognition, interactivity, and negotiation.  To deprive people of that because they have no supporting institution insisting on their rights is unjust.

Ties That Bind, p. 16

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Amy to kick off coffee house tour

Amy and fellow poet Randy Foster will kick off their coffee house tour this afternoon at The Coffee Beanery in Franklin, Tenn. The two will be reading their bitter and sweet, naughty and nice poems about tea and coffee.  Come and enjoy a performance dripping with both disdain and delight!  Copies of their brand new chapbook, Sugar and Spice and Nothing That's Nice, will be available for purchase, as well as Coffee Beanery's delicious assortment of sandwiches, drinks and desserts.

The "A Poet and a Politician Walk into a Coffee Bar" Tour
Saturday, May 14th, from 2 to 3 p.m.
The Coffee Beanery
1010 Murfreesboro Road
Franklin, TN  37064
(615) 790-9553

Until then, drink well...

Friday, May 13, 2011

Michelle Richmond:

Being poor per se may not make a person a better writer, but there's a good chance that financial hardship, and a childhood and young adulthood spent on the wrong end of the class struggle, makes a person a more careful observer of humanity.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 180

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

People aren't merely buying your product, your Evil Plan; they are buying the story you are telling...a story that's not just about you, but about them, and what they could be.

Evil Plans, p. 54

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

I suppose that if absolute truth exists, it must be something that we experience indirectly, like the sun.  We see it in shadows, watch it light up the moon, and feel it tingle our skin, but it's generally not a good idea to try to stare at it or claim it as one's own.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 221

Monday, May 9, 2011

Austin Kleon:

The more I stay away from the computer, the better my ideas get.  Microsoft Word is my enemy.  I use it all the time at work.  I try to stay away from it the rest of my life.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Amy to perform at Women's Work today

Amy will be sharing some of her poetry today at the fifth annual Women's Work festival. Come and enjoy an afternoon of original poetry and spoken word presented by wonderful women wordsmiths.

Sunday, May 8, at 2:30 p.m.
Z. Alexander Looby Theater
Looby Branch Library
2301 Rosa L. Parks Blvd.
Nashville, TN

For more information or to purchase tickets in advance, visit the Tennessee Women's Theater Project online.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

What makes gay people so ideal as the scapegoat in a family is that they are alone.  Sometimes no one else inside the family is like them or identifies with them.  They become a projection screen, the dumping ground for everyone else's inadequacies and resentments.  In addition, no one else is watching.  No one from the outside will intervene because of the perception that family matters are private and untouchable.  The family structure and its untouchability predominates.  Then, because gay people do not have the full support of their families, they in turn become an ideal social scapegoat.  For, in society, just as in family, no one will intervene.  Society will not intervene in the family, and the family will not intervene in society.  It's a dialogic relationship of oppression.

Ties That Bind, p. 12-13

Friday, May 6, 2011

Silas House:

Snow has a sound.  It sounds like huuuuuuussssssssshhhhhhhh.  Snow sounds like the whole world has stopped moving and everyone is holding their breath.  They can't teach me that in a writing class.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 133

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

If people like buying your product, it's because its story helps fill in the narrative gaps in their own lives.

Evil Plans, p. 46

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

What my generation is learning the hard way is that faith is not about defending conquered ground but about discovering new territory.  Faith isn't about being right, or settling down, or refusing to change.  Faith is a journey, and every generation contributes its own sketches to the map.  I've got miles and miles to go on this journey, but I think I can see Jesus up ahead.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 220

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

John Shore:

Don't undermine your art by failing to master your craft.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Monday, May 2, 2011

Amy quoted in Tennessean

Yesterday, The Tennessean featured an article on this month's fifth annual Women's Work festival, including a few of Amy's thoughts about the showcase's poetry program.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Austin Kleon:

Draw the art you want to see, make the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

It is undeniable that people only scapegoat the powerless.  Those with power would never be falsely blamed; there would be consequences.

Ties That Bind, p. 12

Friday, April 29, 2011

Silas House:

The people on my route gave me stories -- sometimes by not even saying a word, but just going about the business of living in plain view.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 132

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Stories are not simply nice things to have; they are essential survival tools.

Evil Plans, p. 46

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

...the best “apologetic” for a God of unconditional love is a person of unconditional love.

"After You Read 'Love Wins'..."

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Amy releases latest poetry chapbook

Amy's fourth chapbook, Sugar and Spice and Nothing That's Nice: Where Bitter Meets Sweet, is now available for purchase.  Co-authored by Randy Foster, the collection of tea and coffee poems features the poets' love-hate relationships with the brewed beverages, dripping with both disdain and delight.  Contact Amy at hall_amy_e@hotmail to place your order.

Monday, April 25, 2011

John Shore:

Write to find out who you are, what you think, what you feel.  Trust that if you're terribly honest about articulating your personal, richest truths, then what you say will resonate with others, because at that point you'll be ringing the common bell.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Austin Kleon:

Ask any real artist, and they’ll tell you the truth: they don’t know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Because gay people are ritually shunned in all aspects of social life, dehumanizing us through shunning appears normative and regular.

Ties That Bind, p. 10

Friday, April 22, 2011

Silas House:

The older most people get, the better they get because they start to figure out that the main thing we need to be doing is loving one another.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 129

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Human beings need to tell stories.

Evil Plans, p. 46

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

When we recognize that our theology is not the moon but rather a finger pointing at the moon, we enjoy the freedom of questioning it from time to time.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 220

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jeff Pearlman:

Come day's end, I'm tired of staring at a screen.  I do it all day, I do it through much of the night.  I want a book.

"My bookstore is on death row"

Monday, April 18, 2011

John Shore:

Write what you write for you, period.  If others like it, yay.  If not, love them, wave good-bye to them, and get back to your work.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Austin Kleon:

An artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: hoarders collect indiscriminately, the artist collects selectively. They only collect things that they really love.

"How to Steal Like an Artist (And 9 Other Things Nobody Told Me)"

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Ironically, it is often not the fact that a gay person is being scapegoated that makes people angry but the assertion that the perpetrator should have to be accountable that infuriates them.

Ties That Bind, p. 10

Friday, April 15, 2011

Connie May Fowler:

I don't need riches.  All I need is time to write and a roof over my head.  I have so many more stories to tell.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 81

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

As long as you feel inspired your life is being well spent.

Evil Plans, p. 8

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

I would argue that healthy doubt (questioning one's beliefs) is perhaps the best defense against unhealthy doubt (questioning God).

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 219-220

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

Put simply, your work is your guide: a complete, comprehensive, limitless reference book on your work.  There is no other such book, and it is yours alone.  It functions this way for no one else.

Art & Fear, p. 35-36

Monday, April 11, 2011

John Shore:

Don't think of yourself as a writer.  Think of yourself as an artist whose principal medium is words.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Amy to Perform at Women's Work

Amy has been invited to present her poetry at the fifth annual Women's Work festival on Sunday, May 8th.  The arts celebration is sponsored by the Tennessee Women's Theater Project and is one of Amy's favorite performances of the year.  More details to come.

Sarah Schulman:

It's not the awful truth that upsets people, but the telling of the truth that gets construed as the problem.

Ties That Bind, p. 10

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Chely Wright:

I am standing up for myself, because if I don't, I will never be whole.  That my story might help others find comfort, safety, and understanding is a beautiful by-product of truth.

Like Me, p. 264

Friday, April 8, 2011

Connie May Fowler:

Writing is not for the faint of heart or the greedy.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 78

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Finding and implementing your own Evil Plan is without question one of the greatest things you can do with the brief time you're allotted on this earth.

Evil Plans, p. 7

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Bertolt Brecht:

As crimes pile up, they become invisible.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

In the end the work got done the way such things always get done -- by carving out solo time for the project and nibbling away at it one sentence at a time, one idea at a time.

Art & Fear, p. 121

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

...doubt is the mechanism by which faith evolves.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 219

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Sarah Schulman:

Unfortunately, the system is twisted so that the cruelty looks normative and regular, and the desire to address and overturn it looks strange.

Ties That Bind, p. 9

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Chely Wright:

The only true choices in my story are that I chose to hide and now I'm choosing to stop lying to myself and to the rest of the world.  My plans for a normal and happy life never stood a chance when I was choosing to hide.

Like Me, p. 258

Friday, April 1, 2011

Pat Conroy:

Every day, I gorged myself on the extraordinary stories of perfect strangers.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 64

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

It's not that people don't want you to be successful -- they just don't want you to be successful in ways they aspire to be but cannot be themselves.  That is just human nature, sad but true.

Evil Plans, p. 7

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

John Shore:

Believe that you have to offer a new perspective, a new modality of perception, a whole new paradigm.  Don't be afraid.  Think boldly.  Write passionately.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

There is a moment for each artist in which a particular truth can be found, and if it is not found then, it will not ever be.

Art & Fear, p. 106

Monday, March 28, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

We do an injustice to the intricacies and shadings of Christian history when we gloss over the struggles, when we read Paul's epistles or Saint Augustine's Confessions without acknowledging the difficult questions that these believers asked and the agony with which they often asked them.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 219

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Chely Wright:

I knew that the only way I could be healthy was to stop hiding and running from the fact that I was gay.

Like Me, p. 220

Friday, March 25, 2011

Larry Brown:

Maybe I make them know more than they want to about the poor, or the unfortunate, or the alcoholic.  But a sensible writer writes what he or she knows best, and draws on the material that's closest, and the lives that are observed.

Don't Quit Your Day Job, p. 51-52

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

It was either love what I do or hate what I do.  I chose the former.

Evil Plans, p. 3

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

John Shore:

Say what you know other people are thinking -- sometimes before they even know they're thinking it.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

It's easier to paint in the angel's feet to another's masterwork than to discover where the angels live within yourself.

Art & Fear, p. 96-97

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

Doubt is a difficult animal to master because it requires that we learn the difference between doubting God and doubting what we believe about God.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 219

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Chely Wright:

When you're gay you realize that, for the most part, a lot of the world hates you without having ever met you.

Like Me, p. 213

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Change is not death.  Fear of change is death.

Evil Plans, p. 2

Thursday, March 17, 2011

John Shore:

Be insanely brave. Real writing is no place for people-pleasers and/or congenital followers.

"Four Critical Points for Writers"

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

In the ideal -- that is to say, real -- artist, fears not only continue to exist, they exist side by side with the desires that complement them, perhaps drive them, certainly feed them.

Art & Fear, p. 50

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

Somewhere along the way, the gospel had gotten buried under a massive pile of extras: political positions, lifestyle requirements, and unspoken rules that for whatever reason came with the Christian territory. Sometimes Jesus himself seemed buried beneath the rubble.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 201

Monday, March 14, 2011

Hugh MacLeod:

Everybody needs an Evil Plan. Everybody needs that crazy, out-there idea that allows them to actually start doing something they love, doing something that matters. Everybody needs an Evil Plan that gets them the hell out of the rat race, away from lousy bosses, away from boring, dead-end jobs that they hate. Life is short.

Evil Plans, p. 1

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Garrison Keillor:

A book is a gift you can open again and again.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chely Wright:

The military places a high value on honor, integrity, honesty, and valor. The policy of "don't ask, don't tell" seems to be the antithesis of those ideals.

Like Me, p. 198

Friday, March 11, 2011

Wayne Dyer:

True nobility isn't about being better than anyone else; it's about being better than you used to be.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

...the important point here is not that you have -- or don't have -- what other artists have, but rather that it doesn't matter. Whatever they have is something needed to do their work -- it wouldn't help you in your work even if you had it. Their magic is theirs. You don't lack it. You don't need it. It has nothing to do with you. Period.

Art & Fear, p.35

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

My interpretation can be only as inerrant as I am, and that's good to keep in mind.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 195

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Portia de Rossi:

It's ironic, really, when all I've ever wanted is to be loved for my true self, and yet I tried so hard to present myself as anything other than who I am.

Unbearable Lightness, p. 304

Monday, March 7, 2011

Lena Horne:

It's not the load that breaks you down, it's the way you carry it.

Friday, March 4, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

Many people first respond deeply to art -- indeed, respond deeply to the world -- upon finding works of art that seem to speak directly to them.

Art & Fear, p. 102

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

Perhaps our love for the Bible should be measured not by how valiantly we fight to convince others of our interpretations but by how diligently we work to preserve a diversity of opinion.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 194

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Portia de Rossi:

...any time I try to fit into a mold made by someone else, whether that means sample size clothing or a strict label of "butch" or "femme," I lose myself.

Unbearable Lightness, p. 291

Monday, February 28, 2011

Lena Horne:

You have to be taught to be second class; you're not born that way.

Friday, February 25, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

Our understanding of the past is altered by our experiences in the present.

Art & Fear, p. 107

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

God's ways are higher than our ways not because he is less compassionate than we are but because he is more compassionate than we can ever imagine.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 137

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Portia de Rossi:

...there's a fine line between being private and being ashamed.

Unbearable Lightness, p. 256

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Be the change you wish to see in the world.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Abraham Lincoln:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Chely Wright:

Every day is a battle when you hide.

Like Me, p. 139

Thursday, February 17, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

The world we see today is the legacy of people noticing the world and commenting on it in forms that have been preserved.

Art & Fear, p. 106

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Marshall Chapman:

My mind was like a bad neighborhood, and once again, I'd gone in there alone.

Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller, p. 147

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

God's ways are higher than our ways because his capacity to love is infinitely greater than our own.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 136

Monday, February 14, 2011

Portia de Rossi:

Shame weighs a lot more than flesh and bone.

Unbearable Lightness, p. 234

Friday, February 11, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

The individual recipe any artist finds for proceeding belongs to that artist alone -- it's non-transferable and of little use to others. It won't help you to know exactly what Van Gogh needed to gain or lose in order to get on with his work. What is worth recognizing is that Van Gogh needed to gain or lose at all, that his work was no more or less inevitable than yours, and that he -- like you -- had only himself to fall back on.

Art & Fear, p. 117

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Chely Wright:

It takes a lot of work to cover up an entire part of one's life...

Like Me, p. 69

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

When we require that all people must say the same words or subscribe to the same creeds in order to experience God, we underestimate the scope and power of God's activity in the world.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 132

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

What veteran artists know about each other is that they have engaged the issues that matter to them. What veteran artists share in common is that they have learned how to get on with their work.

Art & Fear, p. 117

Monday, February 7, 2011

Marshall Chapman:

I guess the hardest thing about any writing is to not let words get in the way of the truth.

Goodbye, Little Rock and Roller, p. 201

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rachel Held Evans:

We are not saved by information. We are saved by restored relationship with God, which might look a little different from person to person, culture to culture, time to time.

Evolving in Monkey Town, p. 132

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Pearl Cleage:

Solitude, quality solitude, is an assertion of self-worth, because only in the stillness can we hear the truth of our own unique voices.

Deals With the Devil: And Other Reasons to Riot

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

David Bayles & Ted Orland:

Art work is ordinary work, but it takes courage to embrace that work, and wisdom to mediate the interplay of art & fear.

Art & Fear, p. 117

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Timothy Kincaid:

Separate but equal has seldom proven in history to be nearly as equal as it was separate.

Box Turtle Bulletin, "Why the word 'marriage' matters"