Monday, December 31, 2012

Bookin' It in 2012

I set a personal best this year -- reading the following 21 books in '12. The titles in bold were particularly influential, inspiring or interesting.

1.    Jonestown Survivor: An Insider’s Look - Laura Johnston Kohl 

2.    The Writing Life - Annie Dillard

3.    Happy Accidents - Jane Lynch

4.    Unfair: Why the "Christian" View of Gays Doesn't Work - John Shore

5.    Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative - Austin Kleon

6.    The Trouble With Poetry - Billy Collins

7.    Metropolitan Life - Fran Lebowitz

8.    The Living End: A Memoir of Forgetting and Forgiving - Robert Leleux

9.    Gay Conversations with God: Straight Talk on Fanatics, Fags and the God Who Loves Us All - James Alexander Langteaux

10. Wittgenstein’s Lolita - William Gay

11. Rubyfruit Jungle - Rita Mae Brown

12. Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear - Hugh MacLeod

13. Poke the Box - Seth Godin

14. Rita Will: Memoir of a Literary Rabble-Rouser - Rita Mae Brown

15. The Letter Q: Queer Writers' Notes to Their Younger Selves - Sarah Moon

16. Patience With God: Faith for People Who Don't Like Religion (or Atheism) - Frank Schaeffer

17. Blankets - Craig Thompson

18. Patience & Sarah - Isabel Miller

19. Holidays on Ice - David Sedaris

20. Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer's Life - Michael Greenberg  

21. Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers - Anne Lamott

Seth Godin:

If there's no clear right answer, perhaps the thing you ought to do is something new.  Something new is often the right path when the world is complicated.

Poke the Box, p. 43

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Talk about unregulated banks and hedge funds, the biggest unregulated American market is big-time religion (and it's tax-free!).  Its success isn't measured in spiritual gain that changes anything for the better.  As big-time as religion is in the United States compared to highly secular Europe, nevertheless America's teen sex statistics, abortion rates, spread of STDs, divorce statistics, and rates of child rape are higher than those in non-church-going Europe. 

Patience With God, p. 94

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Evagrius Ponticus:

Do not define the Deity: for it is only of things which are made or are composite that there can be definitions.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Sometimes a letter will arrive from someone who says I saved his or her life.  Thank you, but I didn't.  You saved your life.  I just reminded you that life is worth living even when one is suffering.

Rita Will, p. 438

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Austin Kleon:

The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to consumer culture.  Saying no to takeout, $4 lattes, and that shiny new computer when the old one still works fine.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 121

Monday, December 24, 2012

Seth Godin:

Of course, the challenge of being the initiator is that you'll be wrong.  You'll pick the wrong thing, you'll waste time, you'll be blamed.  That is why being an initiator is valuable.  Most people shy away from the challenge.  They've been too abused, they're too fearful, they hold back, they're happy to let someone else take the heat.  Initiative is scare.  Hence valuable.

Poke the Box, p. 27

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Unhappy men serving a weird, angry God make bad husbands, especially if "serving God" provides an excuse for covering up (and thus never dealing with) one's faults in the name of protecting one's ministry.

Patience With God, p. 147

Friday, December 21, 2012

G. K. Chesterton:

Having the right to do something is not the same as being right in doing it.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Jerry couldn't face the encroaching pain.  I faced it early.  I hated it then and I hate it now, but it's a fact of my life and I'll be damned if I'm going to throw away this magical life, this earthly delight, just because people will harshly judge me.

Rita Will, p. 392

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Robert Frost:

Half the world is composed of people who have something to say and can't, and the other half who have nothing to say and keep on saying it.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Validation is for parking.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 111

Monday, December 17, 2012

Seth Godin:

If you see something, say something...Why would anyone hesitate to report (something dangerous)?  Because we've been taught to shut up and keep our heads down.  Because the authorities don't actually like gadflies or neighborhood-watch busybodies.  So they make it uncomfortable to speak up.  In many police departments, the first suspect in a dispute is the one who took the time to call it in.

Poke the Box, p.36-37

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Karin Bergquist:

My job description requires of me that I give people the opportunity to forget.  To rest.  Even if it is just for an evening.  But my job description simultaneously requires that I dare not neglect the directive to remind us all that we live in a very broken world.  And so, I walk the line...with reverence and tears.  With respect and humility.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

The only reason why I still place my hope in God is that I had the good fortune to abandon a position of leadership in the evangelical/fundamentalist world when I was still young enough to make a new life ... And conversations became conversations rather than evangelical ploys, as I discovered that other people -- even though they might not be like me and might have ideas opposite to mine -- sometimes actually have something to say, when you're not just waiting to pounce and deliver a "spiritual" coup de grâce. 

Patience With God, p. 146-147

Friday, December 14, 2012

G. K. Chesterton:

We need priests and pastors to remind us that someday we're going to die and we need musicians and poets to remind us that we're not dead yet.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

We build lives that work, more or less.  As we age we must continually dismantle and rebuild, like the pink chambered nautilus.  We need a bigger shell.  I mean shell, too.  A healthy covering is necessary in this world.  You've got to know who to let in and who to shut out.

Rita Will, p. 358

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Robert Frost:

By working faithfully eight hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work twelve hours a day.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Your parents invent you, and you take it from there.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 148

Monday, December 10, 2012

Seth Godin:

If you sign up for the initiative path and continue on it when others fret about "quality" and "predictability," you will ultimately succeed.  The crowd won't stop worrying, because worrying is what they enjoy doing.  But that's okay, because you'll be making a difference and using your newfound leverage to do more and more work that matters.

Poke the Box, p. 17

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Daniel Dennett:

Who is right?  I don't know.  Neither do the billions of people with their passionate religious convictions.  Neither do those atheists who are sure the world would be a much better place if all religion went extinct.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

The open and questioning thread weaves another and more tolerant and nuanced color into the tapestry of faith.  This too has been there from the beginning of the Jewish and Christian traditions.  It represents the compassionate, mystical approach to faith in God -- in other words, enlightenment.

Patience With God, p. 18

Friday, December 7, 2012

Bertrand Russell:

Nothing is so exhausting as indecision, and nothing is so futile.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

The one thing I must protect in this life is my talent.  Imagination is exotic; it needs shelter.

Rita Will, p. 321

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Robert Frost:

To be a poet is a condition, not a profession.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Write the book you want to read.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 42-43

Monday, December 3, 2012

Seth Godin:

Initiative is a little like creativity in that both require curiosity.  Not the search for the "right" answer, as much as an insatiable desire to understand how something works and how it might work better.

Poke the Box, p. 24

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Daniel Dennett:

Even atheists and agnostics can have sacred values -- values that are simply not up for re-evaluation at all....[M]y sacred values are obvious and quite ecumenical: democracy, justice, life, love, and truth.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Perhaps both atheists and religious fundamentalists have been looking through the wrong end of the same worn-out telescope. 

Patience With God, p. 14

Friday, November 30, 2012

Linford Detweiler:

We try to tell the truth and make it rhyme.

Over the Rhine letter, November 1, 2012

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

English is at its highest and best use in comedy.  Unfortunately, comedy is much harder to write than straight prose or tragedy.  And fewer people understand true comedy.  Everyone understands slapstick, but real comedy presupposes intelligence and the ability to discern not just different levels of language, but different levels among people.

Rita Will, p. 278

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Robert Frost:

There never was any heart truly great and generous, that was not also tender and compassionate.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Don't wait until you know who you are to get started.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 24-25

Monday, November 19, 2012

Seth Godin:

Art is hard.  Selling is hard.  Writing is hard.  Making a difference is hard.  When you're doing hard work, getting rejected, failing, working it out -- this is a dumb time to make a situational decision about whether it's time for a nap or a day off or a coffee break.  Zig Ziglar taught me this twenty years ago.  Make your schedule before you start.

Poke the Box, p. 18-19

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

My beef with the New Atheists and with religious fundamentalists is that their ideas just don't seem aesthetically pleasing or imbued with the poetry that I experience in real life.

Patience With God, p.56

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Norman Vincent Peale:

You only lose energy when life becomes dull in your mind.  Your mind gets bored and therefore tired doing nothing.  You don't have to be tired.  Get interested in something.  Get absolutely enthralled in something.  Throw yourself into it with abandon.  Get out of yourself.  Be somebody.  Do something.  Don't sit around moaning about things, reading the papers, and saying, "Why don't they do something?"  The man who is out doing something isn't tired.  If you're not getting into good causes, no wonder you're tired.  You're disintegrating.  You're deteriorating.  You're dying on the vine.  The more you lose yourself in something, the more energy you will have.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Linford Detweiler:

Songs are safe containers for the best and worst that life has to offer.

Over the Rhine letter, November 1, 2012

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Comedy, in the grand sense, is the richest vein of English.  The language breathes, expands, turns golden with comedy, for an English sentence is capable of conveying irony, pathos, wit and humor simultaneously.

Rita Will, p. 278

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Robert Frost:

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Austin Kleon:

I always carry a book, a pen, and a notepad, and I always enjoy my solitude and temporary captivity.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 92

Monday, November 12, 2012

Seth Godin:

As soon as we willingly and blindly accept what's given, we lose all power.  Only by poking, testing, modifying, and understanding can we truly own anything, truly exert our influence.

Poke the Box, p. 10

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

I don't think we need a creator to explain anything, such as design and order.  What I do believe we need, and will eventually find, is that there is spiritual meaning that exists objectively, apart from us, and comes from God (or from what we call "God").  And that that meaning, for now, is best expressed by the words "Love your neighbor" and "Thank you."

Patience With God, p. 64

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Kate Chopin:

Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusions all one's life.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Daniel Dennett:

All toxic parts of religion depend on the enforced ignorance of the young.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

One need not agree with people in order to learn.  I don't agree with Otto von Bismarck but I've learned from his life and work.

Rita Will, p. 275

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Robert Frost:

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Austin Kleon:

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

Steal Like an Artist, p. 140

Monday, November 5, 2012

Seth Godin:

Once you've engaged with an organization or a relationship or a community, you owe it it your team to start.  To initiate.  To be the one who makes something happen.  To do less is to steal from them.

Poke the Box, p, 64

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Although they usually seem to lack the self-criticism gene, and I do not agree with a lot that the New Atheists have written or said, nevertheless I think that they are doing us a service by offering their harsh critiques of religion.

Patience With God, p. 7

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Isabel Miller:

What a beautiful word "two" is.

Patience & Sarah, p. 193

Friday, November 2, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

I decided to write a novel.  Everyone said how hard it was to write one, journalists especially.  I figured, what the hell.  If I fell on my face, I'd pick myself up and do something else.  What was the big deal?

Rita Will, p. 272

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time.  Inertia is the death of creativity.  You have to stay in the groove.  When you get out of the groove, you start to dread the work, because you know it's going to suck for a while -- it's going to suck until you get back into the flow.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 124

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Atheists can live as moral a life as any religious person.  Where atheists have a problem is in pinning down a definition of what morality is.  Religious people have that same problem.  Because religions and factions within religions don't agree, we're all in the same boat.  So there is no reason to pull a New Atheist tantrum, or preach a proselytizing evangelical/fundamentalist sermon and try to lord it over one another.  There is no "they."  There is only us.  Life is too short to know, so religion's most basic lesson -- humility -- is not just a good idea but also logical.  And humility is, I think, also the most basic lesson taught by science, which, by definition, illumines the vastness of our ignorance.
Patience With God, p. 43-44

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Seth Godin:

The first imperative is to be aware -- aware of the market, of opportunities, of who you are.

Poke the Box, p. 4

Monday, October 29, 2012

Isabel Miller:

Believing in death has made me brave. 

Patience & Sarah, p. 127

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

An entire mental construct has faded away, except for right-wing pockets.  There are still some people, men and women, who believe women are second-class citizens, a discretionary labor force (last hired, first fired), should be barred from certain careers, etc.  They're small but noisy.  History has already brushed them aside in America, which may explain why they are so emotional.  Losers squeal.  Winners head into the future.

Rita Will, p. 268

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Austin Kleon:

In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what's really important to them.  Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 137

Friday, October 26, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

And for all the in-your-face "attitude," the New Atheists are positively polite compared to the religious fundamentalists.

Patience With God, p. 10

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Seth Godin:

Part of initiating is being willing to discover that what you end up with is different from what you set out to accomplish.  If you're not willing to discover that surprise, it's no wonder you're afraid to start.

Poke the Box, p. 67

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

William Butler Yeats:

Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but simply growth.  We are happy when we are growing.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

America contains strange contradictions.  One is that we worship the Declaration of Independence but blanch at the thought of certain Americans being independent.  Another is that we pride ourselves on being a democracy but we create few safe public places where people can practice the mixing that is so important to democracy.  Europe abounds in beautiful public squares where people promenade, eat, talk politics and flirt.  By contrast, the American, hermetically sealed in her/his car, drives home.

Rita Will, p. 225

Monday, October 22, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Soon after [college], you learn that most of the world doesn't necessarily care about what you think ... This is actually a good thing, because you want attention only after you're doing really good work.  There's no pressure when you're unknown.  You can do what you want.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 78

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

The New Atheists pit religion's literalistic truth claims against their own literalistic truth claims.  In that sense the New Atheists turn out to be secular fundamentalists arguing with religious fundamentalists.

Patience With God, p. 8

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Seth Godin:

The relentless act of invention and innovation and initiative is the best marketing asset.

Poke the Box, p. 60

Friday, October 19, 2012

Jeffrey Eugenides:

I think about the reader.  I care about the reader.  Not "audience."  Not "readership."  Just the reader.   That one person, alone in a room, whose time I'm asking for.  I want my books to be worth the reader's time, and that's why I don't publish the books I've written that don't meet this criterion, and why I don't publish the books I do until they're ready.

The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction No. 215

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Every family collects stories, folding them into their memory book like pressed flowers.

Rita Will, p. 137

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Remember: Even The Beatles started as a cover band.  Paul McCartney has said, "I emulated Buddy Holly, Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis.  We all did."  McCartney and his partner John Lennon became one of the greatest songwriting teams in history, but as McCartney recalls, they only started writing their own songs "as a way to avoid other bands being able to play our set."

Steal Like an Artist, p. 35

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

My definition of fundamentalism, religious or otherwise, is the impulse to find The answer, a way to shut down the question-asking part of one's brain.  Fundamentalists don't like question marks.  Fundamentalists reject both Christian humility and postmodern paradox.  In that sense an atheist too may be a fundamentalist.  And a fundamentalist wants to convince others to convert to what fundamentalists are sure they know.

Patience With God, p.9

Monday, October 15, 2012

Seth Godin:

Joy comes from surprise and connection and humanity and transparency and new.

Poke the Box, p. 60

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Jessica Ravitz:

Before I go extinct, though, I want to explain and defend my stupidphone position.  And I want to make one thing clear: I am not your 90-year-old grandmother.  I am only 43.  I work in an environment where I'm surrounded by tech savviness and am more than aware that I'm an oddball.  But I was hired to report and write stories -- to talk and listen to, focus on and engage with human beings -- and, frankly, I'm neither ashamed nor apologetic that I do my job without a fancy phone.

Friday, October 12, 2012

J. D. McClatchy:

A poem -- and a person too? -- needs disguises.  It needs secrets.  It thrives on the tension between what is said and not said; it prefers the oblique, the implied, the ironic, the suggestive; when it speaks, it wants a person to lean forward a little to overhear; it wants him to understand things only years later.

The Letter Q, p. 111

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Jeffrey Eugenides:

The novels I love are novels I live for.  They make me feel smarter, more alive, more tender toward the world.  I hope, with my own books, to transmit that same experience, to pass it on as best I can.

The Paris Review, The Art of Fiction No. 215

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

My deepest instinct is to go about my business without intruding on anyone else.  (It may be one of the reasons I became a writer.  Talent alone does not make an artist.)

Rita Will, p. 134

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Not everybody will get it.  People will misinterpret you and what you do.  They might even call you names.  So get comfortable with being misunderstood, disparaged, or ignored -- the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 112

Monday, October 8, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

If only making ourselves happy, kind, and tolerant were as simple as giving up religious faith.  If that's all it took, the Soviet Union under Stalin and China under Mao would have been such nice places to live, and for that matter, our secularized Ivy League universities would be filled with saints, instead of back-stabbing intellectuals ready to destroy each other over who gets tenure.

Patience With God, p. 3-4

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Seth Godin:

That's the way all great science works.  An individual does something audacious, something counter to the status quo, pursuing a journey that seems ridiculous at first.

Poke the Box, p. 56

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Paul Monette:

When you finally come out, there's a pain that stops, and you know it will never hurt like that again, no matter how much you lose or how bad you die.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Marion Dane Bauer:

Your capacity to love is your greatest strength and the greatest gift you have to bring to the world.

The Letter Q, p. 236

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Evangelicalism is to America what the Pharisees were in ancient Israel. These guys wreak vengeance on the people who bring the good news of a loving God who cares less about theology than the content of your character. Because in essence that message puts the gatekeepers out of a job.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mark Twain:

The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

From Carrie I learned that piety is like garlic, a little goes a long way.  Whenever I see someone utterly secure in the rightness of their restrictive beliefs I think, "Ah yes, this one's kin to Mamaw," and I pop into reverse and get the hell out of there.

I also remember that the only spot in heaven promised to anyone by Christ was that given to the thief who died on the cross with him.  I often wonder if these strident Christians, I'm-better-than-you folks, read the same Bible I do.

Rita Will, p. 14

Monday, October 1, 2012

Austin Kleon:

A day job puts you in the path of other human beings.  Learn from them, steal from them.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 124

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Filtered Through Time Book Signing

Come and celebrate the release of Filtered Through Time, a brand new collection of Civil War-related poetry, fiction and photography, this afternoon!  Amy will be among the 50 featured authors at the event, as well as her photographer/poet friends Randy Foster and Robert McCurley.

Sunday, Sept. 30th, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Williamson County Public Library
1314 Columbia Ave.
Franklin, TN  37064

Meet the authors, get your book signed, and save $5 off the listed price!

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Seth Godin:

Today, not starting is far, far worse than being wrong.  If you start, you've got a shot at evolving and adjusting to turn your wrong into a right.  But if you don't start, you never get a chance.

Poke the Box, p. 57

Friday, September 28, 2012

Doug Gross:

So, our phones are brutally efficient at addressing an ancient desire.  But is that always a good thing?  At Oxford, England's Social Issues Research Centre, researchers fear it is not.  In their view, by filling almost every second of down time by peering at our phones we are missing out on the creative and potentially rewarding ways we've dealt with boredom in days past.

"Information overload from all quarters means that there can often be very little time for personal thought, reflection, or even just 'zoning out,'" researchers there wrote.  "With a mobile (phone) that is constantly switched on and a plethora of entertainments available to distract the naked eye, it is understandable that some people find it difficult to actually get bored in that particular fidgety, introspective kind of way."

"Have smartphones killed boredom (and is that good)?"

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tim Kreider:

On the best ordinary days of my life, I write in the morning, go for a long bike ride and run errands in the afternoon, and in the evening I see friends, read or watch a movie. This, it seems to me, is a sane and pleasant pace for a day.

"The 'Busy' Trap"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

So whether you're an atheist or not, the issue of who's going to hell or not matters because there are a lot of folks on this planet – many of them extraordinarily well-armed – from born-again American military personnel to Muslim fanatics, who seriously believe that God smiles upon them when they send their enemies to hell.

"Different Takes: Should we abandon idea of hell? – My Faith: The dangerous effects of believing in hell"

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bill Cunningham:

If you don't take money [for your art], they can't tell you what to do.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Once you start lumping people into groups, you rob them of their individuality.  It's easier to kill them if they're blacks or gays or Germans or Muslims.  But if instead of groups you are looking at individuals from those groups, William Raspberry or Ellen DeGeneres or Steffi Graf or Salman Rushdie, then those categories fade away.  You're faced with a complicated human being, like you in some ways and not like you in others.  The fun is finding one another out.

Rita Will, p. 474

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Marion Dane Bauer:

I have learned that being honest with myself and others, even and especially when that honesty comes hard, is its own reward.

The Letter Q, p. 235

Friday, September 21, 2012

Austin Kleon:

... I put every really nice e-mail I get in a special folder.  (Nasty e-mails get deleted immediately.)  When those dark days roll around and I need a boost, I open that folder and read through a couple e-mails.  Then I get back to work.  Try it: Instead of keeping a rejection file, keep a praise file.  Use it sparingly -- don't get lost in past glory -- but keep it around for when you need the lift.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 115

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Seth Godin:

How did you end up with this job?  Almost any time I ask someone that question, they answer with, "well, it's a funny story."  And it's not usually a funny story.  Instead, it's a story that juxtaposes a few unlikely breaks with unadorned initiative.  People get good gigs because they stand up.

Poke the Box, p. 51

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Randall Kenan:

Do not waste a minute fretting over how they look upon you.  You have the power to define yourself -- remember that power; take that control.  It's like a superpower, really, to be whom you want to be, to do what you want to do, to fly where you want to fly.

The Letter Q, p. 242

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

The difference between the Republican and Democratic Parties is the difference between syphilis and gonorrhea, a statement I am particularly fond of reading when I give speeches.

Rita Will, p. 69

Monday, September 17, 2012

Austin Kleon:

The worst thing a day job does is take time away from you, but it makes up for that by giving you a daily routine in which you can schedule a regular time for your creative pursuits.  Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 124

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Benoit Denizet-Lewis:

Always remember: The more homophobic someone is, the more likely it is that they hate themselves.

The Letter Q, p. 198

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

No one knows anything about the Big Questions, and what we "know" about our minuscule place in the universe, and even of our own lives, is spectacularly limited.  In other words, humility is in order, or, as the biblical writer of First Corinthians puts it: "And if anyone thinks he knows anything, he knows nothing yet as he ought to know."

Patience With God, p. 8-9

Friday, September 14, 2012

Seth Godin:

One reason organizations get stuck is that they stick with their "A" players so long that they lose their bench.  In a world that's changing, a team with no bench strength and a rigid outlook on the game will always end up losing.

Poke the Box, p. 49

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Howard Cruse:

... any artist's creativity rises to new levels of power when it's rooted in honesty.

The Letter Q, p. 169

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Book tours are like boot camp but with little sleep and less food.

Rita Will, p. 361

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Once you put your work into the world, you have no control over the way people will react to it.  Ironically, really good work often appears to be effortless.  People will say, "Why didn't I think of that?"  They won't see the years of toil and sweat that went into it.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 112

Monday, September 10, 2012

Jewelle Gomez:

First, the bad news: The mainstream publishing world will always marginalize you because it thinks no one cares what women of color have to say.  Now, the good news: If you care passionately about what we have to say, you'll love to write no matter how marginalized you might be, and you won't be alone out there on the margins.

The Letter Q, p. 146-147

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Seth Godin:

Please stop waiting for a map.  We reward those who draw maps, not those who follow them.

Poke the Box, p. 34

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

My friends are all smarter than I am.  That may be the smartest thing about me: I surround myself with people who are above me and then I try to catch up.

Rita Will, p. 471

Friday, September 7, 2012

Paula Gilovich:

A couple things you should know.  All people up close are insane.  All lives are bizarre ... That said, however you can do it, earn the freedom to live exactly how you want, and let part of that living be purely of your own invention.  Nothing you've ever seen before.

The Letter Q, p. 225

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Austin Kleon:

The trouble with creative work: Sometimes by the time people catch on to what's valuable about what you do, you're either a) bored to death with it, or b) dead.  You can't go looking for validation from external sources.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 112

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Seth Godin:

If you hide your spark, bury your ideas, keep your questions and notions from the team, you have hurt them as badly as if you had stolen a laptop and fenced it on eBay.

Poke the Box, p. 64

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Nick Burd:

When you realize that someone doesn't like you, don't dwell on it.  You do not need everyone to like you.  Anyone who feels they need to be liked by everyone most likely doesn't realize how exhausting this would be if it were to actually happen.  Be thankful that there are those who want to ignore you.  There is only one you.  Charge admission.

The Letter Q, p. 212

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

The best way to be successful, in this hypercompetitive world of ours, is to find something you REALLY love doing and then kick ass at it. 

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 2

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Reading or going to the theater allows me to spend time with the best minds of many generations.

Rita Will, p. 431

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Doug Wright:

Don't merely accept the fact that you were born gay; treasure it.  You have a proud legacy: Alexander the Great, Michelangelo, Tchaikovsky, Gertrude Stein, Walt Whitman, Alan Turing, James Baldwin, Willa Cather, and Tennessee Williams, just to name a few.

The Letter Q, p. 41

Friday, August 31, 2012

Austin Kleon:

It takes a lot of energy to be creative.  You don't have that energy if you waste it on other stuff.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 119

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Seth Godin:

The opportunity is ... to see that all around you are platforms, opportunities, and entire organizations that will come to life once you are driven enough and brave enough to contribute the initiative they are missing.

Poke the Box, p. 6

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Marc Wolf:

So yes, be brave as you fight for justice and against those who perpetuate cruelty.  But please remember to be brave in your generosity, be brave in helping those close to you.  Be emotionally brave to share your feelings, your thoughts.  Be brave in sharing your encouragement, sharing your time.  These are "soft" braveries, but they will be important for both of us.  This kind of bravery exposes us because we reveal what moves us, we reveal who we really care about.

The Letter Q, p. 204-205

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

I am a promiscuous reader.  Military history, biography, novels, poetry, your grocery list, I don't care.  If it's scribbed or in justified type, I'll read it.

Rita Will, p. 430

Monday, August 27, 2012

Austin Kleon:

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

Steal Like an Artist, p. 81

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Stacey D'Erasmo:

Your inability to lie about what you want -- indeed, what some might call your excessive need to talk about it -- and your strong wish to be recognized as you are will bring you extraordinary gifts and love and happiness and, through this honesty, you will find your way to the company of bold and generous people all your life.

The Letter Q, p. 54

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Seth Godin:

I'm not seeing a shortage of what-to-do knowledge.  There are plenty of really smart, well-trained people in organizations large and small who know exactly what to do.  The shortage is in people willing to do it.  To take a leap.  To walk out onto the ledge and start.  Apparently, many of us have forgotten how to do it.

Poke the Box, p. 61

Friday, August 24, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Reading, like breathing, is energy, ideas, life.

Rita Will, p. 430

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Doug Wright:

Yes, the indignities you suffer at the hands of bigots can make you bitter.  But they can also strengthen your ability to empathize with the oppressed, and in doing so, enlarge the capacity of your heart.

The Letter Q, p. 41

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Most websites and blogs are set up to show posts in reverse-chronological order -- the latest post is the first post that visitors see, so you're only as good as your last post.  This keeps you on your toes, keeps you thinking about what you can post next.  Having a container can inspire us to fill it.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 82

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Seth Godin:

A paradox of success

People with no credibility or resources rarely get the leverage they need to bring their ideas to the world.

People with credibility and resources are so busy trying to hold onto them that they fail to bring their provocative ideas to the world.

Poke the Box, p. 54

Monday, August 20, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

All art is longing.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 96

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Whenever a figure, be it Czar Nicholas II or Norman (Lear), becomes muffled in a cocoon of great wealth and obedience, trouble follows.

Rita Will, p. 366

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Michael Cunningham:

Literature is moved forward by writers who insist on their own particularities, and even their peculiarities.

The Letter Q, p. 10

Friday, August 17, 2012

Austin Kleon:

A day job gives you money, a connection to the world, and a routine.  Freedom from financial stress also means freedom in your art.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 123

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fred Clark:

It seems strange that many evangelicals do not understand why those others -- the victims or targets of Chik-fil-A's politics -- might thus be unhappy with Chik-fil-A.  But that's because this unhappiness has to do with substance, not with "stances."  And if it's not all about the proper stance, then these evangelicals just don't understand what you're saying.

"'Stance' vs. substance: why evangelicals are confused about the actual harm Chik-fil-A is dong to actual people"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Seth Godin:

Intellectual integrity goes beyond being clever -- it requires that you put your ideas into the world.

Poke the Box, p. 67

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

I've never asked for money in helping a writer.  Literature is a calling, like the priesthood.  I'll make money from my work but not from someone struggling to learn.  Writing is bloody hard work so you'd better love it.

Rita Will, p. 309

Monday, August 13, 2012

Austin Kleon:

If you ever find that you're the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 104

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Fred Clark:

Chik-fil-A's critics aren't concerned about (Dan) Cathy's opinions, but about his actions -- his actions against them.

For Christianity Today, opinions are what matters most.  For them, the important thing is Cathy's "stance" and not the substance of his actions against others.  They thus can't begin to hear, let alone to understand, the substance of those others' complaint against the fast-food giant.  Evangelicals are obsessed with stances and words and opinions, so they assume this must all have something to do with stances and words and opinions.

"'Stance' vs. substance: why evangelicals are confused about the actual harm Chik-fil-A is dong to actual people"

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Seth Godin:

Writing this manifesto might be overwhelming.  I know it's going to be read, at least by a few people.  If I focus on that -- focus on the fact that yes, it will be seen and criticized and worked with and misunderstood and embraced and spread -- then I'm bound to hold back.  The challenge is to focus on the work, not on the fear that comes from doing the work.

Poke the Box, p. 47

Friday, August 10, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

When you write your first novel your family snatches it up, eagerly searching for themselves and horrified when they find what they're looking for.

Rita Will, p. 281-282

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Amassing a body of work or building a career is a lot about the slow accumulation of little bits of effort over time.  Writing a page each day doesn't seem like much, but do it for 365 days and you have enough to fill a novel.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 127

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

I like being alive.  I just wish I was better at it.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 34

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Brian Eno:

My interest in making music has been to create something that does not exist that I would like to listen to.  I wanted to hear music that had not yet happened, by putting together things that suggested a new thing which did not yet exist.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Seth Godin:

If you had a chance to do a TED talk, what would it be about?  What have you discovered, what do you know, what can you teach?  You should do one.  Even if you don't do one, you should be prepared to do one.  That's your opportunity -- to approach your work in a way that generates unique learning and interactions that are worth sharing.

Poke the Box, p. 41

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

If in my past, in my present and in my future I have been able to make you laugh and make you think, I count myself a lucky and successful writer.

Rita Will, p. xi

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Austin Kleon:

The more open you are about sharing your passions, the closer people will feel to your work.  Artists aren't magicians.  There's no penalty for revealing your secrets.

Steal Like an Artist,  p. 81

Friday, August 3, 2012

Gregory Maguire:

On the other side, honesty still takes courage, and one of the things that a bright cunning professional with good hair does when he or she comes out is to encourage other gay or lesbian people with good hair to let it down, too.

"Thank you, Anderson"

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Mark Twain:

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Seth Godin:

Books worth buying are books worth sharing.

Poke the Box, p. 86

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

Telling people how great the Internet is is easy.  Everybody knows that already.  The hard part is knowing that the ball is in your court, knowing that now you have this AMAZING tool, knowing that there are no more excuses.  So now you have to go and make stuff.  The Internet can't do that for you; the Internet can only remove certain obstacles.  And it already did that.  A long time ago.  The Internet has made it so that we have no choice but to be creative.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 110

Monday, July 30, 2012

Laurence Musgrove:

Reading is really the search for the self through others.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

No one knows the whole truth.  But each of us knows a shredded tatter of it.  The writer must convey that to you or the culture begins to fray.  In order for any society, culture or civilization to breathe or grow it must breathe freely.  That's my job and the job of every one of us who attempts to write.

Rita Will, p. x-xi

Friday, July 27, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Remember "garbage in, garbage out"?  You're only going to be as good as the people you surround yourself with.  In the digital space, that means following the best people online -- the people who are way smarter and better than you, the people who are doing the really interesting work.  Pay attention to what they're talking about, what they're doing, what they're linking to.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 102-103

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Seth Godin:

I think we might be afraid of how much freedom we actually have, and how much we're expected to do with that freedom.

Poke the Box, p. 37

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Harvey Milk:

I know that you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living.  And you...and you...and you...gotta give 'em hope.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

Entrepreneurship can't be taught.  But it can be unleashed...

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 19

Monday, July 23, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Admire the world for never ending on you -- as you would admire an opponent, without taking your eyes from him, or walking away.

The Writing Life, p. 78

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

It's a strange time to be a writer because a writer is the one person in every culture, in every epoch, married to the truth.

Rita Will, p. x

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Austin Kleon:

If there was a secret formula for becoming known, I would give it to you.  But there's only one not-so-secret formula that I know: Do good work and share it with people.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 79

Friday, July 20, 2012

Seth Godin:

Excellence isn't about working extra hard to do what you're told.  It's about taking the initiative to do work you decide is worth doing.

Poke the Box, p. 34

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

90% of what separates successful people and failed people is time, effort and stamina.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 111

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Harold Ramis:

Find the most talented person in the room, and if it's not you, go stand next to him.  Hang out with him.  Try to be helpful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Annie Dillard:

The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive.  Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you.

The Writing Life, p. 79

Monday, July 16, 2012

Rita Mae Brown:

Try to write your autobiography.  You'll surprise yourself.  The trick is not to take yourself too seriously.  Granted this is the only life you have but still -- take it with a grain of salt.

Rita Will, p. x

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Rachel Held Evans:

God makes sense to me under the trees, and God makes sense to me in poetry and prayer, and God makes sense to me in Eucharist and Baptism and community and even creeds...but not in the offering plate, not in the building campaign, not in the pastor-who-shall-not-be-questioned, not in the politics, not in the assumptions about what a good Christian girl ought to be. 

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Enjoy your obscurity while it lasts.  Use it.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 78

Friday, July 13, 2012

Seth Godin:

If ego wasn't a key driver in the process, then creative, generous work would all be anonymous, and it isn't.

Poke the Box, p. 20

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

The Internet works best when we're all trying to share stuff.  Not just the corporations and the Internet millionaires, but you, me, everybody else on this planet.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 91

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tim Kreider:

It’s hard to find anything to say about life without immersing yourself in the world, but it’s also just about impossible to figure out what it might be, or how best to say it, without getting the hell out of it again.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

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 in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now.  The impulse to save something good for a better place later is the signal to spend it now.  Something more will arise for later, something better.

The Writing Life, p. 78-79

Monday, July 9, 2012

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

No single event can awaken within us a stranger whose existence we had never suspected.  To live is to be slowly born.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

There is a way to live comforted by faith without being part of the evil that constitutes so much of religion.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 263

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing.  I get some of my best ideas when I'm bored, which is why I never take my shirts to the cleaners.  I love ironing my shirts -- it's so boring, I almost always get good ideas.  If you're out of ideas, wash the dishes.  Take a really long walk.  Stare at a spot on the wall for as long as you can.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 67

Friday, July 6, 2012

Seth Godin:

The first rule of doing work that matters: Go to work on a regular basis ... Isaac Asimov wrote and published more than 400 (!) books by typing nonstop from 6 am to noon, every day for forty years.

Poke the Box, p. 18-19

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

Where there's kindness there is hope.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 83

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

David Lowery:

Many in your generation are willing to pay a little extra to buy “fair trade” coffee that insures the workers that harvested the coffee were paid fairly.  Many in your generation will pay a little more to buy clothing and shoes from manufacturers that  certify they don’t use  sweatshops.  Many in your generation pressured Apple to examine working conditions at Foxconn in China.  Your generation is largely responsible for the recent cultural changes that has given more equality to same sex couples.  On nearly every count your generation is much more ethical and fair than my generation.   Except for one thing.  Artist rights.

"Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Annie Dillard:

The artist is willing to give all his or her strength and life to probing with blunt instruments those same secrets no one can describe in any way but with those instruments' faint tracks.

The Writing Life, p. 78

Monday, July 2, 2012


Don't let perfect be the enemy of the good.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

If there is one thing all Christians should have learned by now, it's that we -- of all people -- should never, ever cast aspersions on anyone else's sex life.  When it comes to pointing the finger over sexual "sin," the worldwide Christian community -- from the halls of the Vatican and many a Greek, Russian, or Arab Orthodox bishop's palace, to an Evangelical "home church" established in somebody's basement two minutes ago -- is in the morally compromised position of a violent habitual rapist criticizing a shoplifter for stealing a candy bar.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 247-248

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Austin Kleon:

While I love my computer, I think computers have robbed us of the feeling that we're actually making things.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 53

Friday, June 29, 2012

Seth Godin:

Those who fear risk also begin to fear movement of any kind.  People act as through flux, the movement of people or ideas or anything else that's unpredictable, exposes us to risk, and risk exposes us to failure.  The fearful try to avoid collisions, so they avoid movement.

Poke the Box, p. 15

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

Only you can decide what is meaningful.  Eventually you do it because you have no choice.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 6

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

David Lowery:

The existential questions that your generation gets to answer are these:

Why do we value the network and hardware that delivers music but not the music itself?

Why are we willing to pay for computers, iPods, smartphones, data plans, and high speed internet access but not the music itself?

Why do we gladly give our money to some of the largest richest corporations in the world but not the companies and individuals who create and sell music?

"Letter to Emily White at NPR All Songs Considered"

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Annie Dillard:

At its best, the sensation of writing is that of any unmerited grace.  It is handed to you, but only if you look for it.

The Writing Life, p. 75

Monday, June 25, 2012


What we find in books is like the fire in our hearths.  We fetch it from our neighbors, we kindle it at home, we communicate it to others, and it becomes the property of all.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Our hearts connect to truth larger than ourselves: Love of others in the context of community.  That is the only value of formal religion.  It provides the place and time for the liturgies through which we may unite with others heart-to-heart to seek out those mysterious truths that words can't describe but that the doing of ritual helps us to tap into.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 261

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Nobody is born with a style or a voice.  We don't come out of the womb knowing who we are.  In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes.  We learn by copying.  We're talking about practice here, not plagiarism -- plagiarism is trying to pass someone else's work off as your own.  Copying is about reverse-engineering.  It's like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works. 

Steal Like an Artist, p. 33

Friday, June 22, 2012

Seth Godin:

So, for some, risk comes to equal failure (take enough risks and sooner or later, you will fail).  Risk is avoided because we've been trained to avoid failure.  I define anxiety as experiencing failure in advance... and if you have anxiety about initiating a project, then of course you will associate risk with failure.

Poke the Box, p. 14

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

Bring new light to what life might be: that's what Creativity means.  That's why you were born; that's why you are here: to bring some new "light," some new angle, to the human condition -- if not to the broader world in general, then at least to your family and the people around you.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 54

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Iris Murdoch:

One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Annie Dillard:

The sensation of writing a book is the sensation of spinning, blinded by love and daring.

The Writing Life, p. 74

Monday, June 18, 2012

Leo Tolstoy:

Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

What's so curious is that in this religion-inflicted country of ours, the same Evangelicals, conservative Roman Catholics, and others who had been running around post-Roe insisting that America had a "Christian foundation" and demanding a "return to our heritage" (and/or more recently trashing health care reform as "communist") ignored the fact that one historic contribution of Christianity was a commitment to strong central government.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 183

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Go to whatever lengths necessary to make sure you always have paper on you.  Artist David Hockney had all the inside pockets of his suit jackets tailored to fit a sketchbook.  The musician Arthur Russell liked to wear shirts with two front pockets so he could fill them with scraps of score sheets.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 22

Friday, June 15, 2012

Seth Godin:

The job isn't to catch up to the status quo; the job is to invent the status quo.

Poke the Box, intro

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

I will live happy.  I will die happy.  I don't care what it costs me.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 5

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Lynda Barry:

In the digital age, don't forget to use your digits!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Why are we reading if not in hope that the writer will magnify and dramatize our days, will illuminate and inspire us with wisdom, courage, and the possibility of meaningfulness, and will press upon our minds the deepest mysteries, so we may feel again their majesty and power?

The Writing Life, p. 72-73

Monday, June 11, 2012

Andre Torrez:

Complain about the way other people make software by making software.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Sex scandals seem to be the only actual interdenominational ecumenism that exists; perversity unites many Christian groups, as does their propensity to judge others.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 255

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Austin Kleon:

In the end, merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them.  Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them.  Adding something to the world that only you can add.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 41

Friday, May 25, 2012

Seth Godin:

Imagine that the world had no middlemen, no publishers, no bosses, no HR folks, no one telling you what you couldn't do.  If you lived in that world, what would you do?  Go.  Do that.

Poke the Box, p. 2

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

All points are starting points.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 3

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

William Burroughs:

Say it again: "Poetry is for everyone."  Poetry is a place and it is free to all...

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Why are we reading, if not in hope of beauty laid bare, life heightened and its deepest mystery probed?  Can the writer isolate and vivify all in experience that most deeply engages our intellects and our hearts?  Can the writer renew our hope for literary forms?

The Writing Life, p. 72

Monday, May 21, 2012

Rachel Held Evans:

I left the church because sometimes it felt like a cult, or a country club, and I wasn't sure which was worse.

"15 Reasons I Left Church"

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Many Evangelical leaders of antigay initiatives have turned out to be closeted gay men.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 67

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Austin Kleon:

The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use -- do the work you want to see done.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 48

Friday, May 18, 2012

Henry James:

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

A generation ago, an artist needed New York.  Now an artist just needs the Internet.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 17

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Mark Twain:

Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Writing every book, the writer must solve two problems: Can it be done? and, Can I do it?

The Writing Life, p. 72

Monday, May 14, 2012

Craig Damrauer:

Modern art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn't.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Rather than rethink their beliefs, conservative religionists decided to renounce secular higher eduction and denounce it as "elitist."  Thus, to be uninformed, even willfully and proudly stupid, came to be considered a Godly virtue.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 179-180

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Austin Kleon:

If I'd waited to know who I was or what I was about before I started "being creative," well, I'd still be sitting around trying to figure myself out instead of making things.  In my experience, it's in the act of making things and doing work that we figure out who were are.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 27

Friday, May 11, 2012

Ricky Martin:

With time I have learned that life has a funny way of shaking me around when I need it most.  In that moment, I don't always understand it, and often resist it, when in reality I have learned that what I need to do is open myself up to the challenges that lie ahead -- because it is these very challenges that allow me to grow, learn, and change.

Me, p. 95

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Hugh MacLeod:

Having a blog, a voice, having my own media, utterly changed my life.  Suddenly my career as a cartoonist wasn't dependent on other people: the "gatekeepers" -- publishers, editors, Hollywood executives, etc., etc.

Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear, p. 1

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Edward Tufte:

I have stared long enough at the glowing flat rectangles of computer screens.  Let us give more time for doing things in the real world...plant a plant, walk the dogs, read a real book, go to the opera.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Write as if you were dying.  At the same time, assume you write for an audience consisting solely of terminal patients.  That is, after all, the case.

The Writing Life, p. 68

Monday, May 7, 2012

Amy to perform at Women's Work

Amy will be performing some of her poetry this Sunday at Nashville's sixth annual Women's Work festival. Come and enjoy an afternoon of original poetry and spoken word presented by wonderful women wordsmiths!

Sunday, May 13th, 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, please visit the Tennessee Women's Theater Project.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

As Rupert Murdoch, Fox News, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Robert George, and others discovered, selling perpetual anger (not to mention self-pity and a sense of outraged victimhood) to the proudly misinformed leads to fortune.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 142

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Collect books, even if you don't plan on reading them right away.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 20

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ricky Martin:

To make decisions that represent significant change in one's life, we must go through many processes of destabilization, and very often we opt to stay where we are most comfortable.  And that's how life goes on.  But if we dare to embark on the most difficult option, we come to realize that what exists on the other side is a world of freedom, peace, and endless tranquility.

Me, p. 277

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Jessica Hische:

The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Julian Barnes:

It's easy, after all, not to be a writer.  Most people aren't writers, and very little harm comes to them.

Flaubert's Parrot

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Only after the writer lets literature shape her can she perhaps shape literature.

The Writing Life, p. 69

Monday, April 30, 2012

John Cleese:

We don't know where we get our ideas from.  What we do know is that we do not get them from our laptops.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

I think that the best argument for God's existence is that humans long for meaning.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 88

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Always be reading.  Go to the library.  There's magic in being surrounded by books.  Get lost in the stacks.  Read bibliographies.  It's not the book you start with, it's the book that book leads you to.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 20

Friday, April 27, 2012

Ricky Martin:

As Pablo Picasso said, it takes a long time to be young.  He was right.  It takes a long time to renounce the codes of society, your faith, the laws of your home, and the laws of your country.  It takes a long time to throw out all those social codes that have limited who you are, based on what has been dictated to you.

Me, p. 291

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Anne Truitt:

The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Andy Baio:

Carving out a space for yourself online, somewhere where you can express yourself and share your work, is still one of the best possible investments you can make with your time.  It's why, after ten years, my first response to anyone just getting started online is to start, and maintain, a blog.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Why do you never find anything written about that idiosyncratic thought you advert to, about your fascination with something no one else understands?  Because it is up to you ... You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. 

The Writing Life, p. 67-68

Monday, April 23, 2012

Salvador Dali:

Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

Remember, by the time the writers of the New Testament were remembering forty, fifty, sixty years later what Jesus had said, they were also building a self-interested organization based on His life.  They were settling disputes and splits among themselves.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 85

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Austin Kleon:

School is one thing.  Education is another.  The two don't always overlap.  Whether you're in school or not, it's always your job to get yourself an education.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 19

Friday, April 20, 2012

Ricky Martin:

Every day begins like a blank chalkboard, on which each one of us can write the poem of our present and our dreams for the future.

Me, p. 292

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Misty Irons:

The only way I know how to be a Christian without getting caught up in some of the disturbing trends of evangelicalism today is by not listening to Christian radio or watching Christian television, not becoming too avid a follower of any one Christian blog, and being careful about any book I read from an evangelical publisher. It's sad to say, but I find it's hard enough to hear the voice of God in the Scriptures and discern the leading of his Holy Spirit without also receiving a lot of noise and interference from these other outside sources.

"A fence around the cross"

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Dorothy Parker:

Heterosexuality is not normal, it's just common.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Annie Dillard:

I do not so much write a book as sit up with it, as with a dying friend.  During visiting hours, I enter its room with dread and sympathy for its many disorders.  I hold its hand and hope it will get better.

The Writing Life, p. 52

Monday, April 16, 2012

John Waters:

Nothing is more important than an unread library.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jennifer Wright Knust:

The Bible exceeds whatever limits contemporary "family values" campaigns attempt to place upon it.

Unprotected Texts, p. 33

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Austin Kleon:

The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can't refuse you as an apprentice.  You can learn whatever you want from them.  They left their lesson plans in their work.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 17

Friday, April 13, 2012

Ricky Martin:

Instead of thinking, "I am different from them," try saying, "They are different from me."

Me, p. 289

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

It was as if my mother were struggling to humanize the 5,000-year-old tradition that had consumed whole races in endless war and had inspired collective intellectual suicide by countless Jews and Christians who denied their brains so that they wouldn't put The-God-Of-The-Bible in a bad light by questioning the book that "described" Him.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 91

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Maya Angelou:

If you have only one smile in you, give it to the people you love. Don't be surly at home, then go out in the street and start grinning "Good morning" at total strangers.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Annie Dillard:

Remarkably material also is the writer's attempt to control his own energies so he can work.  He must be sufficiently excited to rouse himself to the task at hand, and not so excited he cannot sit down to it.

The Writing Life, p. 46

Monday, April 9, 2012


Whether I went to school or not, I would always study.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Jennifer Wright Knust:

The Bible is complicated enough, ancient enough, and flexible enough to support an almost endless set of interpretive agendas.  That's why abolitionists could find inspiration in the Bible's pages despite centuries of biblically sanctioned argumentation in favor of the enslavement of fellow human beings.

Unprotected Texts, p. 21

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Austin Kleon:

Seeing yourself as part of a creative lineage will help you feel less alone as you start making your own stuff.  I hang pictures of my favorite artists in my studio.  They're like friendly ghosts.  I can almost feel them pushing me forward as I'm hunched over my desk.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 17

Friday, April 6, 2012

Ricky Martin:

I would be lying if I said the opinions of others have no importance in my life -- of course they do -- but I cannot let them define the way I see myself, making me feel less or more than what I am.  What you think of me is not my reality, but instead your own.

Me, p. 275-276

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

I trust the Love that I see in my grandchildren's eyes as the true witness of God more than anything written in any book.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 88

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Annie Dillard:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.

The Writing Life, p. 32

Monday, April 2, 2012

John Ruskin:

Fine art is that in which the hand, the head, and the heart of man go together.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Jennifer Wright Knust:

The Bible does not offer a systematic set of teachings or a single sexual code, but it does reveal sometimes conflicting attempts on the part of people and groups to define sexual morality, and to do so in the name of God.

Unprotected Texts, p. 17

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Ralph Waldo Emerson:

'Tis curious that we only believe as deep as we live.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Ricky Martin:

It took me a long time to really believe that what people think of me is not my business, that it has nothing to do with me.

Me, p. 275

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Frank Schaeffer:

No matter how bad Pat Robertson's public relations judgment was in blurting out his belief that the Haitians were to blame for their own destruction, Robertson's outrageous statements are symptomatic of the tendency -- in fact, the necessity -- for all religious extremists to demonize The Other.  They must blame the victim since to do otherwise would be to blame their version of God for such tragic events.

Sex, Mom, and God, p. 72

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Andre Gide:

Everything that needs to be said has already been said.  But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Annie Dillard:

I cannot imagine a sorrier pursuit than struggling for years to write a book that attempts to appeal to people who do not read in the first place.

The Writing Life, p. 19

Monday, March 26, 2012

Austin Kleon:

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere.  All creative work builds on what came before.  Nothing is completely original.

Steal Like an Artist, p. 7

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jennifer Wright Knust:

One cannot and should not expect easy answers from the Bible, a lesson that Americans, at least, should have learned a century ago.

Unprotected Texts, p. 11

Saturday, March 24, 2012

John Shore:

... showing the kind of honesty and integrity it takes to come out sets a great and encouraging example to others. It sends a very positive message to everyone that they, too, should be, and can be, brave about being who they are. That’s such an [sic] vital message to send. It’s what makes life work: we all get our strength from the strength, goodness, and bravery of others.

"61, gay, and closeted: is it too late for him?"

Friday, March 23, 2012

Ricky Martin:

Today, I understand that I can't expect everybody to love me, and as silly as it may sound, it took me a long time to absorb and understand that.

Me, p. 274