“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too.”
– Isabel Allende
“The pursuit of happiness is more elusive; it is life-long, and it is not goal-centered. What you are pursuing is meaning — a meaningful life. There’s the hap — the fate, the draw that is yours, and it isn’t fixed, but changing the course of the stream, or dealing new cards, whatever metaphor you want to use — that’s going to take a lot of energy. There are times when it will go so wrong that you will barely be alive, and times when you realize that being barely alive, on your own terms, is better than living a bloated half-life on someone else’s terms. The pursuit isn’t all or nothing — it’s all AND nothing.”
– Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson (via withgreatgusto)
“In the end, it doesn’t matter if one is writing about a huckster or a fraud. The best work still enables readers to experience their subjects as human beings, not as mere objects of curiosity.”
– Jonathan Mahler
And the woman said, The serpent
beguiled me, and I did eat.
— Genesis 3:13
Beguiled, my ass. I said no such thing.
You say I lost the gift of Paradise.
I couldn’t lose what I never had.
You say the serpent tempted me to eat.
You omit that he entered the Garden
on two legs and walked like a man.
And here’s what your story always ignores:
I had pure gold, rare perfume, precious stones,
but Adam hadn’t touched me all those years.
Perfection in the Garden didn’t mean that way.
Not having it and not wanting it
was God’s idea of perfection, not mine.
So when that serpent strolled up to the tree,
all upright and fine, he threw off the balance,
and I began to pray, Oh, let him be mine.
When he held out the apple, so round and lush,
when he stroked it to a keen red glow,
I didn’t fall to temptation – I rose to it.
I ate that apple because I was hungry.
I wanted what lay outside of Paradise,
a world without the burden of perfection.
Now you call all sinful women my sisters.
I say, let them claim their own damn sins.
The apple may not be perfect, but it’s mine.
The Shortness of Life – Seneca on busyness and the art of living wide rather than living long, spectacular read.
“I always give people this advice when people ask me how to do things—and it’s not like I’m in a position to advise people on how to do anything. But I feel like we try to make these big decisions, and really we only have to make small decisions, in all moments. I don’t understand the big decision thing. What are you deciding? In fact, you can’t make the big decisions. You do not have the power to. And so it’s hilarious. I really hope that satellite out there orbits one degree to the left! Well, great, you know? There is a chance that your desire for that, depending on the course of your night, could possibly have an effect on that—but it’s unlikely. Maybe that’s where sensitivity and the Long Now match up, because I only make small decisions. But what that means is that I’m making actual decisions, not imaginary decisions. I think that probably what happens is we make a lot of imaginary decisions, and then because we’re distracted making those, we don’t make the small ones—the real ones. And we find ourselves, like, “Wait – I don’t understand how I got here!” It’s like, “Well, you didn’t make any decisions.”“But I did. I went to law school, and I picked a firm, and I decided to go to Geneva that summer,” and it’s like—but you didn’t choose what you were going to buy at the market, you didn’t chose what you were going to do the next day. So right, I never chose what I wanted to do in life because I didn’t know, and I was so angry when people asked me what I wanted to do. It was like, “Right now? I want to stop having this conversation.”
– Tamar Adler, in The Believer