It was completely fruitless to quarrel with the world, whereas the quarrel with oneself was occasionally fruitful and always, she had to admit, interesting.
Don’t forget that compared to a grownup person every baby is a genius.
I would like to believe when I die that I have given myself away like a tree that sows seed every spring and never counts the loss, because it is not loss, it is adding to future life. It is the tree’s way of being. Strongly rooted perhaps, but spilling out its treasure on the wind.
Most people have to talk so they won’t hear.
Words are more powerful than perhaps anyone suspects, and once deeply engraved in a child’s mind, the are not easily eradicated.
One does not “find oneself” by pursuing one’s self, but on the contrary by pursuing something else and learning through discipline or routine … who one is and wants to be.
May we agree that private life is irrelevant? Multiple, mixed, ambiguous at best—out of it we try to fashion the crystal clear, the singular, the absolute, and that is what is relevant; that is what matters.
Joy, happiness … we do not question. They are beyond question, maybe. A matter of being. But pain forces us to think, and to make connections … to discover what has been happening to cause it. And, curiously enough, pain draws us to other human beings in a significant way, whereas joy or happiness to some extent, isolates.
The creative person, the person who moves from an irrational source of power, has to face the fact that this power antagonizes. Under all the superficial praise of the “creative” is the desire to kill. It is the old war between the mystic and the nonmystic, a war to the death.
A man with a talent does what is expected of him, makes his way, constructs, is an engineer, a composer, a builder of bridges. It’s the natural order of things that he construct objects outside himself and his family. The woman who does so is aberrant. We have to expiate for this cursed talent someone handed out to us, by mistake, in the black mystery of genetics.
A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.
- Sarah Orne Jewett American Children’s Books Writer
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