There's a tiredness of abstract inteligence, and it's the most horrible of tirednesses. It doesn't weight on you like the tiredness of the body, nor does it worry you like the tiredness of knowledge and emotion. It's a weightiness of the conscience of the world, an inability of the soul to breathe.

    Fernando Pessoa

    “Living in Puerto Rico right now is like practice for the future in a world where no real steps are taken to move toward sustainable energy, to sustainable anything. It’s practice to hurry to get work down while it’s possible, to read while there’s light, to shower when there’s water, to fill every container with some for cleaning and hopefully enough for drinking. It’s practice to eat all the avocados that fell from trees. (My husband tells me that his grandfather always told him he knew a storm was coming because avocados would fall from their trees: a signal, an offer from the earth.) It’s practice for survival, imposed upon a colony by the United States empire and its cronies. It’s the theft of working people’s lives by the rich and powerful, untouched as they are by it all. The other day, someone said, “I just don’t want to wake up and think about this. I want to think about anything else.” So much time, so much creativity, so much leisure! Stolen.”

    from the desk of Alicia Kennedy, ‘On Hurricane Fiona’

    None of that worked. What my mind needed to know was that someone was there to make it all better. That summer, through gritted teeth, I’d decided that person was me, not a man or a family, and it would only ever be me. I had to stop hoping for someone to come along and love me. I had to do it myself, ducking my head and barreling through anything life brought.

    - Stephanie Land, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive


    “When I saw you again and took a walk with you, I had the same feeling I used to have more than I do now, as though life were something good and precious that one should cherish, and I felt more cheerful and alive than I had been for a long time, because in spite of myself life has gradually become or has seemed much less precious to me, much more unimportant and indifferent.”

    — Vincent van Gogh, in a letter to Theo van Gogh in August 1879 (via weltenwellen)


    “I am not ‘half Japanese’ and ‘half Lithuanian Jewish.“ When I’m singing a Japanese folk song, I don’t sing with half my voice, but with my whole voice. When I’m taping together my grandparents’ Jewish marriage contract, worn by time but still resilient, it’s not half of my heart that is moved, but my whole heart. I am complete, and I embody layers of identities that belong together. I am made of layers, not fractions.”

    — Yumi Tomsha


    “… a myth shows something, it’s a story spoken to a purpose, it issues a warning, it gives an account which advises and tells often by bringing into play showings of fantastical shape and invention – monsters. Myths define enemies and aliens and in conjuring them up they say who we are and what we want, they tell stories to impose structure and order. Like fiction, they can tell the truth even while they’re making it all up.”

    — Marina Warner, Six Myths of Our Time (Boys Will Be Boys: The Making of the Male)

    “Authentic derives from the Greek “αὐθέντης,” which carries the dual meaning of “one who acts with authority” and “made by one’s own hand”. Lionel Trilling’s recollection of “the violent meanings which are explicit in the Greek ancestry of the word” deepens the meaning and contrasts it with the commodification that the term has undergone in a Western-driven marketplace: “Authenteo: to have full power over; also, to commit a murder. Authentes: not only a master and a doer, but also a perpetrator, a murderer, even a self-murderer, a suicide”. Such etymological layers need not reverberate fully in the present usage of the term, although the violence caused in the name of, say, ethnic or religious authenticity are painful present-day realizations of such old Greek meanings”

    — Regina Bendix, In Search of Authenticity: The Formation of Folklore Studies (1997).

    The Best [advice]:The best writing advice I ever received was in a fortune cookie that said: “the work teaches you how to do it.” The work, the art, whatever you wish to create, is the best teacher—an organizing intelligence begins to reveal itself only when you start writing. So get to work! The second best writing advice is Goethe’s “do not hurry; do not rest.” 

    Naheed Phiroze Patel, 10 Asian American writers on the best (and worst) advice they’ve ever received. (by Katie Yee)

    We are alive. And now the work is to be gentler with ourselves and with the world. I want such a sweet life for you. I want the fierceness of attention, of the light coming over the hill, of your own hand bringing a cup to your mouth. Of love, which will abide so much longer than the fire.

    Molly McCully Brown, from Places I've Taken My Body: Essays


    “I have noticed that when all the lights are on, people tend to talk about what they are doing – their outer lives. Sitting round in candlelight or firelight, people start to talk about how they are feeling – their inner lives. They speak subjectively, they argue less, there are longer pauses. To sit alone without any electric light is curiously creative. I have my best ideas at dawn or at nightfall, but not if I switch on the lights – then I start thinking about projects, deadlines, demands, and the shadows and shapes of the house become objects, not suggestions, things that need to done, not a background to thought.”

    Why I adore the night, by Jeanette Winterson
    (via lostpolaroids)

    “I, who have lived, and trod [the] lovely earth, Raced with her winds and listened to her birds, Have cared but little for their worldly worth Nor sought to put my passion into words. But now it’s different: and I have no rest Because my hand must search, dissect and spell The beauty that is better not expressed, The thing that all can feel, but none can tell.”

    Charles Hamilton Sorley, from section III of “Marlborough,” Death and the Downs: The Poetry of Charles Hamilton Sorley, ed. Brett Rutherford (Yogh & Thorn, 2010)