Sarah Silverman: "Nothing’s more attractive than an unending monologue about your shortcomings."
Carolyn Hax: "Sometimes surrendering to the awful is more useful than fighting it."
Graham Joyce: "why can’t our job here on earth be simply to inspire each other?"
Dan Harmon: "I believe in magic. I believe in mythology. I believe in shamanism. I believe that spells can be cast and I believe that random things coalesce and reveal themselves to be part of a plan we don’t control, you know."
Nora Ephron: "Never turn down a front-row seat for human folly."
McAlvie "The ultimate downfall of modern civilization won't be war; it'll be Twitter and Facebook."
Jenny Zhang: "A lot of writers swear by routine, but I swear by chaos. There’s enough fucking routine in my life. Every day I have to brush my teeth. Every day I have to smile at strangers. Every day I have to worry about money. Every day I want something I can’t have. Every day I find some way to go on! I know that writing every day for an hour would help me tremendously with writer’s block, but I also know that I need an element of wildness in my writing. I need to know that writing is something I do because it sets me free. It makes me feel golden with confidence. It gives me the gift of gab. I feel like a god. I feel like an entertainer. So write when you damn well please."
Joe Queenan: "If you have read 6,000 books in your lifetime, or even 600, it's probably because at some level you find "reality" a bit of a disappointment. People in the 19th century fell in love with "Ivanhoe" and "The Count of Monte Cristo" because they loathed the age they were living through. Women in our own era read "Pride and Prejudice" and "Jane Eyre" and even "The Bridges of Madison County"—a dimwit, hayseed reworking of "Madame Bovary"—because they imagine how much happier they would be if their husbands did not spend quite so much time with their drunken, illiterate golf buddies down at Myrtle Beach. A blind bigamist nobleman with a ruined castle and an insane, incinerated first wife beats those losers any day of the week. Blind, two-timing noblemen never wear belted shorts."
LogicalDash: "Nobody of any age should have to fend off sexual partners. That such defense is assumed as a part of the cost of adult courtship is suggestive of some more fundamental problem than age difference and its effect on consensuality."
Keith Richards: "I had to invent the job, you know," he said, earlier. "There wasn't a sign in the shop window, saying, "Wanted: Keith Richards."
Caitlin Moran: "As I started to reassess my writing style, I thought about what I liked doing--what gave me satisfaction--and realized the primary one was just... pointing at things. Pointing out things I liked, and showing them to other people--like a mum shouting, "Look! Moo-cows!" as a train rushes past a farm. I liked pointing at things, and I liked being reasonable and polite about stuff. Or silly. Silly was very, very good. No one ever got hurt by silly.
Best of all was being pointedly silly about serious things: politics, repression, bigotry. Too many commentators are quick to accuse their enemies of being evil. It's far, far more effective to point out that they're acting like idiots, instead. I was up for idiot-revealing.
"I am just going to be polite and silly, and point at cool things," I decided. "When I started writing, I would have killed to have one thing to write about. Now, I have three. Politeness and silliness, and pointing. That's enough."
Carolyn Hax: "Unless 15 years’ worth of mail has misled me, no one has ever found love through complaining about the lack of it, and no lonely person has ever felt better for hearing, “You just haven’t found the right person yet.”
David Simon: "Change is a motherfucker when you run from it."
Joe Queenan: "People who read an enormous number of books are basically dissatisfied with the way things are going on this planet. And I think, in a way, people read for the same reason that kids play video games ... they like that world better. It works better, it's more exciting, and it usually has a more satisfactory ending."
Dan Savage: "There isn't someone for everyone. Some of us do wind up alone, and that just fucking sucks and sometimes that stings, and you don't know if you're one of those people who's going to wind up alone until you die alone....So you kind of have to live in hope and build a life for yourself that's rewarding and fun, has friends and pleasure in it, whether you're alone or not."
the painkiller: "I will not be tagged, pinned, circled, liked, tweeted, retweeted or numbered."
Steve Jobs: "Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.
Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”
Apple: "Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do."
Miss Manners: "Please do not -- repeat, not -- make a hostile approach to knitters. Have you not noticed that they are armed with long, pointy sticks?"
Stephen Tobolowsky: "And of course, nothing is what I figured on in my life. That seems to be a recurring theme."
James Bulls: "When you find yourself walking a true path, you will know it because you will want to walk it no matter the burning Sun, freezing sleet, torrential rain, and treacherous ground. The risks become no less and the journey as always exhausts you, but your desire to brave the challenges never diminishes."
Amy Argetsinger: "Twitter is a disease, plain and simple. It makes people insane. A decade from now I expect the CDC and FDA will be issuing warnings."
Cary Tennis: "You don't have to "move on" either. Not until you're ready. People say, Oh, you should be grateful. They say, Oh, it's time for you to move on. I'm like, What are you, a cop with a nightstick? I'll move on when I'm done playing the blues on my harmonica, thank you very much."
Mark Morford: "It is 2011 and here is what we know: Reality is fluid, fact is malleable, cause and effect completely uncertain. We know what we don't know, but we also know the opposite."
Charlie Jane Anders: "Just remember, if you flinch from your destiny, you'll never achieve your true greatness — you didn't choose to be chosen, but being chosen means you have to choose."
Roger Ebert: "To put it bluntly, I believe the world is patriarchal because men are bigger and stronger than women, and can beat them up."
Myca: "Jesus is not the reason for the season, and there's no way I need to act like he is. Christmas is a stolen tradition. There's no reason we can't steal it back."
Lady Gaga: "I hate the holidays! I'm alone and miserable, you fucking dumb bit of toy!"
Dianna Agron: "I am trying to live my life with a sharpie marker approach. You can’t erase the strokes you’ve made, but each step is much bolder and more deliberate."
John Mayer: "It occurred to me that since the invocation of Twitter, nobody who has participated in it has created any lasting art. And yes! Yours truly is included in that roundup as well. Let me make sure that statement is as absolute and irrevocable as possible by buzzing your tower one more time: no artwork created by someone with a healthy grasp of social media thus far has proven to be anything other than disposable."
Vanessa, Something Positive: "I like 'em crazy. You hear insane rants, I hear a reminder that the sex is interesting. Oooh! Hear that? Tonight's gonna tingle."
Anonymous: “Your problem is that you want to be an artist. What you need to be is an artisan.”
Sugar: "Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it."
Wide Lawns: "Often very odd things happen to me. Usually they are not my fault and mostly beyond my control."
Anonymous reporter: “When weird shit happens around here, weird shit really happens around here.”
Anne Johnson: "Today some stranger sent me an email that said, "You are a nut case." Well, I must admit this never would have occurred to me. Everyone else is a nut case. I'm the sane one. I think."
Carl Mayer: "Whenever I start to feel like my life isn’t where I want it to be, “Cops” is there to put everything into perspective. Yeah, I haven’t made all the right moves over the last 34 years, but I’m not hiding from the police under a kiddie pool, either."
John Scalzi: "In retrospect, it’s a little weird to think that my entire future was falling into place as I obliviously tucked into the El Presidente chimichanga platter, but of course, that’s life for you — the most important days of your existence don’t always announce themselves in obvious ways."
"I love created family. It's different. Family movies are about, Well, you're stuck with them but they're kind of lovable. I'm like, No, they're not and, no, I’m not. Nicholas Ray did a lot of the same thing. I studied his stuff a lot with my professor and the idea of the created family appealed to me enormously because the idea of a family that you build yourself ... People who discover that they need each other, as opposed to people who are related to each other and driving each other crazy for their whole lives, seem to me the most compelling story."
Dear writers: Please stop doing this. Please stop introducing new characters with the sole personality trait of “obstruction to the couple everyone knows will end up together.” Please stop telling us before they show up that you think we’ll really like them. If you’re right, you’ve got your protagonist breaking a perfectly good person’s heart (See: Richard, Superman Returns) OR you end up committing character assassination in order to make that character bad and therefore absolve your protagonist of any blame. (See: Jason Teague in Smallville. Hmm. You know what? Don’t mess with Superman on this at all.)
If you’re wrong, you’ve got bland filler that’s attracting all sorts of fan hate just by existing. If they’re lucky, the audience ends up forgetting they were ever even there. That’s what happens when you write a plot point rather than a person."
"This isn’t just a love triangle. Instead, this is when the writers aren’t really sure where they want the characters to end up, so they keep all the balls in the air. Every pairing’s a possibility! Everyone loves everyone! We’ll just wait for the audience to tell us which ones they like. Or for the actors to develop chemistry. Or for the tea leaves to finish steeping. Just don’t force us into a decision, we’re not ready! Characters pair up, break up, form new pairings, break those up, go back to each other... eventually someone has to walk away, right? Or, in the alternative, no one ever gets together, they just all alternately stare longingly at some and glare jealously at others.
By all accounts, the new Tomorrow People had this problem in spades. Astrid and Stephen? Stephen and Cara? Cara and John? Cara and Stephen?"
"And then, the extensive conversations between myself and the writers' room went along the lines of two texts that were, "How do you feel about working with a flamingo?" Well, one text. And then a followup: "Bwah ha ha ha!" Them laughing. And that's pretty much all I knew about Season 2.
But there were four flamingos, as they told me, ranging in aggressive natures from quite mild to psychotic. And the nicest one was called Simon, and then the one that was a menace to society was called Cannibal.
And Cannibal, we had to do this scene where I had to chase the flamingo around, and maybe be chased by the flamingo. And it all looked very funny on paper, but then I sort of arrived and said, "Just checking: It's not dangerous? It's a flamingo, right? It's not dangerous?" And they went, "Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, Cowboy -- that thing will peck your eyes out." And I was like, "Okay..." And by the way, the handlers kept calling me "Cowboy," which did not inspire confidence. And so the girl put her arm out, and Cannibal just went to town, just, like, pecking away like a maniac. And so I thought, "This is worrying."
And then, it turned out that Cannibal really liked me! Cannibal sort of refused to peck me or chase me or be chased by me. Cannibal just wanted a hug. But then, as soon as the handlers came back in, Cannibal went nuts again. So we had to have them sort of stand off-camera, so that they would either run away from them or towards them. Poor Cannibal. I think he was pretty happy when his day was over."
“I’m unbaked cookie dough,” Buffy said, of why she wasn’t ready for a “grown-up” relationship. Girl, you can decide you’re not ready to “settle down,” whatever that means. You do you, you know? But you’re not fucking “unbaked”—you’ve survived your mother’s death, died twice yourself, literally battled demons, saved the world, and loved and lost multiple times over. When, exactly, would you consider yourself “fully baked”?
One is never not oneself, and yet that self is also constantly changing, recalibrating, growing, shrinking, evolving, as it comes into contact with people and experiences that assert their unique effect on it. So yes, you could wait to “see what you’ll become,” but that could be true of the relationship between any one moment and any other moment in the future. And sure, if you want to have time to figure out your career without the burdens of being beholden to another person, or save money before you start having children, or just be on your own because that’s what you think you need, those are legitimate logistical and emotional concerns, but to presume that you are less full a person now than you will be at some later date seems to undermine everyone’s humanity, or place people who have either age or a determined list of “growth-oriented” experiences under their belt in some higher category of personhood than others. Which is also not to say that years and experiences do nothing to enrich (or even sometimes, unfortunately, to damage) the self, but only to say that the self is just as “self” at any instantaneous moment, and that time and experience act on the self in unexpected and interesting ways, yes, but not in some linear, predictable way that will result in a recognizable moment of having “become” oneself after which it’s all just living as that actualized self until you die. How very boring.
I’m not here to give life advice—please wait as long as you’d like to get married or move abroad or take a desk job or whatever. Or never do any of those things—there’s no “right way” to live a “good” life. But never believe the lie that you need to “become yourself.” You are already yourself. Which doesn’t negate the fact that every experience you have and every choice you do make—even and sometimes especially the “little” ones—isn’t transforming you. Marriage transforms; so does living alone; so does the death of your first pet, and hearing your parents fight for the first time, and, I don’t know, stumbling across a field of lavender. Just as some improv scenes are “important” because they’re the day he asks for a divorce, the day she gets the promotion, the day the apocalypse begins, some improv scenes are important not because they are “big,” but because of how a seemingly mundane scenario impacts the characters, reveals their strengths or weaknesses, asks them to confront some long-held prejudice or long-harbored fear.
And if we wait for those moments to seem “important”—on stage or in life—or wait to feel more “ready” by some arbitrary clock that claims we’re grown or ready rather than by our own internal belief in the fullness of our self and all of our experiences—we keep looking out toward the horizon of some imagined future self that falls away from us as we approach it, and never see ourselves, or the people in front of us, for the full, flawed, messy, beautiful people that we are now. And now. And now."