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."
Tart and Soul: "Indeed, love comes whether we have braced ourselves for it or not. But commitment offers a choice, tapping us on the shoulder to say, “sorry to bother you. Is this a good time?”
"Across practices, across cultures, and throughout historical periods, when people support and engage in violence, their primary motivations are moral. By ‘moral’, I mean that people are violent because they feel they must be; because they feel that their violence is obligatory. They know that they are harming fully human beings. Nonetheless, they believe they should. Violence does not stem from a psychopathic lack of morality. Quite the reverse: it comes from the exercise of perceived moral rights and obligations.
At the same time, if violence is motivated by moral sentiments, what is it motivated toward? What are these perpetrators trying to achieve? The general pattern we found was that the violence was intended to regulate social relationships.
But if we really want to cut rates of violence, we must focus on its moral motives. Simply stated, violence must be made immoral. This must hold both for the perpetrators and the people they care about. Only when violence in any relationship is seen as a violation of every relationship will it diminish."
"Like this: “I feel like you’re trying to get with me but I don’t feel you like that. I’m not into it. If I’m misreading you, sorry! If I got it wrong, that just means we need to change the way we interact.” If he acts surprised, is offended or gets defensive, just nod and say: “So we’re good, then, right?” Then turn and walk away. If he curses at you, say nothing. If you must have a comeback, try this: “You just proved that I made the right choice. Thank you.” And, be genuinely grateful. Remember, it’s OK for someone to flirt with you, and it’s absolutely essential to let that person know you are not interested. If he fails to receive the message, and you fail to take care of yourself, you bear more of the responsibility for the resulting problem than he does. So step up. He’s trying to sell you. You aren’t buying. It’s normal for him to be disappointed, hurt, even a little angry. It’s not normal or healthy or smart for you to take care of his feelings. That’s his job."
"The national decline in English studies is blamed in part on the recession and students shifting to business-related majors like economics to bolster their post-graduation chances of finding jobs. Professors also point to changes in general education requirements that allow students to get writing credit for courses taught in other departments.
UC Davis has seen a modest dip in English majors — slipping 12 percent over a five-year period from 692 in 2008–09 to 607 in 2012–13, according to English Chair Liz Miller. Last academic year saw a slight rebound to 619.
Nationwide, the number of English undergraduate degrees dropped from 55,518 in 2009 to 52,489 in 2013, according to data compiled by the Modern Language Association. That is about a 5.5 percent decline over the five-year period.
The shift away from English studies may not be a wise career move for students, Miller said: “The funny thing is that recent studies have actually shown that English majors do fairly well on the job market, compared to other undergraduate majors.”
UC Davis English alumni can be found in a wide array of fields, including journalism, the tech industry, law, the nonprofit sector, teaching, marketing, counseling and medicine.
“English majors have been trained to read, write and communicate, and our classes emphasize and prioritize critical thinking,” Miller said. “As it turns out, those are useful skills for any number of possible careers, and employers know that.”
Hah. Look, speaking as an English major: I was taking it for fun, not because it was a smart career move. But I'm not smart enough to be able to handle majoring in STEM, so anything I majored in was going to be "for dummies," pretty much. I've managed to have a career, but after my first few years of working, I don't think anyone's much cared about my reading and writing on the job, since I got laid off from a writing job and can't find any other ones any more--and my former coworkers who've been laid off since then are freelancing and that's...it, I guess.
Though to be fair, even the STEM majors and lawyers are having trouble these days. I don't know what's a slam dunk any more.
“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."
"But “Rockit” was totally different. It was utterly transformative. Once my brain heard that, I needed it all the time. It was an itch that couldn’t be scratched by anything other than music. At first, it was just that one song, but then, of course, many others followed.
"Step two. You know how you feel completely and utterly demotivated right now? You know how you have zero desire to accomplish any of your goals because making the smallest most inconsequential step feels like trying to run under water so why even bother? You need to crush that right now, sister. Pretend to Don Draper/Jack Donogue/Lord Grantham/White Dudebro with Massive Privilege of Your Choice if you need to, but the quickest way to uncross yourself is to tell the universe to go fuck itself and that you’re not going to be stopped by petty shit like possibly being denied life improving medication by your insurance carrier because can’t stop, won’t stop. If you hustle when it’s hardest, the universe will be like, “Well, shit ant 937465465895969696962113, you sure have some moxy to you, don’t you? Alright, I want to see what you’re going to try to build since you are undeterred by every obstacle I throw in your path. Let’s see what you do, champ.”
""Do you feel like you could throw up in your own mouth at any given time when you think about how many of your bite sized pieces you still have to do? Do you feel seasick from shaking up your internal ant farm so hard? Do you regularly question why you’re doing this? Do you have no idea how you will actually actualize any of this crazy shit you decided was your Great Work? If not, then you are not where you think you are. Trust me. If so, you’re in the middle of the forest. You need to re-evaluate your bite sized steps and your Great Work and make sure you are still synched up with what you wanted in the beginning of this debacle. Here’s a hint: Some of it shouldn’t be synched up at this point. Like, I thought I could cobble together a living through my craft business and writing. Um, wrong. Re-evaluate. My larger goals? Still on point."
"over the years, I have realized that the people asking me that question aren't really asking for my advice about their careers in the law. Rather, their real question is almost always something else: will law school be a solution to my fears about the future?
And the answer is that it won't. Law school is a very good way to solve the problem of being ineligible for a license to practice law. It is not a very good way to solve the "I don't know what to do with my life" problem, or the "I am afraid that if I follow my true passion I will fail" problem, or the "I am desperate for other people's approval" problem."
"For one thing, other careers actually do have their own structured paths, albeit less obvious ones — and they probably don't require you to give up three years of your career or incur mountains of debt. If you take a little time to figure things out, you'll find that almost all careers do have paths one can follow to achieve reasonable success.
Take, for instance, becoming a comedy writer. I choose an extreme example on purpose: if you're struggling with the kinds of fears I described above, the idea of pursuing that kind of career probably seems like a joke in and of itself.
But it isn't. If comedy writing is what you want to do, then there's a path you can follow to achieve it: move to New York or LA. Take classes at the Upright Citizens Brigade. After you've taken some classes, apply to join an improv or sketch team. After you've been on a team for a while, you'll have a reputation within the community for being funny, and that will get you paid work: as a comedy teacher, on ad campaigns, for comedy sites like Funny or Die and College Humor. You'll piece things together, and eventually it will turn into a full-time gig, maybe even on a TV show like Saturday Night Live, or a sitcom.
Presto: a path. One that many people I know have taken.
Yes, it will take years. Yes, it requires talent. (Though not as much as you'd think — you would be amazed at how practice and persistence can be transformed into talent over time.) Yes, you will be broke for most of those years, and probably working part-time or dead-end jobs to make ends meet while you pursue your real goal.
But that's not actually very different from law. Law school also takes years. You will be broke for most of those years (or worse than broke: living off of student loans to cover your living expenses). Being a lawyer also requires a combination of talent and hard work and persistence. And law school, unlike $400-a-term evening classes at UCB, will leave you tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.
The point here is not that you should become a comedy writer. It's that the career abyss isn't as dark and chaotic as it seems. There are similar paths for becoming a startup founder, a journalist, a movie producer, or just about anything else that doesn't require a graduate degree. Starting at the bottom doesn't mean getting stuck there."
This is also very good to point out. I think it's frustrating that a lot of things don't really have that black and white set path of the professional schools, but it's nice to see her point out that there's more of a path to other things that we think.
"law degree is not a "great all-purpose degree." That’s a lie put about by parents who are trying to lure their children into middle-class professions and by law schools who want their money. A JD is not an all-purpose degree. It is a law degree. It does not qualify you to become a diplomat, a "senior policy adviser" to anything, a politician, a banker, an aid worker, a political operative, or any of those other jobs that seem like they might be a fun way to satisfy your West Wing fantasies. It qualifies you to be a lawyer. (And it doesn’t really even do that — there’s still the pesky matter of the bar exam.)
That tapping sound you hear is the noise of thousands of indignant readers opening a Gmail tab to send me the names of diplomats, politicians, bankers, and senior policy advisers who do so have JD degrees, so ha!
But correlation is not causation. The fact that all of those people have JDs doesn't mean the JDs got them those jobs. Rather, it's often evidence of the legal profession's dirty little secret: that JDs are thick on the ground in other industries because so many people get law degrees, discover they hate the profession, and then flee it."
Hah, yeah. I don't know why anyone thinks that's an "all purpose degree" at all. That's crazy.
"In addition, my parents have been very adamant about what they want for our wedding, have never prioritized what my fiance wants and have not respected our wishes.
In all these situations, unfortunately, I don't think I've stood up for my fiance strongly. He has stopped talking with my parents, and tells me I should threaten to cut off relations with them unless they apologize to him and become much kinder to him. He feels hurt and upset because I have given in to many of their wishes.
My mother especially has long been very controlling and rarely sympathetic or kind, and I am honestly scared to stand up to her.
Should I threaten to cut off my parents? How can I gain courage to stand up for myself when I am basically afraid of my controlling mother? Is my fiance being too harsh in telling me I should stop talking to my parents, when I am an only child? I don't know how to fix this situation."
Yeah...I never figured out how to solve this either, other than "break up and remain single for life as God intended for you."
"These are decisions and actions for an adult, and, unfortunately, you've been denied a chance to become one.
A controlling parent sets the agenda, makes the decisions, draws lines on what others should and should not think ("and thus my dad"?!), plans the events -- and cultivates in her family an abiding fear of her displeasure.
So, what practice did you ever have as a child at making your own decisions? Expressing your own opinions, defending your own choices or arguments? Reconciling your preferences with the conflicting preferences of others? The last one alone is a huge part of navigating the adult world: We all have to find a way to share space -- a home, a neighborhood, a workplace, a country, a planet -- with those who passionately disagree with us on something.
The easiest way to learn these skills is in small increments from a very young age, in the safety of home with parents who let you know their love for you is not conditioned on your doing everything perfectly to their liking, and who give you enough room to make your own, age-appropriate choices. Learning firsthand from the consequences of these choices, good and bad, is how you discover who you are. That, in turn, gives you the self-knowledge and confidence not only to make tough decisions, but also to stand up for them while remaining open to new information.
This is the easiest way for kids to gain experience, but it can be the hardest for parents. It requires two kinds of letting go: on the micro level, where you let go of goofy outfits as kids learn to dress themselves or of messy kitchens as kids learn to feed themselves; and the macro level, where you accept your child might not reach adulthood believing what you believe, valuing what you value or doing what you expect.
This is what an insecure parent fears most -- and that fear is the root of controlling behavior.
I won't advise you which side to choose here, especially since a fiance who insists you do X is hardly an emotional step up from a parent who insists you do Y. As right as he is to be outraged at your parents' disrespect, not to mention at a wedding tailored to your mother's whims -- his asking you to cut ties to your parents takes that frustration too far.
And, more important, it fails to address the underlying problem, that you're not strong enough to advocate for yourself, much less for somebody else. Which means marrying anyone is premature, even if this man turns out to be great for you.
I've mentioned the easiest path, which is obviously not possible without time travel. The hardest, though, is still available to you: choosing never to learn these lessons at all. That's the choice you make by default if you keep trying to appease both your parents and your fiance. Always torn, always disappointing someone, always wondering who's right.
Finally, there's the path that's difficult now but so much easier with time: getting help, and getting that education your mother was too cowardly to allow you. A good, reputable family therapist can serve as that safe place as you learn to tune out parents, fiance, friends, and a lifetime of expectations long enough to identify your own voice.
Your honesty says you have courage; you just need your own convictions to show you when and how to use it."
The thing everyone has told me is that "you have to put HIM first." He's your future, your parents are your past, you can't get married without putting him first, you have to defend him to your family, etc. I'm surprised Carolyn's not going that route. I've been told that this sort of reaction is reasonable from a guy when you have parents like that, especially when they're not used to your family dynamics. Which is to say, I can't tell if he needs dumping because he's just like her parents or not.
Either way, what it boils down to if you're not appeasing is that you're pissing everyone off, and are you able to take that rage?