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."
"The terrible paradox of growing up around people who tell you directly, over and over again, that your feelings don’t matter, is that the only way to assert your right to have feelings at all is by acting like a huge asshole. They’ve essentially given you no choice, because every tiny protest is met with the same response: “Your needs don’t matter, and in fact you’re an asshole for mentioning your needs at all.” No wonder it’s hard to tell whether you’re being an asshole or just being a regular person. Emotionally, you’re in a straightjacket, wrapped in heavy chains, packed into a tomb, and submerged in a shark tank. You either have to magically become Houdini overnight, or you have to burn it all down, yourself included."
In the meantime, the best advice I can give you in this moment is to go out tonight and have a really good meal. Go to your favorite restaurant. Order your favorite dish.
I know that seems trite, but it’s not meant to be. I’m quite serious. When I was having a day like you’re having today, that was the single best piece of advice that anyone gave me — go treat yourself to a special meal."
Let’s talk about what that means. First of all, you want someone you already know. You don’t want to go out and meet new, unknown people. That’s common. We want an ex-boyfriend or a former lover or the guy who’s dating the girl next door or a celebrity, of all stupid fucking preteen things. We want someone we see all the time, who is in our circle but unreachable, who is in our past but untouchable. That seems romantic, and easy to picture. We know how he would laugh, how he would stare adoringly.
Instead of starting from scratch, you’re using a character that’s already fully fleshed-out — like a Ken doll — and placing him in each of your imaginary scenes. That’s not falling in love, though. That’s playing games of make-believe. You don’t actually know that much about the dolls you play with. You only know about the stories you’ve MADE UP for them. Falling in love with your flatmate is like falling in love with a Hemsworth.
Or, more accurately, you’re in love with the idea of yourself as Hemsworth’s love interest. Think of the moment you cue up for yourself, over and over again: Your flatmate reaches over to kiss you. It’s like he sees you for the first time, and suddenly YOU MATTER. You are not a gremlin, licking its lips on the sidelines. You are worthy. You win.
This scenario has nothing to do with him, and it has nothing to do with falling in love. You aren’t in love with him. You’re in love with the idea of being delivered from the world of gremlins into the world of gorgeous creatures who are worthy of adoration. Your fantasy is kind of like emotional, identity-focused pornography: In your money shot, you are accepted and embraced for the first time."
I’m here to tell you that I didn’t do anything differently than I normally did. I didn’t fundamentally change any part of myself to finally find a happy relationship: I didn’t read a slew of self-help books and start going to SoulCycle to Get Right. I didn’t try a new dating app or a new therapist, and I didn’t arrive at some place of spiritual enlightenment at the end of which I announced to the world, “I am ready for love,” with my arms outstretched in the air. Reader, I got lucky. That’s it. For once in my life I got phenomenally lucky. I’m still the same old me with the same insecurities and biases and hangups but now I’ve found someone I love very much who loves me back. My before and after photos look almost identical, except I’m not alone in the after one."
The list goes on: Believing that free will is an illusion has been shown to make people less creative, more likely to conform, less willing to learn from their mistakes, and less grateful toward one another. In every regard, it seems, when we embrace determinism, we indulge our dark side.
Few scholars are comfortable suggesting that people ought to believe an outright lie. Advocating the perpetuation of untruths would breach their integrity and violate a principle that philosophers have long held dear: the Platonic hope that the true and the good go hand in hand. Saul Smilansky, a philosophy professor at the University of Haifa, in Israel, has wrestled with this dilemma throughout his career and come to a painful conclusion: “We cannot afford for people to internalize the truth” about free will.
Smilansky advocates a view he calls illusionism—the belief that free will is indeed an illusion, but one that society must defend. The idea of determinism, and the facts supporting it, must be kept confined within the ivory tower. Only the initiated, behind those walls, should dare to, as he put it to me, “look the dark truth in the face.” Smilansky says he realizes that there is something drastic, even terrible, about this idea—but if the choice is between the true and the good, then for the sake of society, the true must go."
Each situation determines the role you play. However, most people have not consciously designed their circumstances nor have they consciously determined the roles they will play.
Most people fail to realize that they get to choose their stage, who they will be, and how they will act. They have not decided to write the story of their own lives. But have consigned the story-telling to someone or something outside of them.
Because you get to shape the environment and decide the roles you will play, you can make quantum leaps in your personal and professional development. The process is simple:
Determine your goal
Commit to your goal by leaping into situations that require you to live up to your goal
Determine the roles you will need to play in the various situations you create
Act the part until you become the part
Develop relationships with people who have your back and can help you achieve your goals
Repeat, but at higher levels with more stretching leaps"
"I chose this option, but I'm not sure it really captures my situation. When I was 18, I wasn't really sure what I wanted to do in life. I knew what I felt personally passionate about (writing and theater), but I had been socialized to think that the path to success was to go to college, get a degree in a "practical" field and then get a steady, dependable job that paid a reasonable wage and had a good 401(k) plan. Writing and/or theater weren't considered "practical"--they were seen as tickets to years of work likely without recognition or a decent income. So I did what I was told. I have a good, well paying job that I don't love, and I've amassed over the years the kinds of responsibilities and obligations (mortgage, family, etc.) that scare me out of making a clean break and going after those things that I was once, and still am, passionate about because those things come with a high risk of failure and a lot of uncertainty (financial and otherwise). So my regret isn't necessarily laziness or lack of ambition--I had the ambition and was willing to do the work itself. But I wasn't confident enough in my choices to make them and embrace the resulting risks. I chose stability over fulfillment and became boring as a result."
"This is why creepy behavior prompts such a strong reaction, particularly in women. Acting in a certain way may have innocuous intent behind it, but the behavior itself suggests that there’s potential to do someone harm. Because men tend to prove a bigger threat in general, men and women are both more likely to rate men as being creepy. Similarly, because women are categorically more vulnerable to physical or sexual threats, women have an especially strong atavistic response to creepers, even when they are supposedly harmless. So even if you spend your days rescuing orphaned kittens and providing balloons for children in need, if your behavior or appearance gives off that ambiguous “does this person intend to hurt me?” vibe, then you’re going to find women are going out of their way to avoid you.
Many of these behaviors demonstrate either an ignorance of boundaries and social comfort or a willingness to ignore them. If somebody is willing to ignore a person’s discomfort by constantly trying to turn the conversation back to sex, then that is also a pretty strong sign that they’re willing to ignore other issues… like, say, consent. Similarly, not letting someone out of a conversation or demanding to take a photo are both signs that this is a person who puts their desires over the boundaries and comfort of the person they’re talking to. Is it a guarantee that they’re a predator? No, it isn’t… and thus the anxiety that comes from creepy behavior. Because these behaviors could go both ways, you’re stuck in an uncomfortable situation of analysis paralysis and having to constantly gauge the potential threat. You simply don’t know and the consequences of being wrong can be severe. Reacting badly to someone who’s creepy but well meaning means you’re running the risk of being rude. Not reacting to someone who is a threat, on the other hand, means you’re running the risk of being dead. And you have to make that decision right then, in that moment.
One of the things you’ll notice is how appearance comes into play. It’s not in the matter of being handsome or not, but rather the implications of these non-normative looks and behaviors. Many of these behaviors and issues of appearance frequently correspond with mental illness or extreme poverty, issues that we as a culture tend to be uncomfortable with. Part of what makes us uncomfortable is the feeling of unpredictability; if we suspect that someone is mentally unhealthy, we worry that we don’t know how they might behave. Intellectually we know that someone with mental illness tends to be the victim of violence, not the perpetrator… but in that moment, we’re left trying to make a judgement call with minimal evidence and that leaves us uneasy."