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?”
"So what did Pan have to say to Psyche, the girl who was dumped by the god of love himself? Pray to the god of love. Turn all of those thoughts you are using to convince yourself you’re better off dead and worship he who caused the wound. Because there’s no avoidance, no shortcut to recovery. You were laid low by a force greater than yourself. So acknowledge it. Kneel to it. Praise love’s powers of destruction and powers of healing. Bowing before the force that undoes you, not the man, not the booze, not the money, but the force itself: that is a heroic gesture.
"When you’re long term single, people say horrible things to you to explain to you why this may be. This happens because they are trying to convince themselves that there is something wrong with you, that is not wrong with them, and they would never have to worry about spending eight years, nine years, ten years, on their own.
All hail the spinsters of literature, of W Somerset Maugham novels, of Henry James novels, of Barbara Pym novels. All hail the spinster Henry James. All hail the writers who understood that spinsterhood is not something to pity, it is, if done well, a spectacular life.
Fie on Jane Austen’s neat little weddings that solve everything, fie on Happily Ever After.
To me, the Nine of Cups is the spinster card. Not spinster in the way of Miss Havisham, twisted physically and psychically by betrayal and loneliness. Spinster by way of Coco Chanel. Spinster as in control of her shit.
Here on this card we have a spinster, man or woman, surrounded by bountiful, overflowing cups. There is a sense of satisfaction, there is a sense of yes to all of it. And yet our spinster is alone. Alone, surrounded by all of these cups, no one to share the bounty with.
Does that image make us sad? Lonesome? Proud? Smug? What is your reaction to a man or woman sitting all alone, the rewards of hard labor surrounding them? This isn’t coins, it’s not a big stack of money that they are sitting on. We’re here in the Cups, sitting around stewing in our emotions. If it were Coins, the image would be one of hoarding. It would be gross. But because it’s Cups, it’s emotional stability, and the ability to enjoy one’s own company. It is a quiet sense of pride and truly knowing, without outside confirmation, that you have done something well. That is a harder thing to accomplish than sitting around surrounded by our material goods. Most of us have to be dragged into the Nine of Cups state kicking and screaming.
Which is why, maybe, we still see that solitary figure and think failure. There must be something really wrong with that person that no one wants to stand by them.
The trick to being a good spinster, and even married people can do this, is to be present. Not to fiddle with the future, trying to scheme and plan so that you will end up with the tidiest of outcomes. Not to muddle with the past, to drag out old hurts and insecurities and vulnerabilities. And not to always be looking from side to side, looking for someone to share our burdens. And yes, sometimes joy, if it does not come to us dressed in the right suit, can feel like a burden.
Something is presented. You accept. You stay there, accepting and incorporating. You don’t look to someone else to say, oh, how special are you? You don’t immediately break it in half and take it to someone else. You accept it as it is presented. That is the yes of the Nine of Cups. And that is the yes of the spinster."
So I'm a tree-hugging hippie*, I admit it. I've had enough Weird Experiences to make me think there's Something Out There, so I pay attention to things like that when others have 'em. I am currently working on a book review to post in a few weeks (cannot believe I've got so many in the hopper on the book blog lately, but I do) and while I was writing that up, I looked at the author's blog and hoo boy, do I ever like this contest, even if I don't think I have anything super awesome to enter in it.
* minus the actual tree-hugging because honestly, they're covered in ants.
Anyway, I'd like to call your attention to a few of my favorites from the contest.
The White Envelope:"This person said they had to do something for you. They felt called to do it. By God."
The Taylor Bug:"But there was no way I could say, "Hey, man, I dreamed you were sick, and it turned out to be true. Discuss in 500 words or less."
The Case of the Decapitated Toad:"For the first time in my life (as far back as I care to remember, anyway) it was telling me I needed to talk to him. I needed to get to know him. That maybe, even, I needed to cut a slit in that bubble of mine and reach through it." Anon E. Moose, you are an excellent writer and I hope you win.
Night Visits:"You don't make friends and influence people. You make minions and terrify 'em."
The Talented Unbeliever:"I once told a gambling addict that the third of the $1 scratch cards would win him $5 and the 4th of the $25 cards would win $200. And I was spot on."
The Magic of Cowriting:"In a way, witches (in the pop-culture sense of women with some sort of occult/paranormal skill) and famous people both exist in slightly different worlds than than regular people; there’s a scrutiny and power that comes with both categories.
So once we realized we were witches -- accepting a given value of witchery here -- the next question becomes: Well, what do we do with that power?" Oooh, that gives me chills.
Follow the Raven, Part 1 and Part 2:"So I tell you what: I need a damned sign. If you're so hell-bent on me continuing to do this path stuff, this writing bullshit, the whole thing, then you'd better damned well speak up and throw me a bone, or I'm through."
"This is a guy who’s telling you that darkness has possessed you and claiming some sort of parentage over a quarter of an employee’s baby. In other words, probably not open to reasoned conversation on these topics.
The board would presumably want to know that the head of the organization is using resources to find sacred candle angles and freezing out employees when he thinks the darkness has possessed them."
"Though declared free of witchcraft at Gambaga, she says she prefers to stay in the camp where she knows she’ll never be abused, marginalized, or threatened again, rather than try to make a new life for herself in the outside world. She says at Gambaga, she’s found peace and love—something she never experienced at home. “What I passed through,” she says, getting up slowly with the aid of a walking stick, “it was more than hell.”
"For Saxon Pagans (as well as Pagans from many other paths), the celebration of the Yuletide usually does not actually begin until Mothers’ Night (the solstice) and continues for a week or two after this. I celebrate for twelve days, from Mothers’ Night to New Year’s Day, but I have been invited to Yule feasts held as late as mid-January. For that matter, I have attended Yule feasts that took place ten days or more before the solstice. And this was entirely appropriate, for Yule is a season."
"Regardless of one’s religion (or lack thereof), all humans are divided by their outer, practical selves, and their inner, spiritual selves. It’s a dichotomy that never goes away, in fact trying to make it go away just makes it worse.
"Using the animal-identification code as a guide, 2nd Base attendees can better and more easily gauge where other guests fall on the consent scale. For instance, if someone identifies as a dog, that means, according to the rules on the group's Facebook page, "This person does not need to be asked before you initiate contact. They won't be offended by being touched or approached with respect. They may say 'No thank you' if they aren't feeling it, or they may pant in delight. Give it a shot." A cat wants "things on their own terms. Ask before initiating any physical contact please or you might get some claws!" And a bird "does not want to be approached by you. Be friendly and inviting and wait for them to approach you when they are ready."
Dude, if I could do this IRL that could theoretically fend off a ton of creepers!