Favorite Quotes

July 15, 2015

Her [Iris Murdoch] novels often deal with things like the illusion of free will, the comedy of the sexes, and the complex relationship of good and evil. In particular, she grappled with writing about moral goodness without sounding preachy. She told The Paris Review: "Plato remarks in The Republic that bad characters are volatile and interesting, whereas good characters are dull and always the same. This certainly indicates a literary problem. It is difficult in life to be good, and difficult in art to portray goodness. Perhaps we don't know much about goodness. Attractive bad characters in fiction may corrupt people, who think, So that's OK. Inspiration from good characters may be rarer and harder, yet Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov and the grandmother in Proust's novel exist." WA 15 July 2015

It probably explains why Dolores, or Evans or Raul are more engaging than William. He's too good a guy.

June 23, 2015

It's like, at the end, there's this surprise quiz: Am I proud of me? I gave my life to become the person I am right now. Was it worth what I paid? -Richard Bach, writer (b. 23 Jun 1936) 

June 15, 2015


"I was undervaluing my own singular nature and experience: Each person, each life, is distinctive, even if you didn’t grow up in a family of acrobats or spend 10 years sleeping alongside lions on the African veld. It’s not what happens to us in our lives that makes us into writers; it’s what we make out of what happens to us. It’s our distinctive point of view."   Dinty W. Moore, Writer’s Digest,  4 Oct 2011


May 23, 2015


Tom Cahill’s description of how he came to appreciate history from the sayings and aphorisms of his mother, who learned them from her Galway-bred mother. 

 “But her waves of words had a sort of triple (and simultaneous) effect: first, the experience of coming into contact with alien lives through the medium of the words they had left behind; then, the acknowledgement of humanity I shared with these strangers from another time and place; and last, the satisfying thrill that concentrated metaphorical language can give its listener—the electric sensation at the back of the neck announcing the arrival of the gods of poetry.”

 From: Sailing the Wine-dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter.



April 28

bookstore is one of the only pieces of evidence we have that people are still thinking. -Jerry Seinfeld, WS 28 Apr 2015


April 22

Worry about the characters, not the plot. [W]riting is more rewarding than publication.... Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life (Editorial review)

April 14

 The division of labor among nations is that some specialize in winning and others in losing. Our part of the world, known today as Latin America, was precocious: it has specialized in losing ever since those remote times when Renaissance Europeans ventured across the ocean and buried their teeth in the throats of the Indian civilizations.

Eduardo Galeano

April 10


You can safely assume that you've created God in your own image when it turns out that God hates all the same people you do. -Anne Lamott, writer (b. 10 Apr 1954) 

April 8

Barbara Kingsolver said: "It's all about accessibility. That's why I write in English as opposed to some sort of highfalutin English that's incomprehensible. I really believe that complex ideas can be put across in simple language. And a good plot never hurt anybody. It doesn't cost you in literary terms to give your readers a reason to turn a page." WA 8 Apr 2015


April 4

Marguerite Duras said, "You have to be very fond of men. Very, very fond. You have to be very fond of them to love them. Otherwise they're simply unbearable."

April 1

He [Thomas Mallon] has often said that he had “the kind of happy childhood that is so damaging to a writer.”