"Step into the fire of self-discovery. This fire will not burn you, it will only burn what you are not."
"Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant."
"Will you come with me to the mountains? It will hurt at first, until your feet are hardened. Reality is harsh to the feet of shadows. But will you come?"
C.S. Lewis, The Great Divorce
"In order for the true energy of love to penetrate your soul, your soul must be as if you had just been born. Why are people unhappy? Because they want to imprison that energy, which is impossible. Forgetting your personal history means leaving that channel clear, allowing that energy to manifest itself each day in whatever way it chooses, allowing yourself to be guided by it."
The Zahir by Paulo Coelho
"Happiness is the result of my decision to be happy. It is a feeling I tap into, not an outcome of events. I decide to be happy and commit myself to making happiness my state of mind. I don’t allow a set of circumstances to do it for me."
"I want you to grow to a certainty of your identity…which will never ask for another court of appeal but your own conscience. That often means sacrificing the tempting urge to spill over All (blues, defeats, insecurities) to another person, hoping for advice, sympathy or sometimes even scolding as punishment. It means knowing when to go off for a Socratic talk to yourself."
Sylvia Plath (in a letter to her brother after he went through a difficult breakup)
"The trick to not feeling cheated is to learn how to cheat. So, I decided this wasn’t a story about a miserable girl trapped in a house that smelled like medical supplies, wasting her life on a dying person she sometimes hated. No; this was a story about a girl who could find infinite beauty in anything. Any little thing. And even loved the person she was trapped with. And I told myself this story until it became true. Now, did doing this help me escape a wasted life? Or did it blind me where I wouldn’t want to escape it? I don’t know. But either way, I was the one telling my own story. So, no. I don’t feel cheated at all."
Penelope, The Brothers Bloom
"Dark pictures, thrones, the stones that pilgrims kiss
Poems that take a thousand years to die
But ape the immortality of this
Red label on a little butterfly."
Vladimir Nabokov, from Nabokov’s Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings
"My orgasms are watery, thin and forgettable, diluted. There’s a ridge of anger running under everything, a live wire, a mountain range of rage. The photographer sent me an email about his coke addiction, about his “infatuation” with me. “Trying to figure out right and not wrong,” he wrote. Who bothers with that anymore? I couldn’t reply. I hung my torso over the edge of the bed. I went down on the floor. The dream told me how much I hate being paid to swallow someone’s lies. I learnt of my own absence during sex, saw the zero that sex has become, like I’m a serf fucking to build a monarch’s empty empire, bending my body over a foreign agenda. (“No one is mean to me,” I often think. “No one treats me badly.” I shouldn’t assume permission to speak like this.) Planes become almost safe spaces. They are a pause. My hotel rooms are only inhabited after dark. I play the TV to feel like part of the world. I sleep with my cheek packed with cotton to ease the ache in my mouth."
People once believed that moonlight had a powerful effect on human behavior. Those who acted strangely were said to be “moonstruck,” and lunacy, a term for madness, comes from Luna, the Latin name for the moon goddess. The Japanese believed that the moon was a god with powers to foretell the future. Priests would study the moon’s reflection in a mirror, believing that if they gazed directly at the moon, it might drive them mad. Superstitions about the moon’s evil influence made some people refuse to sleep in a place where moonbeams could touch them. In the 1200s, the English philosopher Roger Bacon wrote, “Many have died from not protecting themselves from the rays of the moon.”
"I wanted the artist’s life. And that’s why I am sitting here alone."
"This shaking keeps me steady. I should know.
What falls away is always. And is near.
I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.
I learn by going where I have to go."
Theodore Roethke, from “The Waking”
"I begin to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good, either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be."
My Uncle Oswald by Roald Dahl