Writing is to write for oneself.

Marguerite Duras, Motherhood Makes You Obscene

The best places for writing are those that fade from consciousness as the landscapes of the imagination take over.

Linda Jaivin, Caught Mapping

To banish imperfection is to destroy expression, to check exertion, to paralyze vitality.

John Ruskin

The critic is not the one who debunks, but the one who assembles. The critic is not the one who lifts the rugs from under the feet of the naive believers, but the one who offers the participants arenas in which to gather. The critic is not the one who alternates haphazardly between antifetishism and postivism like the drunk iconoclast drawn by Goya, but the one for whom, if something is constructed, then it means it is fragile, and thus in great need of care and caution. I am aware that to get at the heart of this argument one would have to renew also what it means to be a constructivist, but I have said enough to indicate the direction of critique, not away but toward the gathering, the Thing.

Bruno Latour, Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern

After a cup of tea (two spoonsful for each cup, and don’t let it stand more than three minutes,) it says to the brain, “Now, rise, and show your strength. Be eloquent, and deep, and tender; see, with a clear eye, into Nature and into life; spread your white wings of quivering thought, and soar, a god-like spirit, over the whirling world beneath you, up through long lanes of flaming stars to the gates of eternity!

Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

The rationalists regularly fail to reckon with power as it is practiced, or history as it has been experienced, and they indulge themselves in … contests with the freedom of those who have largely escaped discrimination.

Gideon Lewis-Kraus, Slate Star Codex and Silicon Valley’s War Against the Media

We were hungry before we were born.

Fever Ray, Keep the Streets Empty for Me

With my feet upon the ground I lose myself
Between the sounds and
Open wide to suck it in, I
Feel it move across my skin, I’m
Reaching up and reaching out, I’m
Reaching for the random or what-
Ever will bewilder me, what-
Ever will bewilder me
And following our will and wind, we
May just go where no one’s been
We’ll ride the spiral to the end and
May just go where no one’s been

Tool, Lateralus

If you don’t see that what you are working on is almost obvious, then you are not ready to work on that yet. Prepare the way.

Arthur Ogus

Can you call yourself a coward simply because the courage of others seems to you out of proportion to the triviality of the occasion? Thus wisdom creates cowards. And thus you miss opportunity while spending your life on the lookout for it.

Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum

This whole essay by Haley Nahman, entitled ‘The death of sex’.

Creating a life that reflects your values and satisfies your soul is a rare achievement. In a culture that relentlessly promotes avarice and excess as the good life, a person happy doing his own work is usually considered an eccentric, if not a subversive. Ambition is only understood if it’s to rise to the top of some imaginary ladder of success. Someone who takes an undemanding job because it affords him the time to pursue other interests and activities is considered a flake. A person who abandons a career in order to stay home and raise children is considered not to be living up to his potential-as if a job title and salary are the sole measure of human worth.

You’ll be told in a hundred ways, some subtle and some not, to keep climbing, and never be satisfied with where you are, who you are, and what you’re doing. There are a million ways to sell yourself out, and I guarantee you’ll hear about them.

To invent your own life’s meaning is not easy, but it’s still allowed, and I think you’ll be happier for the trouble.

Bill Watterson, Kenyon College Commencement, May 1990