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Recommended for writers & editors. A curated list of reference, exemplar writers, literary criticism, & books on writing, the forms of poetry and prose, memoir, & more.
 

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Inspiration

"I was something that lay under the sun and felt it, like the pumpkins, and I did not want to be anything more. I was entirely happy. Perhaps we feel like that when we die and become a part of something entire, whether it is sun and air, or goodness and knowledge. At any rate, that is happiness; to be dissolved into something complete and great." 

—Willa Cather

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the sky, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all this is life."
—Krishnamurti

Anhedonia is the inability to experience pleasure from normally pleasurable things.

"…will come in one of the pre-chosen forms. During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!''
—Ghostbusters

"You've got to sell your heart, your strongest reactions, not the little minor things that only touch you lightly, the little experiences that you might tell at dinner... You wouldn't be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave." -F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they will become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they shall become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny."
—Gandhi

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seemed invincible, but in the end they always fall. Think of it, always."
—Gandhi

"Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion. You must set yourself on fire."
—Reggie Leach

"There was a time when meadow, grove, and stream, the earth, and every common sight, to me did seem appareled in celestial light, the glory and the freshness of a dream."
―William Wordsworth

This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.
—Rumi

"Truth, like love and sleep, resents
Approaches that are too intense."
—W.H. Auden

"Don't worry about being great or even semi-great; in fact, don't worry about rankings at all. That's fairy dust. You have no control over any of it. Just write the damn book, tell the damn story, fiddle the damn poem."
—Jane Yolen

"The job of the poet (a job which can't be learned) consists of placing those objects of the visible world which have become invisible due to the glue of habit, in an unusual position which strikes the soul and gives them a tragic force."
—Jean Cocteau

"She sat in the audience thinking - someone here has cancer, someone has a broken heart, someone's soul is lost, someone feels naked and foreign, thinks they once knew the way but can't remember the way, feels stripped of armor and alone, there are people in this audience with broken bones, others whose bones will break sooner or later, people who've ruined their health, worshipped their own lies, spat on their dreams, turned their backs on their true beliefs, yes, yes, and all will be saved. All will be saved. All will be saved."
—Denis Johnson, "Tree of Smoke"

"It all matters. That someone turns out the lamp, picks up the windblown wrapper, says hello to the invalid, pays at the unattended lot, listens to the repeated tale, folds the abandoned laundry, plays the game fairly, tells the story honestly, acknowledges help, gives credit, says good night, resists temptation, wipes the counter, waits at the yellow, makes the bed, tips the maid, remembers the illness, congratulates the victor, accepts the consequences, takes a stand, steps up, offers a hand, goes first, goes last, chooses the small portion, teaches the child, tends to the dying, comforts the grieving, removes the splinter, wipes the tear, directs the lost, touches the lonely, is the whole thing. What is most beautiful is least acknowledged. What is worth dying for is barely noticed."
— Laura McBride, We Are Called to Rise

"Every one has their own being in them. Every one is of a kind of men and women. Many have mixed up in them some kind of many kinds of men and and women. Slowly this comes clearly out from them in the repeating that is always in all living. Slowly it comes out from them to the most delicate gradation, to the gentlest flavor of them. ... This is a joy to any one loving repeating when in any one repeating steadily tells over and over again the history of the complete being in them."
—"The Making of Americans" —Gertrude Stein

"Perhaps, I myself am the enemy who needs to be loved."
—Carl Jung

"No amount of fire or freshness can challenge what a man will store up in his ghostly heart."
― F. Scott Fitzgerald

"Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it."
—K. Gibran

"If you have the words, there's always a chance that you'll find the way."
—Seamus Heaney

"I certainly fall in love with artists. I think that's probably the aspiration of an artist, to make a listener empathize so deeply that they do fall in love with you."
—kd lang

"May my silences become more accurate."
—Theodore Roethke

"Someone asked me, "Aren't you worried about the state of the world?" I allowed myself to breathe and then I said, "What is most important is not to allow your anxiety about what happens in the world to fill your heart. If your heart is filled with anxiety, you will get sick, and you will not be able to help."
Yes, there is tremendous suffering all over the world, but knowing this need not paralyze us. If we practice mindful breathing, mindful walking, mindful sitting, and working in mindfulness, we can try our best to help."
—Thich Nhat Hanh

"This is the paradox of literature, which is also the glory of humanism: the idea that nothing human is alien to any of us, that we all have the power to imagine our way into one another's lives."
—Adam Kirsch

"Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world."
—Oscar Wilde

"The writing is the healing. The writing is not the injury."
—Ta-Nehisi Coates, when asked how he recovers from writing heavy stuff.

"We are not the characters we want to be. We are the characters we are."
—Thomas Wolfe

"Don't worry if you feel you can only do one tiny good thing in one small corner of the cosmos. Just be a Buddha body in that one place."
—Thich Nhat Hanh

"As long as we observe love for others and respect for their rights and dignity in our daily lives, then whether we are learned or unlearned, whether we believe in the Buddha or God, follow some religion or none at all, as long as we have compassion for others and conduct ourselves with restraint out of a sense of responsibility, there is no doubt we will be happy."
—Dalai Lama

"When we fall in love we are filled with the sense of how defenseless human beings are, and we tremble at the daily existence we have led in blissful obliviousness until this time. For this reason people are occasionally made virtuous by love."
—Yukio Mishima, "FORBIDDEN COLOURS"

"This being human is a guest house. Every morning is a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. … Welcome and entertain them all. Treat each guest honorably. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond."
—Rumi

"Does anything in nature despair except man? An animal with a foot caught in a trap does not seem to despair. It is too busy trying to survive. It is all closed in, to a kind of still, intense waiting. Is this a key? Keep busy with survival. Imitate the trees. Learn to lose in order to recover, and remember that nothing stays the same for long, not even pain, psychic pain. Sit it out. Let it all pass. Let it go."
—May Sarton, Journal of a Solitude

"I think all songs should have weather in them. Names of towns and streets, and they should have a couple of sailors. I think those are just song prerequisites."
—Tom Waits.

"And I despise your books, I despise wisdom and the blessings of this world. It is all worthless, fleeting, illusory, and deceptive, like a mirage. You may be proud, wise, and fine, but death will wipe you off the face of the earth as though you were no more than mice burrowing under the floor, and your posterity, your history, your immortal geniuses will burn or freeze together with the earthly globe."
—Anton Chekhov

"Courage is not the absence of fear or despair; it is the capacity to continue on despite them, no matter how great or overwhelming they become."
—Robert Fanney

"In the United States the business of getting a living is enormously easier than it is in any other Christian land – so easy, in fact, that a forehanded man who fails at it must almost make deliberate efforts to that end. Here the general average of intelligence, of knowledge, of competence, of integrity, of self-respect, of honor is so low that any man who knows his trade, does not fear ghosts, has read fifty good books, and practices the common decencies stands out as brilliantly as a wart on a bald head."
—H. L. Mencken

"I rode back through the woods of Turgenev's Spasskoye in the evening light: fresh greenery in the woods and under foot, stars in the sky, the scent of flowering willow, and wilting birch leaves, the sound of the nightingale, the hum of beetles, the cuckoo and solitude, and the pleasant, vigorous movement of the horse under you, and health of body and mind. And I thought, as I constantly think, of death."
—Tolstoy, in a letter to his wife

"Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads."
—Erica Jong

My hobbit name: Biblio Bloggin' 
—Greg Correll

"The deeper the sorrow, the less tongue it has."
—The Talmud

"Development of a sense of self relies on the regulating, reliable, and felt presence of the other."
—Sebern Fisher

"People travel to wonder
at the height of the mountains,
at the huge waves of the seas,
at the long course of the rivers,
at the vast compass of the ocean,
at the circular motion of the stars,
and yet they pass by themselves
without wondering."
—Augustine of Hippo

"Without habit, the beauty of the world would overwhelm us. We'd pass out every time we saw—actually saw—a flower. Imagine if we only got to see a cumulonimbus cloud or Cassiopeia or a snowfall once a century: there'd be pandemonium in the streets. People would lie by the thousands in the fields on their backs."
—Anthony Doerr

"Drama, instead of telling us the whole of a man's life, must place him in such a situation, tie such a knot, that when it is untied, the whole man is visible."
—Leo Tolstoy

"The rush and pressure of modern life are a form, perhaps the most common form, of its innate violence. To allow oneself to be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns, to surrender to too many demands, to commit oneself to too many projects, to want to help everyone in everything is to succumb to violence. More than that, it is cooperation in violence. The frenzy of the activist neutralizes his work for peace. It destroys his own inner capacity for peace. It destroys the fruitfulness of his own work, because it kills the root of inner wisdom which makes work fruitful."
—Thomas Merton, from "Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander"

"Really, in the end, the only thing that can make you a writer is the person that you are, the intensity of your feeling, the honesty of your vision, the unsentimental acknowledgment of the endless interest of the life around and within you."
—Santha Rama Rau

"We all die. The goal isn't to live forever, the goal is to create something that will."
― Chuck Palahniuk

"What a man takes in by contemplation, that he pours out in love." 
—Meister Eckhart

"For a pestilential fever like this, Lovat could 'have a cataplasm of snails beaten and put to the soles of the feet'. Fevers induced sore eyes. For this he might take 'pigeon's blood hot to the eyes, or a young caller pigeon slit in the back'."
—Sarah Fraser, "The Last Highlander"




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