Collected Wisdom

Things I've picked up along the way. 

If I have an idea, it’s the driver. The idea says, ‘Get in the car,’ and I’m like, ‘Where am I going?’ The idea says, ‘I don’t know. Don’t worry about it. I’m driving.’ Then you just get there. Sometimes I’m shotgun, sometimes I’m in the fucking trunk. The idea takes you where it wants to go. Other times, me as my ego is like, ‘I should do something.’ There’s no idea in the car. It’s just me. That formula doesn’t work.
— Dave Chappelle
The art of art, the glory of expression and the sunshine of the light of letters, is simplicity.
— Walt Whitman
Art doesn’t have to be pretty. It has to be meaningful.
— Duane Hanson
Do whatever brings you to life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart.
— Elizabeth Gilbert
Photo by Erol Ahmed

Photo by Erol Ahmed

With an eye made quiet by the power of harmony, and the deep power of joy, we see into the life of things.
— William Wordsworth
Writing and reading decrease our sense of isolation. They deepen and widen and expand our sense of life: they feed the soul. When writers make us shake our heads with the exactness of their prose and their truths, and even make us laugh about ourselves or life, our buoyancy is restored. We are given a shot at dancing with, or at least clapping along with, the absurdity of life, instead of being squashed by it over and over again. It’s like singing on a boat during a terrible storm at sea. You can’t stop the raging storm, but singing can change the hearts and spirits of the people who are together on that ship.
— Anne Lamott
We start being who we are before we’re born. There are a lot of stories that lead to our very existence.
— Markus Zusak
I like the idea that we think we live these dull suburban lives, but they’re also big lives: we all fall in love, we have people die on us, we all have big arguments in the kitchen. I wanted to write that book which portrayed a suburban richness and wealth.
— Markus Zusak
Photo by Christopher Harris

Photo by Christopher Harris

Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how...The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.
— Agnes de Mille
Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist.
— Pablo Picasso
For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.
— Anne Lamott
You agree - I’m sure you agree that beauty is the only thing worth living for.
— Agatha Christie
I am interested in art as a means of living a life; not as a means of making a living.
— Robert Henri
Practice any art, music, singing, dancing, acting, drawing, painting, sculpting, poetry, fiction, essays, reportage, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame, but to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow.
— Kurt Vonnegut
Photo by John-Mark Smith

Photo by John-Mark Smith

You are lucky to be one of those people who wishes to build sand castles with words, who is willing to create a place where your imagination can wander. We build this place with the sand of memories; these castles are our memories and inventiveness made tangible. So part of us believes that when the tide starts coming in, we won’t really have lost anything, because actually only a symbol of it was there in the sand. Another part of us thinks we’ll figure out a way to divert the ocean. This is what separates artists from ordinary people: the belief, deep in our hearts, that if we build our castles well enough, somehow the ocean won’t wash them away. I think this is a wonderful kind of person to be.
— Anne Lamott
The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.
— Anne Morrow Lindbergh
The artist’s job is not to succumb to despair, but to find an antidote for the emptiness of existence.
— Gertrude Stein
Always be on the lookout for the presence of wonder.
— E.B. White
Photo by Ray Hennessy

Photo by Ray Hennessy

The only journey is the one within.
— Rainer Maria Rilke
If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way.
— Martin Luther King
Caminante, no hay camino, se hace camino al andar.” (Traveler, there is no path, the path must be forged as you walk.)
— Antonio Machado
Your diamonds are not in far distant mountains or in yonder seas; they are in your own backyard, if you but dig for them.”
— Russell H. Conwell
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
— Oscar Wilde
Do not compromise yourself. You are all you have got
— Janis Joplin
I don’t know what I think until I write about it.
— Joan Didion
[Writing] is one of those professions that wants the ‘works.’ You wouldn’t be interested in a soldier who was only a little brave.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
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.
— F. Scott Fitzgerald
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
— Vincent Van Gogh