“If a story is not about the hearer he will not listen . . . A great lasting story is about everyone or it will not last. The strange and foreign is not interesting–only the deeply personal and familiar.”
– John Steinbeck
“She liked being reminded of butterflies. She remembered being six or seven and crying over the fates of the butterflies in her yard after learning that they lived for only a few days. Her mother had comforted her and told her not to be sad for the butterflies, that just because their lives were short didn’t mean they were tragic. Watching them flying in the warm sun among the daisies in their garden, her mother had said to her, see, they have a beautiful life. Alice liked remembering that.”
– Lisa Geneva, Still Alice
“Did you know that God is always listening to you? Did you know that God can hear the quietest whisper deep inside your heart, even before you’ve started to say it? Because God knows exactly what you need even before you ask him,” Jesus told them.
– From The Jesus Storybook Bible, How to Pray (based on Matthew 6).
Popular culture treats sex as the starting point of the relationship instead of the final consummation of love and commitment.
– Stephen Simpson, The Myth of Modern Courtship – Burnside Writer’s Collective
But, like Mary in the months and weeks and years after the Annunciation, we have to proceed in faith and love, even when the angel doesn’t stick around to give us a pat on the back every time the going gets rough.
– Conversion Diary, Trusting God With Your Dreams
…and to save all our lives you’ve got to envision the fiery crash…
– Andrew Bird
The good news is, if I write good stuff, it gets read. The bad news is; if I write bad stuff, it still gets read.
– Hugh McLeod, via Twitter
It is my belief that if enough of us write … and if we take the pains to tell the truth about something important to us … that together we will create an extraordinary archive — an archive that will be a snapshot of our country. A picture of who we are, and how we feel about things, and most importantly, what we feel is important.
– Stuart McLean of Vinyl Cafe
Just as there exists in writing a literal truth and a poetic truth, there also exists in a human being a literal anatomy and a poetic anatomy. One, you can see; one, you cannot. One is made of bones and teeth and flesh; the other is made of energy and memory and faith. But they are both equally true.
– Elizabeth Gilbert (via her friend, Bob) in Eat, Pray, Love.
Consider the postage stamp; its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing until it gets there.
– Josh Billings, via The Clutter Diet Blog
I was doing a lot of things I didn’t particularly want to do. I suppose that might be the definition of discipline.
– Jennette Fulda, from Half-Assed, a weight-loss memoir.
If you want to bond with your friends, do something very hard with them, something that you won’t be able to do alone.
– Don Miller, re his ride across America
Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are or why we’re here.
-The Secret Life of Bees
Sometimes I even feel equivocal about claiming the evangelical label. For, theologically, I am right in line with the evangelical mainstream, but what people want to know when they ask me whether or not I’m an evangelical is rarely theology. What they want to know is whether I vote for Pat Robertson, listen to Amy Grant, and believe the Earth is only five thousand years old. In fact, I’ve never voted for Pat Robertson, I prefer Mary Chapin Carpenter, and I think Darwin might have been on to something.
So, when one of my gin-swilling, scratchy-jazz listening Columbia comrades asks me the e-question, my impulse is to temporize, to hem and haw, to split hairs and explain that my theological orientation is certainly evangelical, but culturally, intellectually, and politically, I am much more sophisticated than his stereotype of evangelism. I’m too insecure and worried about how I’m being perceived to risk correcting my interlocutor’s presuppositions – by pointing out, for example, that 38 percent of Democrats in America are born-again Christians, never mind suggesting that not all Republicans or home-schoolers are numskulls. I simply want to correct his impressions of me, No, no, I’m not on of them. I’m one of you. I believe Jesus Christ is Lord, but I also wear fishnet stockings a drink single malt Scotch.
-from Girl Meets God, by Lauren Winner.
If I screw up raising my kids, nothing I achieve will matter much.
-Steve Martin, in Cheaper by the Dozen
Apparently the only thing worse than a terrorist attack, is a gay man stopping it!
–Jon Stewart (commenting on the deadening silence of all the Republican candidates when asked during the debate who supported gays in the military).
My best teachers were mess, failure, death, mistakes, and the people I hated, including myself.
-Anne Lamott, Grace (Eventually)
All great tasks test our motivation. It’s easy to court ideas over beers and change the world with napkin sketches, but like most things taken home from bars, new challenges arise the next day. It’s in the morning light when work begins, and grand ideas (or barroom conquests) lose their luster. To do interesting things requires work and it’s no surprise we abandon demanding passions for simpler, easier, more predictable things.
-Scott Berkun on How to Stay Motivated
It’s the possibility of having a dream come true that makes life interesting….
-Santiago, in The Alchemist
Jerry Falwell died. I have a feeling that right about now, he’s feeling very very surprised.
–Dry Bones Dance
These days it’s hard to tell what’s half asleep from fully alive…
– Cloud Cult, ‘Chemicals Collide’ from the album ‘Meaning of 8’
As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth,
so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind.
To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again.
To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over
the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.
– Henry David Thoreau (via my friend, Alecia)
“Each day takes figuring out all over again how to fucking live.”
– Deadwood’s Calamity Jane.
“There has never been a day when I have not been proud of you, I said. Though some days I’m louder about other stuff so it’s easy to miss that.”
“Now she and I sit together in my room and eat chocolate, and I tell her that in a very long time when we both go to heaven, we should try to get chairs next to each other, close to the dessert table.”
– Anne Lamott, Traveling Mercies.
“I know what you’re thinking: why is Chris Rock bagging groceries? But I dropped out of high school in the tenth grade, so if I couldn’t tell jokes this is exactly what I’d be doing.”
– Chris Rock, packing food boxes in Houston for Hurricane Katrina victims.
“…I opened the door to my houseboat, and I stood there a minute, and then I hung my head and said, ‘Fuck it, I quit.’ I took a long deep breath and said out loud, ‘Alright, you can come in.’ So this was my beautiful moment of conversion.”
– Annie Lammott, on the moment she became a Believer, as told in Traveling Mercies.
“God calls us to a life involving frequent risks and many dangers. Why else would we need him to be our ezer [lifesaver]? You don’t need a lifesaver if your mission is to be a couch potato.”
– from Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul, by John and Stasi Eldredge
“I don’t want to marry anyone who’s really wicked, but I wouldn’t mind marrying someone who could be wicked.”
– Anne Shirley, from Anne of Green Gables
“I assure you that my personal tragedy will not interfere with my ability to do good hair!”
— Annelle, in Steel Magnolias