“May I be the tiniest nail in the house of the universe, tiny but useful.”

― Mary Oliver, Upstream

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“In the beginning I was so young and such a stranger to myself I hardly existed. I had to go out into the world and see it and hear it and react to it, before I knew at all who I was, what I was, what I wanted to be.”
― Mary Oliver, Upstream: Selected Essays

“Like any true place, the desert is a risk. Back into a barrel cactus and you may get hurt. But touch its yellow flowers with petals like wax and the pain from its needles lessens. Our fear of being touched removes us from a sensate world. The distant self becomes the detached self who no longer believes in anything. Awe is the moment when ego surrenders to wonder. This is our inheritance — the beauty before us. We cry. We cry out. There is nothing sentimental about facing the desert bare. It is a terrifying beauty.”

-Terry Tempest Williams, The Hour of Land

 

Sometimes I think the best advice Sugar ever gave:

“And the fuck is yours too, WTF. That question does not apply “to everything every day.” If it does, you’re wasting your life. If it does, you’re a lazy coward and you are not a lazy coward.

Ask better questions, sweet pea. The fuck is your life. Answer it.

Yours,
Sugar”

-Cheryl Strayed

“Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

― Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum

“I was starting to wonder if I was ready to be a writer, not someone who won prizes, got published and was given the time and space to work, but someone who wrote as a course of life. Maybe writing wouldn’t have any rewards. Maybe the salvation I would gain through work would only be emotional and intellectual. Wouldn’t that be enough, to be a waitress who found an hour or two hidden in every day to write?”
― Ann Patchett, Truth And Beauty