I want my stories to move people — I don’t care if they’re men or women or children. I want my stories to be something about life that causes people not to say, “Oh, isn’t that the truth,” but to feel some kind of reward from the writing. And that doesn’t mean that it was to have a happy ending or anything — but just that everything the story tells moves [you] in such a way that you feel you’re a different person when you finish.
The Pious Infant – Edward Gorey's rare, darkly delightful vintage illustrated allegory about the dangers of dogmatism and what happens when we sink too far into self-righteousness.
I remember when I was nine years old, going down the stairs to the basement to watch my father write. He sat at a small red desk in a cinder block room painted white. He wrote longhand on unlined yellow paper. His typewriter was on a metal stand next to the desk. Across the room was a red wicker waste basket that had half a dozen balls of crumpled yellow paper on the floor around it, scenes that didn’t work, shots that didn’t make it. In retrospect it looked like a prison cell, but my father didn’t seem conscious of his surroundings, or of me standing at the bottom of the stairs; he was deep in concentration
Our uniqueness makes us special, makes perception valuable—but it can also make us lonely. This loneliness is different from being “alone”: You can be lonely even surrounded by people. The feeling I’m talking about stems from the sense that we can never fully share the truth of who we are… But this loneliness is the impetus for writing, because language is the best means we have to connect.
Women between fifteen and forty-four are more likely to be injured or die from male violence than from traffic accidents, cancer, malaria, and the effects of war combined.
A difficult, important piece by Ariel Levy for The New Yorker.
Help do something about it here.
People are going to keep reading books, but the question is what form will win out. The answer is probably all of them.
Make a character want something — that’s how you begin.
No one can travel your own road for you; you must travel it for yourself.
I strive to be a skeptic, in the best sense of that word: I question everything, and yet I’m open to everything. And I don’t have immovable beliefs. My values shift and grow with my experiences—and as my context changes, so does what I believe.
No one can tell you how you must understand the world, and you can’t say what someone else must do or be.
"Everything has its testing point in the eye, and the eye is an organ that eventually involves the whole personality, and as much of the world as can be got into it."
Flannery O’Connor’s cartoons
War and romance, death and cigarettes, the pleasures and pains of family, beginning with the excruciating act of birth when a new person enters the room and love takes over. We are not hard-wired to separate them fully.
In a series of four experiments, [researchers] found that participants primed to think of money were more likely to behave unethically on various lab tasks than those who received a neutral prime. People who were prompted to think about time behaved the most ethically. A little more than 87 percent of the participants in one of the experiment’s money conditions cheated, compared to almost 67 percent of the control group and around 42 percent of people in the time condition.
The researchers chalk this effect up to self-reflection, with the notion of time being tied to thinking about how little of it you have—sort of like a mental death countdown clock. Focusing on time “seems to lead people to notice that how they spend their time sums up to their life as a whole, encouraging them to act in ways they can be proud of when holding up this mirror to who they are,” they write.