Archive for October 3rd, 2012


practical shoes

…I’d sooner remove my own spleen with a grapefruit spoon than buy a set of sheets that require ironing. I believe in practical shoes, low-maintenance hair, and whichever frozen peas happen to be on sale.

Lisa Kogan, “Romance in the Real World,” O, The Oprah Magazine (2007)



They are ill discoverers that think there is no land, when they can see nothing but sea.

Sir Francis Bacon, The Advancement of Learning, Book II, vii, 5. (1605)


no matter where

No matter where you run, you just end up running into yourself.

George Axelrod  (screenwriter), Breakfast at Tiffany’s, (1961)


more than true

Fairy tales are more than true — not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be beaten.

Neil Gaiman, Coraline (2004)
modified from G. K. Chesterton, Tremendous Trifles, XVII: “The Red Angel” (1909)


still going to be

You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.

Dita von Teese, unsourced



…she had an unequalled gift…of squeezing big mistakes into small opportunities.

Henry James, “Greville Fane,” The Real Thing: and Other Tales (1893)


this world

This world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel.

Horace Walpole, a letter to the Countess of Ossory (1776)



I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.

James Michener, unsourced



Vigorous writing is concise. A sentence should contain no unnecessary words, a paragraph no unnecessary sentences, for the same reason that a drawing should have no unnecessary lines and a machine no unnecessary parts. This requires not that the writer make all his sentences short, or that he avoid all detail and treat his subjects only in outline, but that every word tell.

William Strunk, Jr., Elements of Style (1918)



The difference between the almost right word & the right word is…the difference between the lightning bug and the lightning.

Mark Twain, letter to George Bainton (1888)


billowing wreath

Her head of hair was something, a labyrinthine, billowing wreath of spirals and ringlets, fuzzy as twine and large enough for use as Christmas ornamentation. All the disquiet of her childhood seemed to have passed into the convolutions of her sinuous thicket of hair. Her irreversible hair. You could polish pots with it and no more alter its construction than if it were harvested from the inky depths of the sea, some kind of wiry reef-building organism, a dense living onyx hybrid of coral and shrub, perhaps possessing medicinal properties. For three hours she held Coleman entranced by her comedy, her outrage, her hair, and by her flair for manufacturing excitement, by a frenzied, untrained adolescent intellect and an actressy ability to enkindle herself and believe her every exaggeration… But when he got her back to Sullivan Street that evening, everything changed. It turned out that she had no idea in the world who she was. Once you’d made your way past the hair, all she was was molten.

Philip Roth, The Human Stain (2001)



You never know what worse luck your bad luck has saved you from.

Cormac McCarthy, No Country for Old Men (2005)


a good story

Once you live a good story, you get a taste for a kind of meaning in life, and you can’t go back to being normal; you can’t go back to meaningless scenes stitched together by the forgettable thread of wasted time.

Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story (2011)


the great affair

For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.

Robert Louis Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cévennes (1878)

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