(The finished embroidery over at her blog is amazing!)
— Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird
The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.
That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.
— David Foster Wallace
Open the door and come on in
I’m so glad to see you, my friend
You’re like a rainbow, coming around the bend
And when I see you happy
Well, it sets my heart free
I’d like to be as good a friend to you, as you are to me
This song has been drifting in and out of my head for nearly an entire week, and for some reason I kept thinking it was sung by Joni Mitchell. (Judy Collins did, however, cover one of my Joni Mitchell favourites, Both Sides Now.)
— Marilynne Robinson, quoted in The Long Goodbye by Meghan O’Rourke
— From the first page of Anne Lamott’s Bird By Bird. Captures how I feel every five minutes these days.
It’s finally the first day of August; it’s fall, or thereabouts, and I’m not making plans: Not for returning to Europe, nor for anything else. It’s nearly fall, and I am sitting in bed watching a plane cross the sky beyond my neighbourhood. The view is dotted with lights in a city kept awake by insomniacs and public funding. I’m thinking about life changing decisions that may not mean very much in the grand scheme of things, and about small talks with old friends that have changed my life. The past and the future are swimming about in my head, and I’m trying my hardest to go out to sea once more. Meanwhile, I listen to Billy Joel and think about the most beautiful city in the world.
The room was suddenly rich and the great bay-window was
Spawning snow and pink roses against it
Soundlessly collateral and incompatible:
World is suddener than we fancy it.
World is crazier and more of it than we think,
Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion
A tangerine and spit the pips and feel
The drunkenness of things being various.
And the fire flames with a bubbling sound for world
Is more spiteful and gay than one supposes -
On the tongue on the eyes on the ears in the palms of one’s hands -
There is more than glass between the snow and the huge roses.