“I believe it’s fine to give up books even after a page; there’s so much to read in the world that will delight you, so why should you work against the grain? With a widely admired author you should persist, and you should always return to authors who puzzle you; maybe time needs to pass. I tried Ivy Compton-Burnett when I was 20, and it didn’t take. I thought, “She can’t actually write.” I came back six years later, and couldn’t stop reading her; no 20th-century novelist is closer to my heart.”
Is It Better to Be Loving than to Be Right?
“The goal of a blog is not to be the most popular of the popular kids nor is it to do what the blogging police tell you to do. The goal of a blog is to help you reach your goals. And I long ago gave up the goal of having everybody in the world read my stuff or everyone in the world like my stuff. And I’m not writing for those people. I’m writing for people who can accept what I can give them. I don’t write for strangers anymore.”
“In mathematics, our freedom lies in the questions we ask — and in how we pursue them — but not in the answers awaiting us.”
“Sometimes I’d rather be a tree frog. I don’t think they fall asleep worried that they’ve been a bad tree frog that afternoon or envying kingfishers or resenting their own diet or habitat. They just seem to spend 100% of their time being magnificent at being a tree frog. We spend most of our time regardless of our religion or lack of it, disappointed in ourselves, ashamed of ourselves, envious of others — always becoming and rarely being.”
“The creative act is primitive. Its principles are of birth and genesis. Babies are born in blood and chaos; stars and galaxies come into being amid the release of massive primordial cataclysms. Conception occurs at the primal level. [I]t is better to be primitive than to be sophisticated, and better to be stupid than to be smart. The most highly cultured mother gives birth sweating and dislocated and cursing like a sailor.”
“Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it, else it is none. Tibetan meditation master Chogyam Trungpa coined the phrase “idiot compassion,” to explain that thing we do when we react to others from the Playbook of Nice rather than from an authentic arising of goodness, because our heart is simply open. An open heart is never certain, it is in open dialog with this world and thus can respond with sweetness when sweetness is due, or wrath or silence or dismissal or an endless embrace. Because it is genuine, it is sharp. You are on the razor’s edge, meaning right here, right now, playing for keeps, not for appearances.”