On Diligence

1) What we hope ever to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.

(Samuel Johnson)

2) Tension is who you think you should be, relaxation is who you are.


3) How do you write like tomorrow won’t arrive? / How do you write like you need it to survive? / How do you write every second you’re alive?

(Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Non-Stop,” Hamilton)

4) Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.

(Leonardo da Vinci)

5) Nothing great in the world was accomplished without passion.

(Georg Hegel)

6)         ESTRAGON: [giving up again] Nothing to be done.
VLADIMIR: [advancing with short, stiff strides, legs wide apart] I’m beginning to come round to that opinion. All my life I’ve tried to put it from me, saying, Vladimir, be reasonable, you haven’t yet tried everything. And I resumed the struggle. [he broods, musing on the struggle. …]

(Samuel Beckett, Waiting for Godot)

7) The world will not be destroyed by evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.

(Albert Einstein)

8) True strength is keeping everything together when everyone expects you to fall apart.


9) But if you refuse to be beaten, you have some pleasant surprises.

(Albert Camus via Rieux, The Plague)

10) No great thing is suddenly created.




On Identity

1) A life that is, like any other, unlike any other.

(Neil Gaiman, American Gods)

2) No one can construct for you the bridge upon which precisely you must cross the stream of life, no one but you yourself alone.

(Friedrich Nietzsche)

3) A man is only whole when he takes into account his shadow.

(Djuna Barnes)

4) We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves.

(The Buddha)

5) There is a wilderness we walk alone, however well companioned.

(Stephen Vincent Benét)

6) “What the hell kind of name is Yossarian?”
Lieutenant Scheisskopf had the facts at his fingertips. “It’s Yossarian’s name, sir,” he explained.

(Joseph Heller, Catch-22)

7) The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.

(Albert Camus)

8) Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

(Martin Luther King, Jr.)

9) The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but building the new.


10) Freedom is what you do with what’s been done to you.

(Jean-Paul Sartre)



On Darkness

1) A poet is someone who stands outside in the rain hoping to be struck by lightning.

(James Dickey)

2) Some things you know all your life. They are so simple and true they must be said without elegance, meter and rhyme… they must be naked and alone, they must stand for themselves.

(Philip Levine)

3) I can be hurt by nothing but my thoughts.

(A Course in Miracles, Lesson 281)

4) And as for happiness, there’s a lot of different kinds of happiness, just as there’s a hell of a lot of different kinds of dead. Me, I’ll just take what I can get when I can get it.

(Neil Gaiman via Mr. Nancy, American Gods)

5) We know that we come from the winds, and that we shall return to them; that all of life is perhaps a knot, a tangle, a blemish in the eternal smoothness. But why should this make us unhappy? Let us rather love one another, and work and rejoice. I don’t believe in this world of sorrow.

(E.M. Forster via Mr. Emerson, A Room with a View)

6) What do we live for if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?

(George Eliot, Middlemarch)

7) One, remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Two, never give up on your work. Work gives you meaning and purpose, and life is empty without it. Three, if you are lucky enough to find love, remember it is there and don’t throw it away.

(Stephen Hawking)

8) There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.

(Charles Dickens)

9) Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

(Winston Churchill)

10) …the habit of despair is worse than despair itself.

(Albert Camus, The Plague)



The Writer’s Manifesto

A Transcendental Existentialist’s Postmodern Meditation on the Word

1. The essence of art is not in its external forms, but in its spiritual content.

–Constantin Stanislavsky

1.1 The difference between humans and art is that for art, essence precedes existence.

2. Let form follow content, just as we “suit the action to the word.” Say what you must. then present it appropriately.

2.1 GWEN: Truly I wish the gods had made thee poetical.
      TZARA: I do not know what poetical is. Is it honest in word in deed? Is it a true                      thing?                                                                     Travesties, Tom Stoppard

3. Whatsoever Universal Truth might be, wheresoever it might dwell, what’s true for me can only be heard in echoes.

3.1 You cannot understand me through the book. You can only understand yourself.

3.2 You will hardly know who I am or what I mean,
But I shall be good health to you nevertheless,
And filter and fiber your blood.                               
Song of Myself, Walt Whitman

4. Mind Makes Meaning

5. I reject the doctrine of Alienation. It is a lie told to keep us apart (a part).

5.1 I turn from the lure of, the invitation to be, the Stranger.

5.2 Let the Interweaving Knot tie us together, for though we are different we are one.

5.2.1 I know of only one duty, and that is to love.

–Albert Camus

6. There is no writing. Only revision. I stand on the foundation of millennia of thought: true originality is an illusion.

6.1 I am so rife with allusion, I am practically T.S. Eliot.

7. This disillusion need not be disheartening. Together we are engaged in the process of refining our forms and ideas. The Narrative allows us to speak to those long gone.

8. Paradox: each of us is new, original, and individual. We have something worth saying.

8.1 TZARA: All poetry is a reshuffling of a pack of picture cards, and all poets are                        cheats. I offer you a Shakespeare sonnet, but it is no longer his. It comes                      from the wellspring where my atoms are uniquely organized, and my                          signature is written in the hand of chance.     

Travesties, Tom Stoppard

9. To Thine Own Self Be True: on Existential Authenticity – it is the prerogative of deeply reflective persons to sometimes change their minds.

10: Break rules when justified: civilly disobey those little-minded hobgoblins.

11. #YOLO, so keep your eyes open. Call it like you see it. Leave this place better than you found it.

11.1 Be excellent to each other. And party on, dude.

Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure