Writing quotations:

“Writing has so much to give, so much to teach, so many surprises. That thing you had to force yourself to do–the actual act of writing–turns out to be the best part. . . . The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.” –Anne Lamott

“A writer is someone on whom nothing is lost.” –Henry James

“Beauty and grace are performed whether or not we will or sense them. The least we can do is try to be there. . . . We must somehow take a wider view, look at the whole landscape, really see it, and describe what’s going on here. Then we can at least wail the right question into the swaddling band of darkness, or, if it comes to that, choir the proper praise.”             –Annie Dillard

“I can’t explain why shortness is a good thing. I can only think of how many gallons of maple sap it takes to make one gallon of maple syrup–forty. Maple sap tastes like water–very good water, but water. Maple syrup is a miracle.” –John Casey

“I try to take time to let go, to listen, in much the same way that I listen when I am writing. This is praying time, and the act of listening in prayer is the same act as listening in writing.” –Madeleign L’Engle

“A written word is the choicest of relics. It is something at once more intimate with us and more universal than any other work of art. It is the work of art nearest to life itself. . . . The noblest written words are commonly as far behind or above the fleeting spoken language as the firmament with its stars is behind the clouds. There are the stars, and they who can may read them. . . . They are not exhalations like our daily colloquies and vaporous breath.” –Henry David Thoreau

“I believe that writing can be holy, just as reading can be spiritual. As a person, I wish ‘to taste and savor the beauty of truth’ of every experience; as a writer I just do my best to render it, to give it back through language and hope to spark one reader’s memory and imagination.” –Melanie Rae Thon

“Unfortunately, life slips between words, overflows the containers we make. The work of writing becomes most difficult and most rewarding at the frontiers of the sayable, where language reaches out from the known to the unknown. However skillful we may become in using language, we should never forget that the universe is grander and more subtle than anything we can say about it. –Scott Russell Sanders

“Lord, I am starting from nothing. Help me.” –Walker Percy

“If a writer is any good, what he makes will have its source in a realm much larger than that which is conscious mind can encompass and will always be a greater surprise to him than it could ever be to his reader.” –Bret Lott

“Never hope more than you work.” –Rita Mae Brown

Living and Loving Life

“There are lots of things to see, unwrapped gifts and free surprises. The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside from a generous hand. But–and this is the point–who gets excited by a mere penny? . . . It is dire poverty indeed when a man is so malnourished and fatigued that he won’t stoop to pick up a penny. But if you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then, since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you have with your poverty bought a lifetime of days.” –Annie Dillard

Being time is never wasted time. When we are being, not only are we collaborating with chronological time, but we are touching on kairos and are freed from the normal restrictions of time. Kairos. Real time. God’s time. That time which breaks through chronos with a shock of joy, that time we do not recognize while we are experiencing it, but only afterwards. . . . In kairos we are completely unself-conscious and yet paradoxically far more real that we can ever be.” –Madeleign L’Engle

“If we had a keen vision of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow or the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should dieof the roar which lies on the other side of silence.” –George Eliot

“Apprehend God in all things. Every single creature is full of God and is  book about God. Every creature is a Word of God.” –Meister Eckhart

“Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper, fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet.” –Henry David Thoreau

The Natural World

“The woods were bathed in so pure and bright a light as would have waked the dead, if they had been slumbering in their graves, as some suppose. There needs no stronger proof of immortality. All things must live in such a light. O Death, where was thy sting? . . . Our village life would stagnate if it were not for the unexplored forests and meadows which surround it. We need the tonic of wilderness. . . . At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be infinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of Nature. . . . We need to witness our own limits transgressed, and some life pasturing freely where we never wander.” –Henry David Thoreau

The Spiritual Life

“Nature is hard to be overcome, but she must be overcome. What avails it that you are Christian, if you are not purer than the heathen, if you deny yourself no more, if you are not more religious?” –Henry David Thoreau

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.”     –Henry David Thoreau