around me the birds are waiting
for the light. In this world of dreams
don't let the clock cut up
your life in pieces.
- Jim Harrison
Songs of Unreason
"We make our lives pleasurable, and therefore bearable, by picturing them as they might be; it is less obvious, though, what these compelling fantasy lives - lives of, as it were, a more complete satisfaction - are a self-cure for. Our solutions tell us what our problems are; our fantasy lives are not - or not necessarily - alternatives to, or refuges from, those real lives but an essential part of them . . . There is nothing more obscure than the relationship between the lived and the unlived life.
So we may need to think of ourselves as always living a double life, the one that we wish for and the one that we practice; the one that never happens and the one that keeps happening."
- Adam Phillips
Missing Out: In Praise of the Unlived Life
alive on all channels
"Maybe it's all utterly meaningless. Maybe it's all unutterably meaningful. If you want to know which, pay attention to what it means to be truly human in a world that half the time we're in love with and half the time scares the hell out of us. Any fiction that helps us pay attention to that is religious fiction. The unexpected sound of your name on somebody's lips. The good dream. The strange coincidence. The moment that brings tears to your eyes. The person who brings life to your life. Even the smallest events hold the greatest clues."
- Frederick Buechner
"Thought is said to be the mind; we have the notion that it is something abstract or spiritual or immaterial. Then there is the body, which is very physical. And we have emotions, which are perhaps somewhere in between. The idea is that they are all different. That is, we think of them as different. And we experience them as different because we think of them as different."
- David Bohm
Thought as a System
"All my desires are born of my dreams. And I have proven my love with words. To what fantastic creatures have I entrusted myself, in what dolorous and ravishing world has my imagination enclosed me? I am sure of having been loved in the most mysterious of domains, my own. The language of my love does not belong to human language, my human body does not touch the flesh of my love. My amorous imagination has always been constant and high enough so that nothing could attempt to convince me of error."
- Paul Éluard
"In one recorded dialogue with a student, Bashō instructed, "The problem with most poems is that they are either subjective or objective." "Don't you mean too subjective or too objective?" his student asked. Bashō answered, simply, "No."
- Jane Hirshfield
The Heart of Haiku
"The work of writing brings replenishment even to the writer dealing with painful subjects or working out formal problems, and there are times when suffering's only open path is through an immersion in what is. The eighteenth-century Urdu poet Ghalib described the principle this way: 'For the raindrop, joy is in entering the river - / Unbearable pain becomes its own cure.'
Difficulty then, whether of life or of craft, is not a hindrance to an artist. Sartre called genius 'not a gift, but the way a person invents in desperate circumstances.' Just as geological pressure transforms ocean sediment into limestone, the pressure of an artist's concentration goes into the making of any fully realized work. Much of beauty, both in art and in life, is a balancing of the lines of forward-flowing desire with those of resistance - a gnarled tree, the flow of a statue's draped cloth. Through such tensions, physical or mental, the world in which we exist becomes itself. Great art, we might say, is thought that has been concentrated in just this way: honed and shaped by a silky attention brought to bear on the recalcitrant matter of earth and of life. We seek in art the elusive intensity by which it knows."
- Jane Hirshfield
As The Poems Go
as the poems go into the thousands you
realize that you've created very
it comes down to the rain, the sunlight,
the traffic, the nights and the days of the
years, the faces.
leaving this will be easier than living
it, typing one more line now as
a man plays a piano through the radio,
the best writers have said very
and the worst,
far too much.
- Charles Bukowski
Morning falls out of its orbit
and swims up through the blue.
Last night, when I heard the news,
I forgot my human hunger.
Now I am making calculations
with a row of ivy and old hibiscus.
I am silent as a shadow in the ferns,
I am frond green and curled.
It may be necessary to drink through
the roots; I could eat sunlight and air,
start a green factory in each finger;
I could make each arm a branch.
Let me begin as stem and leaf.
I'll make something you can breathe.
- Joyce Sutphen