Tag Archives: quotations

We Really Don’t Have That Kind of Time.

“But about a month before my friend Pammy died, she said something that may have permanently changed me.

“We had gone shopping for a dress for me to wear that night to a nightclub with the man I was seeing at the time. Pammy was in a wheelchair, wearing her Queen Mum wig, the Easy Rider look in her eyes. I tried on a lavender minidress, which is not my usual style. I tend to wear big, baggy clothes. People used to tell me I dressed like John Goodman. Anyway, the dress fit perfectly, and I came out to model it for her. I stood there feeling very shy and self-conscious and pleased. Then I said, ‘Do you think it makes my hips look too big?’ and she said to me slowly, ‘Annie? I really don’t think you have that kind of time.'”

–Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

“So Much of Life in Its Meshes! She Called in Her Soul to Come and See.”

“Here was peace. She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see.”

— Zora Neal Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God

“It Seemed to Put One Part of Him to Sleep and Wake Another Part Up.”

“Setting the gently sloshing tank on the dresser, Ellsworth sprinkled in some food and spent a few minutes watching the little fish dart up and away from the surface, over and over again. Like always, it did something to him, that movement, something he could never quite figure out. It seemed to put one part of him to sleep and wake another part up, the part that sent ideas bubbling up and out.”

— Janet S. Anderson, The Last Treasure

A few months ago, my younger daughter got a betta fish. I’ve never had a fish before, and I’ve been surprised by how gratifying it is to see Esther swimming around in her tank. That bit of life.

Do People Ask Themselves the Right Questions?

“People often ask themselves the right questions. Where they fail is in answering the questions they ask themselves, and even there they do not fail by much…But it takes time, it takes humility and a serious reason for searching.”

— William Maxwell, Time Will Darken It

Agree, disagree?

I think it’s often very hard to think searchingly about questions that we know we should face, but don’t want to face.

 

Are Souls Like Athletes, That Must Be Pushed to Their Full Capacity to Develop?

“Souls are like athletes, that need opponents worthy of them, if they are to be tried and extended and pushed to the full use of their powers, and rewarded according to their capacity.”

–Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain

What do you think — do you agree or disagree with Merton?

I’ve read a lot of Merton’s work, I have such a complex reaction to it — and his character. Let’s just say that Merton was a…complicated person. (I plan to write a “portrait of a Rebel” analysis of him, stay tuned for that). I just re-read Merton’s autobiography, The Seven Storey Mountain, and was reminded that it was his book that prompted me to read Story of a Soul, the memoir of my spiritual master, Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.

I’ve always wondered about the meaning of the title, “The Seven Storey Mountain” and just looked it up. I figured it was something from Dante — and yes! In The Divine Comedy, the seven storey mountain is the mountain of Purgatory that must be climbed to reach Paradise.