Words I Needed Last Week 2/20
What a relief to have nothing to say.
Words I stumbled upon, revisited, wrote down, and saved last week. Everything from the absolute necessity of solitude and silence, to Octavia Butler’s affirmations, to some of my favorite, striking lines from “Transit” by Rachel Cusk, to the indomitable power in, once more, being a beginner.
Happy Sunday, friends.
“We’re riddled with pointless talk, insane quantities of words and images. Stupidity’s never blind or mute. So it’s not a problem of getting people to express themselves but of providing little gaps of solitude and silence in which they might eventually find something to say. Repressive forces don’t stop people expressing themselves but rather force them to express themselves; What a relief to have nothing to say, the right to say nothing, because only then is there a chance of framing the rare, and ever rarer, thing that might be worth saying.”
—Gilles Deleuze, “Negotiations,” 1977.
We can judge our progress by the courage of our questions and the depth of our answers, our willingness to embrace what is true rather than what feels good.
"The choice is very simple: we can insist on resting on our laurels, or we can begin anew. The stringent requirement of a sustained creative life is the humility to start again, to begin anew. It is the willingness to once more be a beginner that distinguishes a creative career.
—Julia Cameron, “The Artist’s Way,” 1992.
“The more you talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyze it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalize it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in your brain. It is dead. It is over. It is gone. It is done. It is time to bury it because it is smelling up your life and no one wants to be near your rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude. Be the funeral director of your life and bury that thing!”
―Shannon L. Alder
“All writers, Julian went on, are attention seekers: why else would we be sitting up here on this stage? The fact is, he said, no one took enough notice of us when we were small and now we're making them pay for it. Any writer who denied the childish element of revenge in what they did was, as far as he was concerned, a liar. Writing was just a way of taking justice into your own hands. If you wanted the proof, all you had to do was look at the people who had something to fear from your honesty.”
“He often caught himself living in the mistaken belief that transformation was the same thing as progress. Things could look very different while remaining the same: time could seem to have altered everything, without changing the thing that needed to change.”
―Rachel Cusk, “Transit,” 2016.