Quotes March 27, 2019

Courtesy of Gretchen Rubin

“Character is destiny.”
“The truth is that when a human being is not eating, drinking, sleeping, making love, talking, playing games or merely lounging about—and these things will not fill up a lifetime—he needs work and usually looks for it, though he may not call it work.”

“Cease to use your hands, and you have lopped off a huge chunk of your consciousness.”
George Orwell, The Road to Wigan Pier
“It doesn’t really matter whether you’re first rate, second rate, or third rate, but it’s of vital importance…that you do the very best you can with the powers that are given you. It’s idle to strive for things out of your reach, just as it’s utterly immoral to be slothful about the qualities you have.”
Lawrence Durrell, The Paris Review interview
“If you want a golden rule that will fit everybody, this is it: have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
William Morris
“Order is Heaven’s first law.”
Alexander Pope
“To live in perpetual want of little things is a state, not indeed of torture but of constant vexation.”
Samuel Johnson
“You learn more about a person by living in his house for a week then by years of running into him at social gatherings.”
Phillip Lopate
“The things that we love tell us what we are.”
“The love of pleasure is destined by its very nature to defeat itself and end in frustration.”
Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain
“Not to find one’s way about in a city is of little interest. But to lose one’s way in a city, as one loses one’s way in a forest, requires practice.”
Walter Benjamin, A Berlin Childhood Around 1900
“He who can believe himself well, will be well.”
“To refuse what life offers is to chance not recognizing happiness if it comes your way.”
Maurice Goudeket, Close to Colette: An Intimate Portrait of a Woman of Genius
“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
“How much hope, expectation, and sheer hard work goes into the smallest success! There is no being sure of anything except that whatever has been created will change in time…”
May Sarton, Plant Dreaming Deep
“One of the breakthrough moments [of doing stand-up comedy] for me was realizing that…you can take all the classes you want and learn and practice and get all the advice from other people, but it’s really like learning an instrument that has never existed until you were born. No one can tell you how to play that instrument.”
Jordan Peele, “Key and Peele,” in Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow
“If I consider my life honestly, I see that it is governed by a certain very small number of patterns of events which I take part in over and over again…when I see how very few of them there are, I begin to understand what huge effect these few patterns have on my life, on my capacity to live. If these few patterns are good for me, I can live well. If they are bad for me, I can’t.”
Christopher Alexander, The Timeless Way of Building
“Good habits, imperceptibly fixed, are far preferable to the precepts of reason.”
Mary Wollstonecraft, Original Stories from Real Life
“There is a surprisingly large number of people who go around dreaming about an island.”
Tove Jansson, “The Island,” the Paris Review
“Humor is the antidote to over thinking. It’s a way of saying that life is paradoxical. Humor contains contradictions; it does not resolve them but revels in them. It says that the right way to exist among the contradictions, paradoxes, and absurdities of life is to cope with them through laughter.”
Bob Mankoff, How About Never: Is Never Good For You
“…every life has at least one fairy palace in its span. Usually these miracles happen when a person is young, but still wide-eyed enough to catch the magic that older people have forgotten or pushed away. For countless children, Disneyland has it…For both tourists and natives, the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace does well…prancing horses, flashing sabers, plumes and capes and trumpets in the fog…the Palace is in safe hands, a solid dream. Sometimes people can know two palaces before Lady Luck calls it quits, but of course they are never of equal enchantment…[For me] the lesser of the two palaces was the Pig’n’Whisle, a stylish ice-cream parlor in Los Angeles.”
M.F.K. Fisher