Gems from a battered moleskine

Last December, I finished all the pages of the Moleskine I had kept for 2 years. It was filled with quotes, favourites song lyrics, and fragments of thoughts too skimpy for a blog post. Come the new year, I actually went through all of them and picked out 10 of my favourite quotes, thinking I’d include it in my “2016” blog post but it didn’t quite fit into my new year blog post and I never got around to making a separate one dedicated solely to it (or maybe I thought there was no point). But I just dug through old notes in my Notes app today and I found this. It made me really happy to read through them again, so I thought I’d post it.

“I decided then that I will never be jealous. I will never be vengeful. I won’t be threatened by the old, or by the new. I’ll open wide like a daisy every morning. I will make my work.” — Lena Dunham, in Not That Kind of Girl

“You will never climb Career Mountain and get to the top and shout ‘I Made It!’. You will rarely feel done or complete or even successful. Most people I know struggle with that complicated soup of feeling slighted on one hand and like a total fraud on the other. […] It doesn’t matter how much you get; you are left wanting more. Success is filled with MSG.” — Amy Poehler, in Yes Please

“I had a desire, and people said I had talent… but then what?” — Viola Davis

“Tonight we feast on the labour of centuries. Because we do, everyday and every night, the good things that we have in our lives are mostly because other people worked to make life better… and all I can ask is that my forgotten labours will add to the forgotten labours of other people that have made life on earth better. We matter because we make life better for people around us, and also people in the future. The story of humanity is not the story of a few people who had a huge gigantic effect on the world. That’s only the story we hear because it’s the easy story to tell.” — Hank Green, Redefining What it Means to Matter

“How’s this for feminist? I almost never understand why anyone would want to talk to me or read what I write. I’m still fighting something in my gut that suspects I’m so much more mediocre than I realise.” — Ashley Ford, in Women of the Hour ep. 1

“There are no more zero days. What’s a zero day? A zero day is when you don’t do a single thing towards whatever dream or goal or want or whatever that you got going on. No more zeros. I’m not saying you gotta bust an essay out everyday, that’s not the point. The point I’m trying to make is that you have to make yourself, promise yourself, that the new SYSTEM you live in is a NON-ZERO system. Didn’t do anything all day and it’s 11:58 PM? Write one sentence. One pushup. Read one page of that chapter. One. Because one is non zero.” — ryans01, in this reddit post (profanity omitted)

“We are brought up in the ethic that others, any others, all others, are by definition more interesting than ourselves; taught to be diffident, just this side of self-effacing. […] The rest of us are expected, rightly, to affect absorption in other people’s favorite dresses, other people’s trout. And so we do. But our notebooks give us away, for however dutifully we record what we see around us, the common denominator of all we see is always, transparently, shamelessly, the implacable “I.” We are not talking here about the kind of notebook that is patently for public consumption, a structural conceit for binding together a series of graceful [reflections]; we are talking about something private, about bits of the mind’s string too short to use, an indiscriminate and erratic assemblage with meaning only for its maker.” — Joan Didion, in On Keeping a Notebook

“If you live for external achievement, years pass and the deepest parts of you go unexplored and unstructured. You lack a moral vocabulary. It is easy to slip into a self-satisfied moral mediocrity. You grade yourself on a forgiving curve. You figure as long as you are not obviously hurting anybody and people seem to like you, you must be OK. But you live with an unconscious boredom, separated from the deepest meaning of life and the highest moral joys. Gradually, a humiliating gap opens between your actual self and your desired self, between you and those incandescent souls you sometimes meet.” — David Brooks, in The Moral Bucket List

“When I dare to be powerful, to use my strength in the service of my vision, then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” — Audre Lorde

“Nobody tells people who are beginners—and I really wish someone had told this to me—but all of us who do creative work, we get into it and we get into it because we have good taste. But it’s that gap. For the first couple of years that you’re making stuff, what you’re making isn’t so good. Ok, it’s not that great. It’s trying to be good, it has ambition to be good, but it’s not quite that good. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, your taste is still killer. Your taste is good enough that you can tell that what you’re making is kind of a disappointment to you. A lot of people never get past that phase. A lot of people, when they get to that point, they quit. And the thing I would just like say to you with all my heart is that most everybody I know who does interesting creative work, they went through a phase of years where they had really good taste and they could tell what they were making wasn’t as good as they wanted it to be; they knew it fell short, it didn’t have this special thing that we wanted it to have and the thing I would say to you is, everybody goes through that.” — Ira Glass on “the gap”

I hope these electrify you as much as it does me. ❤ I’ll write again tomorrow! Until then.


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