Unlike hundreds of other writers and scholars, Pinker does correctly attribute (the oft-misattributed phrase) “Murder your darlings” to Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch found in On the Art of Writing.
“You are the creator of reality, and yet you have no idea how you do it—the process is effortless… In ancient India, the Vedic sages declared Aham Brahmasmi, which can be translated as ‘I am the Universe’ or ‘I am everything.’ They arrived at this knowledge by diving deep into their own awareness, where astonishing discoveries were made…
“We have an agenda, which is to show that this is a participatory universe that depends for its very existence on human beings…
“A conscious universe responds to how we think and feel. It gains its shape, color, sound, and texture from us. Therefore, we feel the best name for it is the human universe, and it is the real universe, the only one we have” (pgs 3-4).
“A friend who had visited Baghdad’s Green Zone said that Harvard Business School felt eerily familiar. Whatever hell befell the rest of Iraq, the Green Zone was made luxurious with palm trees, swimming pools, and functioning electricity. Its occupants cocooned themselves from the unfolding horror so that they could focus on the broader mission of rebuilding a country. So, too, HBS smacks of an ivory tower, cut off from the world outside” (p 50).
30 Principles to Live By
1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain (p 17)
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation (p 31)
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want (p 50)
4. Become genuinely interested in other people (p 65)
5. Smile (p 74)
“On some subjects—for instance, writers’ workshops—one is tempted to pull punches or rest satisfied with oversimplified answers; but I’m assuming, as the primary reader of this book, an intensely serious beginning novelist who wants the strict truth (as I perceive it) for his life’s sake, so that he can plan his days of technique, theory, and attitude; and become as quickly and efficiently as possible a master of his craft” (p xxii).
“The whole process—sitting at your desk, focusing your mind like a laser beam, imagining something out of a blank horizon, creating a story, selecting the right words, one by one, keeping the whole flow of the story on track—requires far more energy, over a long period, than most people ever imagine. You might not move your body around, but there’s grueling, dynamic labor going on inside you. Everybody uses their mind when they think. But a writer puts on an outfit called narrative and thinks with his entire being; and for the novelist that process requires putting into play all your physical reserve, often to the point of overexertion” (pgs 78-80).
“Norse Mythology (2017) by Neil Gaiman, the British writer, is a bit of a disappointment since much of his 2017 text has been found to closely resemble in structure and delivery (as you will soon see) many videos on Norse mythology posted on the video-sharing website called YouTube. In addition, written as though his book would be for young adults, many of the stories Gaiman chooses to write about are often not suitable for readers under the age of eighteen due to sexual content and extreme acts of violence.”
“When I got to the sixth veil, I went over to the Shiva statue, simulated an orgasm, and cast myself to the ground while removing the seventh and final veil.
“For a few moments I did not hear a single sound from the audience—from where I was lying, I could not see anyone, and they seemed petrified or horrified. Then came the first ‘Bravo,’ spoken by a female voice, and soon the whole room rose for a standing ovation. I got up with one arm covering my breasts and the other extended to cover my sex” (pgs 59-60).
~ Inspired by True Events in Guilin, China ~ The twelve-year-old girl woke eager for the new day. In bed she sat straight and stretched her arms wide over her […]
“I write to create. I like to build things…birdhouses, Adirondack chairs, good meals. I write for the same reasons. I want to put something out into the world that people will enjoy or find provocative. The conveyance part is the tougher question. There are common themes that run throughout my writing, even when I don’t want them to. I write about struggles and pain and grief. Even my theoretically happy stories have these themes. I like a good “hero wins the day and gets the girl” story, but there are lots of those. I write stories for those who struggle. We’re not alone in our challenges even if our social narrative suggests otherwise.”