Quotations from Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott


“The thing you had to force yourself to do–the actual act of writing–turns out to be the best part. It’s like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony. The act of writing turns out to be its own reward.”

“I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”

“the bulls are grand as the side of the sun
and although they kill them for the stale crowds,
it is the bull that burns the fire,
and although there are cowardly bulls as
there are cowardly matadors and cowardly men,
generally the bull stands pure
and dies pure
untouched by the symbols or cliques or false loves,
and when they drag him out
nothing has died
something has passed
and the eventual stench
is the world.”
-Charles Bukowski, “side of the sun”


“A most paradoxical mixture of sound and silence pervades the shady parts of the wood. The noise from the insects is so loud, that it may be heard even in a vessel anchored several hundred yards from the shore; yet within the recesses of the forest a universal silence appears to reign. To a person fond of natural history, such a day as this brings with it a deeper pleasure than can ever be experienced again.” – Charles Darwin, The Voyage of the Beagle

“My sister is quick to call somebody a friend, even somebody she hardly knows, if it suits her book. Come to think of it, I haven’t any friends at all. Since I grew up I haven’t had a single friend. Friendship–what a leprous word! People use it every day ad nauseum so that it’s become utterly devalued, at least as much so as the word love, which has been trampled to death.” – Thomas Bernhard, Concrete