Some Words In 2016

30 Dec



I’ll never know, and neither will you, of the life you don’t choose. We’ll only know that whatever that sister life was, it was important and beautiful and not ours. It was the ghost ship that didn’t carry us. There’s nothing to do but salute it from the shore.

Cheryl Strayed, Tiny Beautiful Things



As people are wont to say, this is not like coal mining or anything, but why do people qualify what they find difficult in terms of extremes? Why is it so uncomfortable just owning that sometimes, life is difficult, and books are difficult and exposing yourself is difficult even if it is something you have chosen to do, with sound mind and body.

Roxane Gay


Last night I wept. I wept because the process by which I have become woman was painful. I wept because I was no longer a child with a child’s blind faith. I wept because my eyes were opened to reality….I wept because I could not believe anymore and I love to believe. I can still love passionately without believing. That means I love humanly. I wept because I have lost my pain and I am not yet accustomed to its absence.

Anaïs Nin




‘If you’re teasing me, Westley, I’m just going to kill you.’
‘How can you even dream I might be teasing?’
‘Well, you haven’t once said you loved me.’
‘That’s all you need? Easy. I love you. Okay? Want it louder? I love you. Spell it out, should I? I ell-oh-vee-ee why-oh-you. Want it backward? You love I.’
‘You are teasing now; aren’t you?’
‘A little maybe; I’ve been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn’t listen.“

William Goldman, The Princess Bride



Time is a great deadener; people forget, get bored, grow old, go away.  She said that not much had happened between us anyway, historically speaking.  But history is a string full of knots, the best you can do is admire it, and maybe knot it up a bit more.  History is a hammock for swinging and a game for playing.  A cat’s cradle.  She said those sorts of feelings were dead, the feelings she once had for me.  There is a certain seductiveness about dead things.  You can ill treat, alter and recoiler what’s dead.  It won’t complain.

Jeanette Winterson, Oranges are not the only Fruit


This isn’t the part of the story when the woman overcomes her challenges and is rewarded with new love. It’s not the part when the rain washes away her fear or rinses off her grief.

This is the part when the clouds part so briefly she might have imagined it, when the promise of light is made and then brutally withheld, when restoration begins to seem possible but is not yet realized.

This isn’t the happy part of the story, but that’s O.K. This story isn’t finished.

Lily Brooks-Dalton, New York Times Modern Love


No subsequent love of mine has ever felt as innocently sure and safe as the one I left behind that summer, and some part of me still mourns that loss. But each new love has expanded my sense of what I might encounter, what I might claim. It seems to me that freedom is both its own lesson and reward, and I have come to accept and even to welcome the rawness that change brings, the sting of new skin meeting the world.

Amy Bonnaffons, New York Times Modern Love


Maybe because we live in an age of so many choices, most of them meaningless, we romanticize the notion that falling in love isn’t a choice but something that happens to us. That love tells us what to do, not the other way around. Love is the authority figure, and if love tells us wrongly, then we can’t be held fully responsible.

Justin Tyler Clark, New York Times Modern Love


The thing is, you don’t really have to believe what you write in a blog for more than the moment when you’re writing it. You don’t bring the same solemnity that you would bring to an actual essay. You don’t think, is this what I really want to say? You think, This is what I feel like saying at this moment.

Nora Ephron, The Last Interview and Other Conversations


If I’d stayed there, would I always have been happy? No, I suppose not. People move away, grow older, die-hard and the bright belief that there will be another marvelous thing around each corner fades. It is now or never; we must snatch at happiness as it flies.

J. L. Carr, A Month in the Country



Nostalgia is so certain: the sense of familiarity it instills makes us feel like we know ourselves, like we’ve lived.  To get a sense that we have already journeyed through something–survived it, experienced it–is often so much easier and less messy than the task of currently living through something.  Though hard to grasp, nostalgia is elating to bask in–temporarily restoring color to the past.  It creates a sense memory that momentarily stimulates context.  Nostalgia is recall without the criticism of the present day, all the good parts, memory without the pain.  Finally, nostalgia asks so little of us, just to be noticed and revisited; it doesn’t require the difficult task of negotiation, the heartache and uncertainty that the present does.

Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl


I mean “God” as shorthand for the Good, for the animating energy of love; for Life, for the light that radiates from within people and from above; in the energies of nature, even in our rough, messy selves.

Anne Lamott


Maturity is the ability to live with unsolved problems.

Anne Lamott


Remembering birthdays doesn’t photograph. Being the first up to make a brew and wrestle the papers from the letterbox doesn’t have a checkbox on the dating site. There’s no app for “partners who just want to tell you that you’re enough.” I marvel at the marriages of my friends and their parents, too, how accepting they are, how full of compromise and trying, and I think, I don’t know if I can do that. But the point is, surely, that with the gentle ones, the ones who will chat to your mum on the phone when she calls and buy the book you commented on at the weekend as a surprise and save the ripest avocado for you, tomorrow, because you like avocado for breakfast, it doesn’t much seem like compromise at all.

Laura Jane Williams



Travel by foot.  There is so much you can’t identify at top speed.

Cheryl Strayed


We die to each other daily. What we know of other people is only our memory of the moments during which we knew them. And they have changed since then. To pretend that they and we are the same is a useful and convenient social convention which must sometimes be broken. We must also remember that at every meeting we are meeting a stranger.
T.S. Eliot, The Cocktail Party


No one got the instructions. That is the secret to life. Everyone is flailing around, winging it most of the time, trying to find the way back out, or through, or up, without a map. This lack of instruction manual is how most people develop compassion, and got they figure out how to show up, care, help and serve, as the only way of filling up and being free. Otherwise, you grow up to be someone who needs to dominate and shame others, so no one will know that you weren’t there the day the instructions were passed out.

Anne Lamott



“Don’t you think saying goodbye to your child will make death more painful?”

“Wouldn’t it be great if it did?”

Paul Kalinthi, When Breath Becomes Air



Grace means you’re in a different universe from where you had been stuck, when you had absolutely no way to get there on your own.

Anne Lamott


Unbearable suffering awaits us all. A brief glimpse through history can confirm: none of us are guaranteed a happy life. If we want meaning we have to create it. If we want to find peace, we need to know there’s a purpose for suffering.

Brianna West, Soul Anatomy 



We all have to start somewhere if us want to do better, and our own self is what us have to hand.

Alice Walker, The Color Purple


I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.

Portia Nelson




We’re not born with unlimited choices.  We can’t be anything we want to be.  We come into this world with a specific, personal destiny.  We have a job to do, a calling to enact, a self to become.  We are who we are from the cradle, and we’re stuck with it.  Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art


The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation. The artist must be like the Marine. He has to know how to be miserable. He has to love being miserable. He has to take pride in being more miserable than any soldier or swabbie or jet jockey. Because this is war, baby. And war is hell.

Steven Pressfield, The War of Art


You can do it

Do you understand how amazing it is to hear that from an adult?  Do you know how amazing it is to hear that from anybody?  It’s one of the simplest sentences in thew world, just four words, but they’re the four hugest words in the world when they’re put together.

You can do it.

I can do it.

Let’s do it.

Sherman Alexie, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian


Is fake love better than real love? Real love is responsibility, compromise, selflessness, being present and all that shit. Fake love is magic, excitement, false hope, infatuation, and getting high off the potential that another person is going to save you from yourself.

Melissa Broder, So Sad Today


We frequently long for things not because they are actually missing, but because the state of longing gives us the illusion of movement — something always out of reach to strive for. This can be a romantic experience, poignant or full of feelings, which places us in the center of what we think it means to “really feel alive.” If, however, the feelings should become too much, remember that there is also a romance in learning to want what we have.

October horoscope–Melissa Broder for Lenny Letter


There are a few people out there with whom you fit just so, and, amazingly, you keep fitting just so even after you have growth spurts or lose weight or stop wearing heels. You keep fitting after you have children or change religions or stop dyeing your hair or quit your job at Goldman Sachs to take up farming. Somehow, God is gracious enough to give us a few of those people, people you can stretch into, people who don’t go away, and whom you wouldn’t want to go away even if they offered to.

Lauren Winner, Girl meets God


Whenever I saw her, I felt like I had been living in another country, doing moderately well in another language, and then she showed up speaking English and suddenly I could speak with all the complexity and nuance that I hadn’t even realized was gone. With Lucy I was a native speaker.

Ann Patchett, Truth and Beauty


It must be hard to be a mother. All those years of knowing everything about your daughter, of dressing her and bearing her and being intimately acquainted with her every need and want, and then one day you wake up and realize you don’t even know what kind of dress to buy her at Clery’s.

Jessie Ann Foley, The Carnival at Bray


You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies are too few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.

Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street




In my expertise have, there’s no secret to accomplishing almost any goal worth having.

Lauren Graham, Talking as Fast as I Can


Life is never predictable. Life is never really manageable. If your mindset is always “i’m just surviving,” it seems to me that would wind up being your mindset for the rest if your life. You’d just get stuck in it.

Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Story


You can love someone down to their core and they can love you right back just as hard, and if you traded diaries you’d learn things you never suspected. There’s a part of everyone deep down inside of them not meant for you.

Mindy McGinnis, The Female of the Species


Having to fight for the thing you want doesn’t mean you deserve it any less.

Anna Kendrick, Scrappy Little Nobody



See: 2015, and 2014  in words

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2 Responses to “Some Words In 2016”

  1. Caroline L. January 3, 2017 at 11:47 am #

    I went a little screenshot-crazy reading this post! So many wonderful quotes articulating the convoluted thoughts in my head… so many instances where I was like, “that! That’s it! That’s what I meant / thought / felt!” Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • jillianlorraine January 5, 2017 at 9:59 pm #

      Haha after I posted it I thought–maybe I should have edited it down. There’s just so many good ones! I’m glad you enjoyed.

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