Brain Pickings

Reads tagged with “diaries”

John Steinbeck’s Pen: How the Joy of Handwriting Helps Us Draft the Meaning of Life
John Steinbeck’s Pen: How the Joy of Handwriting Helps Us Draft the Meaning of Life

“The perfect pen and the perfect paper and me working on work that pleases me and has no note for the critics.”

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Ongoingness: Sarah Manguso on Time, Memory, Beginnings and Endings, and the True Measure of Aliveness
Ongoingness: Sarah Manguso on Time, Memory, Beginnings and Endings, and the True Measure of Aliveness

“Perhaps all anxiety might derive from a fixation on moments — an inability to accept life as ongoing.”

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Pioneering Early-Twentieth-Century Artist and Creative Entrepreneur Wanda Gág on Our Two Selves and How Love Lays Its Claim on Us
Pioneering Early-Twentieth-Century Artist and Creative Entrepreneur Wanda Gág on Our Two Selves and How Love Lays Its Claim on Us

“There is nothing better for us to do than to take ourselves as we find ourselves and make the best of ourselves.”

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Thoreau on Hard Work, the Myth of Productivity, and the True Measure of Meaningful Labor
Thoreau on Hard Work, the Myth of Productivity, and the True Measure of Meaningful Labor

“Those who work much do not work hard.”

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Young Tolstoy’s Diaries: Time, Moral Development, and the Search of Self
Young Tolstoy’s Diaries: Time, Moral Development, and the Search of Self

“This is the entire essence of life: Who are you? What are you?”

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Simone Weil on Temptation, the Key to Discipline, and How to Be a Complete Human Being
Simone Weil on Temptation, the Key to Discipline, and How to Be a Complete Human Being

“Never react to an evil in such a way as to augment it.”

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André Gide on Sincerity, Being vs. Appearing, and What It Really Means to Be Yourself
André Gide on Sincerity, Being vs. Appearing, and What It Really Means to Be Yourself

“Don’t ever do anything through affectation or to make people like you or through imitation or for the pleasure of contradicting.”

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How Steinbeck Used the Diary as a Tool of Discipline, a Hedge Against Self-Doubt, and a Pacemaker for the Heartbeat of Creative Work
How Steinbeck Used the Diary as a Tool of Discipline, a Hedge Against Self-Doubt, and a Pacemaker for the Heartbeat of Creative Work

“Just set one day’s work in front of the last day’s work. That’s the way it comes out. And that’s the only way it does.”

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Virginia Woolf on the Paradox of the Soul and the Consolations of Growing Older
Virginia Woolf on the Paradox of the Soul and the Consolations of Growing Older

“One can’t write directly about the soul. Looked at, it vanishes.”

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Hans Christian Andersen’s Daily Routine
Hans Christian Andersen’s Daily Routine

From coffee time to bedtime, via ample walks and a necessary stretch of royal tedium.

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