"If you want to know more about the raven: bury yourself in the desert so that you have a commanding view of the high basalt cliffs where he lives. Let only your eyes protrude. Do not blink—the movement will alert the raven to your continued presence. Wait until a generation of ravens has passed away. Of the new generation there will be at least one bird who will find your. He will see your eyes staring up out of the desert floor. The raven is cautious, but he is thorough. He will sense your peaceful intentions. Let him have the first word. Be careful: he will tell you he knows nothing."
— Barry Lopez
"People who can comfort the dead can also chase after them to hurt them further."
— Maxine Hong Kingston, “No Name Woman”
"Things that create the appearance of deep emotion: The sound of your voice when you’re constantly blowing your runny noise as you talk.
Plucking your eyebrows."
— Sei Shõnagon, The Pillow Book, 996 CE
It’s really, really nice when writers quote or reference their predecessors without elaborations, and with that combination of casualness and respect that makes the text a living conversation.
"I climb the mountain; I scale the mountain. I live on the mountain. I am born on the mountain. No one becomes a mountain—no one turns himself into a mountain. The mountain crumbles."
— Bernardino de Sahagún, “A Mountain,” from A General History of the Things of New Spain
"But I don’t like screaming. I have spoken softly, gone my ways softly, all my days, as behoves one who has nothing to say, nowhere to go, and so nothing to gain by being seen or heard."
— Samuel Beckett, Malone Dies