The thing about me and books is that whichever one I’m reading always reminds me of whatever’s happening in my life during that time.
But there’s a less obvious yet surprisingly powerful explanation for introverts’ creative advantage—an explanation that everyone can learn from: introverts prefer to work independently, and solitude can be a catalyst to innovation.
As the influential psychologist Hans Eysenck once observed, introversion “concentrates the mind on the tasks in hand, and prevents the dissipation of energy on social and sexual matters unrelated to work.”
In other words, if you’re in the backyard sitting under a tree while everyone else is clinking glasses on the patio, you’re more likely to have an apple fall on your head.
Newton was one of the world’s great introverts. William Wordsworth described him as “A mind forever / Voyaging through strange seas of Thought alone.”
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking
Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.
Susan Sontag (via artistsuffer)
There’s something mystical about baseball. Some wholesome and gleaming quality that makes it as much myth as game. I watch it because it soothes and comforts, it bedazzles and bewitches. When a player steps up to the plate with a bat in his hand he ceases to be a man. He becomes the embodiment of hope. He becomes a magickal force capable of battling sickness and black despair. When someone knocks a ball over that back wall you can make a wish on it like a shooting star. A man who swings that bat becomes a force of nature, an act of divine intervention. He punches a hole through the darkness and reminds us that miracles have not vanished entirely. He is a sibyl in a sport jersey, a conduit through which all that is good shines its light.
How strange it is. We have these deep terrible lingering fears about ourselves and the people we love. Yet we walk around, talk to people, eat and drink. We manage to function. The feelings are deep and real. Shouldn’t they paralyze us? How is it we can survive them, at least for a little while? We drive a car, we teach a class. How is it no one sees how deeply afraid we were, last night, this morning? Is it something we all hide from each other, by mutual consent? Or do we share the same secret without knowing it? Wear the same disguise?
Don DeLillo, White Noise
May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
Winning the Nobel Prize was not the most important moment of Doris Lessing’s extraordinary and prolific life, and it seems as though some of her critics won’t forgive her for not pretending that it was.
I don’t want a “holy” life of prayer and contemplation. I want a life of strife, lust, striving, seeking, struggling, and debauchery. I’m not content to settle for one experience when there is a whole lifetime of experiences to be had. I am so hungry for knowledge that I live several lives at once to acquire it. A Catholic and a Buddhist, a reader and a writer, a sinner and a philosopher, a husband and a father, a Native American and a white man— I no longer have any desire to fit into any one category. I see no reason why I can’t love pornography and the art of Michelangelo equally. I want to see life from every angle.
Damien Echols, Life After Death