“It is better to be violent, if there is violence in our hearts, than to put on the cloak of nonviolence to cover impotence.”
“The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment.”
“Is it logical that anybody should be expected to be afraid of the work that they feel they were put on this Earth to do. And what is it specifically about creative ventures that seems to make us really nervous about each other’s mental health in a way that other careers kind of don’t do, you know? Like my dad, for example, was a chemical engineer and I don’t recall once in his 40 years of chemical engineering anybody asking him if he was afraid to be a chemical engineer,”
You know, in the Middle Ages, in England, when you met a very poor person, that person would be described as an “unfortunate” — literally, somebody who had not been blessed by fortune, an unfortunate. Nowadays, particularly in the United States, if you meet someone at the bottom of society, they may unkindly be described as a “loser.” There is a real difference between an unfortunate and a loser, and that shows 400 years of evolution in society and our belief in who is responsible for our lives. It’s no longer the gods, it’s us. We’re in the driving seat.
That’s exhilarating if you’re doing well, and very crushing if you’re not. And some of the reason for that is that people take what happens to them extremely personally. They own their success. But they also own their failure.”
“We don’t even know what we want to do with our lives—until we find a relative or a friend who is doing just what we THINK we should be doing. Everything is relative, and that’s the point. Like an airplane pilot landing in the dark, we want runway lights on either side of us, guiding us to the place where we can touch down our wheels.”
“Nothing good came free. Even love. You paid for all things. And if you were poor, suffering was your currency.”
“Hard work is a prison sentence only if it does not have meaning.”
“You’re only given a little spark of madness. You mustn’t lose it.”
“We have to teach kids to teach themselves.”
You know, you can be engaged in the activity of something, but not really be achieving it. You can say, “There’s Deborah, she’s in room 34, she’s teaching.” But if nobody’s learning anything, she may be engaged in the task of teaching but not actually fulfilling it.
The role of a teacher is to facilitate learning. That’s it. And part of the problem is, I think, that the dominant culture of education has come to focus on not teaching and learning, but testing. Now, testing is important. Standardized tests have a place. But they should not be the dominant culture of education. They should be diagnostic. They should help.”