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Shantaram
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Dani Shapiro
“Still writing?" I usually nod and smile, then quickly change the subject. But here is what I would like to put down my fork and say: Yes, yes, I am. I will write until the day I die, or until I am robbed of my capacity to reason. Even if my fingers were to clench and wither, even if I were to grow deaf or blind, even if I were unable to move a muscle in my body save for the blink of one eye, I would still write. Writing saved my life. Writing has been my window -- flung wide open to this magnificent, chaotic existence -- my way of interpreting everything within my grasp. Writing has extended that grasp by pushing me beyond comfort, beyond safety, past my self-perceived limits. It has softened my heart and hardened my intellect. It has been a privilege. It has whipped my ass. It has burned into me a valuable clarity. It has made me think about suffering, randomness, good will, luck, memory responsibility, and kindness, on a daily basis -- whether I feel like it or not. It has insisted that I grow up. That I evolve. It has pushed me to get better, to be better. It is my disease and my cure. It has allowed me not only to withstand the losses in my life but to alter those losses -- to chip away at my own bewilderment until I find the pattern in it. Once in a great while, I look up at the sky and think that, if my father were alive, maybe he would be proud of me. That if my mother were alive, I might have come up with the words to make her understand. That I am changing what I can. I am reaching a hand out to the dead and to the living and the not yet born. So yes. Yes. Still writing.”
Dani Shapiro, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life

Zsuzsi Gartner
“Wisteria hangs over the eaves like clumps of ghostly grapes. Euphorbia's pale blooms billow like sea froth. Blood grass twists upward, knifing the air, while underground its roots go berserk, goosing everything in their path. A magnolia, impatient with vulvic flesh, erupts in front of the living room window. The recovering terrorist--holding a watering can filled with equal parts fish fertilizer and water, paisley gloves right up over her freckled forearms, a straw hat with its big brim shading her eyes, old tennis shoes speckled with dew--moves through her front garden. Her face, she tells herself, like a Zen koan. The look of one lip smiling.”
Zsuzsi Gartner, Better Living Through Plastic Explosives

“He has achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much;
Who has enjoyed the trust of pure women, the respect of intelligent men and the love of little children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who has never lacked appreciation of Earth's beauty or failed to express it;
Who has left the world better than he found it,
Whether an improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who has always looked for the best in others and given them the best he had;
Whose life was an inspiration;
Whose memory a benediction.”
Bessie Anderson Stanley, More Heart Throbs Volume Two in Prose and Verse Dear to the American People And by them contributed as a Supplement to the original $10,000 Prize Book HEART THROBS

Ralph Waldo Emerson
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Albert Einstein
“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
Albert Einstein

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