Category Archives: Quotes

Ms. Ueland Says…

[Substitute “yoga practice” for “walk” throughout.]

In the days when I thought a walk was just exercise, the ideas did not come until the end. “It is only in walks that are a little too long, that one has any new ideas,” I find that I wrote in my diary. I now understand this. It was because I was nearly home and so gave up the willing, the striving to get this calisthenic chore, the walk, out of the way.

At once I felt released, lazy and free. I suddenly lived in the present and not in my destination where I would be (dully enough) reading the newspaper or eating dinner. Suddenly I was seeing how pretty the winter evening was, how black the trees in the phosphorescent moonlight, how the stars are different colors, how egotism is fear and self-preservation, but how there is an egotism that is great and divine. In other words ideas came and even poetic feelings.

And how do these creative thoughts come? They come in a slow way. It is the little bomb of revelation bursting inside you. I found I never took a long, solitary walk without some of these silent, little inward bombs bursting quietly: “I see. I understand that now!” and a feeling of happiness.

— Brenda Ueland, If You Want To Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

I just finished If You Want to Write, and it’s the best book on creativity I’ve ever read. Written in 1938, it’s still fresh and inspiring and feels like the voice of the wise grandmother or inner epiphany you always wanted. I will be gifting it a lot this year.

Mr. Baryshnikov Says…

…as Baryshnikov explains it, what made Pushkin [his revered teacher] so effective was the logic of the step combinations he taught — the fact that they were true not just to classical ballet but also to human musculature. They seemed right to the body, and so you did them right. And the more you did them the more you became a classical dancer. Another thing about Pushkin, his students say, is that he was a developer of individuality. He steered the students toward themselves, helped them find out what kind of dancers they were. “Plus,” Baryshnikov says, “he was extraordinary patient and extraordinary kind person. Really, really kind.” If there is a point in classical art where aesthetics meet morals — where beauty, by appearing plain and natural, gives us hope that we, too, can be beautiful — Pushkin seems to have stood at that point, and held out a hand to his pupils.

— Joan Acocella, “The Soloist”

Mr. Waring Says…

“Karma is the trouble you make for yourself by being nervous and worried, and by trying to do what you think is right.

… as soon as you don’t care so much — or when you get interested in everything equally — things loosen up and start to happen. This is very un-Freudian.”

— James Waring, “Why I Like the Rockettes