A designer who writes.


Findings

A library of collectanea.


People often ask me, “How do you find the time for all this?” And I answer, “I look for it.” You find time the same place you find spare change: in the nooks and crannies.

Show Your Work! a book by Austin Kleon 8:58pm on March 19, 2017

The day is the only unit of time that I can really get my head around. Seasons change, weeks are completely human-made, but the day has a rhythm. The sun goes up; the sun goes down. I can handle that.

Show Your Work! a book by Austin Kleon 8:55pm on March 19, 2017

The writer George Saunders, speaking of his own near-death experience, said, “For three or four days after that, it was the most beautiful world. To have gotten back in it, you know? And I thought, if you could walk around like that all the time, to really have that awareness that it’s actually going to end. That’s the trick.”

Show Your Work! a book by Austin Kleon 8:37pm on March 19, 2017

Life should be an aim unto itself, a purpose unto itself. Either this is not an answer at all, or it is the only possible answer.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 8:02pm on March 19, 2017

Old age provides an opportunity to recognize one’s fallibility in a way youth usually finds difficult.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 8:02pm on March 19, 2017

It is beguiling; it is flattering. One looks into one’s copy of the Essays like the Queen in Snow White looking into her mirror. Before there is even time to ask the fairy-tale question, the mirror croons back, “You’re the fairest of them all.”

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 8:02pm on March 19, 2017

Just as he would not think of passing judgment on a roomful of acquaintances, all of whom had their own reasons and points of view to explain what they had done, so he would not think of judging previous versions of Montaigne. “We are all patchwork,” he wrote, “and so shapeless and diverse in composition that each bit, each moment, plays its own game.”

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 8:01pm on March 19, 2017

Such writers, says Hazlitt, collect curiosities of human life just as natural history enthusiasts collect shells, fossils, or beetles as they stroll along a forest path or seashore. They capture things as they really are rather than as they should be. Montaigne was the finest of them all because he allowed everything to be what it was, including himself.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 8:01pm on March 19, 2017

For a while, there were two different realities, depending on which side you were on.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 8:01pm on March 19, 2017

It was clear now why Yahweh had not struck down the tower, had not punished men for wishing to reach beyond the bounds set for them: for the longest journey would merely return them to the place whence they’d come. Centuries of their labor would not reveal to them any more of Creation than they already knew. Yet through their endeavor, men would glimpse the unimaginable artistry of Yahweh’s work, in seeing how ingeniously the world had been constructed. By this construction, Yahweh’s work was indicated, and Yahweh’s work was concealed.

Stories of Your Life and Others — Ted Chiang 8:00pm on March 19, 2017

What he loved above all about his travels was the feeling of going with the flow. He avoided all fixed plans. “If it looks ugly on the right, I take the left; if I find myself unfit to ride my horse, I stop.” He traveled as he read and wrote: by following the promptings of pleasure.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:59pm on March 19, 2017

In a time such as that of the Second World War, or in civil-war France, Zweig writes, ordinary people’s lives are sacrificed to the obsessions of fanatics, so the question for any person of integrity becomes not so much “How do I survive?” as “How do I remain fully human?”

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:58pm on March 19, 2017

Mediocrity, for Montaigne, does not mean the dullness that comes from not bothering to think things through, or from lacking the imagination to see beyond one’s own viewpoint. It means accepting that one is like everyone else, and that one carries the entire form of the human condition.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:58pm on March 19, 2017

Renaissance readers fetishized extreme states: ecstasy was the only state in which to write poetry, just as it was the only way to fight a battle and the only way to fall in love. In all three pursuits, Montaigne seems to have had an inner thermostat which switched him off as soon as the temperature rose beyond a certain point.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:57pm on March 19, 2017

Moderation sees itself as beautiful; it is unaware that in the eye of the immoderate it appears black and sober, and consequently ugly-looking.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:57pm on March 19, 2017

The most beautiful lives, to my mind, are those that conform to the common human pattern, with order, but without miracle and without eccentricity.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:57pm on March 19, 2017

The earth gives this natural man everything he needs. It does not pamper him, but he needs no pampering.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:56pm on March 19, 2017

“This great world,” writes Montaigne, “is the mirror in which we must look at ourselves to recognize ourselves from the proper angle.”

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:56pm on March 19, 2017

On a global scale, no single creature can be of much importance, he wrote, yet in another way these I’s are the only things of importance. And only a politics that recognizes them can offer hope for the future.

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:56pm on March 19, 2017

He wrote that they had both decided she should be punished by nothing more than stern words, and even then, “very gentle ones.”

How To Live: A Life Of Montaigne | Sarah Bakewell 7:55pm on March 19, 2017