How Sugar crafts advice

I talk to Mr. Sugar and my friends. I make lists. I attempt to analyze the situation from the perspective of my “best self”—the one that’s generous, reasonable, forgiving, loving, bighearted, and grateful. I think really hard about what I’ll wish I did a year from now. I map out the consequences of the various actions I could take. I ask what my motivations are, what my desires are, what my fears are, what I have to lose, and what I have to gain. I move toward the light, even if it’s a hard direction in which to move. I trust myself. I keep the faith. I mess up sometimes.

–Cheryl Strayed: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

The future has an ancient heart

There’s a line by the Italian writer Carlo Levi that I think is apt here: “The future has an ancient heart.” I love it because it expresses with such grace and economy what is certainly true—that who we become is born of who we most primitively are; that we both know and cannot possibly know what it is we’ve yet to make manifest in our lives.

–Cheryl Strayed: Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar

Baby wants a story

He hates books and thinks they’re food or objects for throwing until the day comes when he starts bringing you books, one after the other, for him to read. He crawls in your lap and stares at you expectantly and may the gods help you if you don’t start reading double-quick because by gosh and by golly, baby wants a story.

–Chuck Wendig
Transmissions from Toddlertown: the First Year

Breaking the cycle

Almost, they did. Lizzie wanted children; he wanted a wife with city contacts and some money behind her. They were married in weeks. Gregory arrived within the year. Bawling, strong, one hour old, plucked from the cradle: he kissed the infant’s fluffy skull and said, I shall be as tender to you as my father was not to me. For what’s the point of breeding children, if each generation does not improve on what went before?

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The tragedy of the commons

Wherein Walter Cromwell defines the tragedy of the commons, where the incentive to take advantage for one’s own good outstrips the incentive to behave for the good of all.

He tells them about the Pegasus, and about his father’s brewhouse and how Walter gets fined for bad beer at least twice a year. He tells them about how he gets fines for stealing wood, cutting down other people’s trees, and about the too-many sheep he runs on the common.

Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel

The world is a story, not an equation

I simply couldn’t hold the formulas and numbers in my head. It was a logic that made little sense to me. In my perception, the world wasn’t a graph or formula or an equation. It was a story.

–Cheryl Strayed, Wild, From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail