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" It seems very safe to me to be surrounded by green growing things and water. "
" To be hopeful, to embrace one possibility after another that is surely the basic instinct - crying out: High tide! Time to move out into the glorious debris. Time to take this life for what it is! "
" Stop a minute, right where you are. Relax your shoulders, shake your head and spine like a dog shaking off cold water. Tell that imperious voice in your head to be still. "
" As a biologist, I can't think of myself as anything but an animal among animals and plant. "
" Empathy is really the opposite of spiritual meanness. It's the capacity to understand that every war is both won and lost. And that someone else's pain is as meaningful as your own. "
" Every time I step onto an airplane, I turn to the right and take a good, hard stare into the maw of the engine. I don't know what I'm looking for. I just do it. "
" What you lose in blindness is the space around you, the place where you are, and without that you might not exist. You could be nowhere at all. "
" Small change, small wonders - these are the currency of my endurance and ultimately of my life. "
" Good fiction creates empathy. A novel takes you somewhere and asks you to look through the eyes of another person, to live another life. "
" What keeps you going isn't some fine destination but just the road you're on, and the fact that you know how to drive. "
" Wars and elections are both too big and too small to matter in the long run. The daily work - that goes on, it adds up. "
" You always need that spark of imagination. Sometimes I'm midway through a book before it happens. However, I don't wait for the muse to descend, I sit down every day and I work when I'm not delivering lambs on the farm. "
" It's surprising how much memory is built around things unnoticed at the time. "
" I love developing children as characters. Children rarely have important roles in literary fiction - they are usually defined as cute or precious, or they create a plot by being kidnapped or dying. "
" I think the most interesting parts of human experience might be the sparks that come from that sort of chipping flint of cultures rubbing against each other. And living on the border between Mexico and the U.S. for so many years gave me a lot of insight into that. "
" Sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws. "
" Nonfiction requires enormous discipline. You construct the terms of your story, and then you stick to them. "
" Memory is a complicated thing, a relative to truth, but not its twin. "
" The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. "
" Few people know so clearly what they want. Most people can't even think what to hope for when they throw a penny in a fountain. "
" The older I get, the more I appreciate my rural childhood. I spent a lot of time outdoors, unsupervised, which is a blessing. "
" I was trained in classical piano, but it kind of dawned on me that classical pianists compete for six job openings a year, and the rest of us get to play 'Blue Moon' in a hotel lobby. "
" What a writer can do, what a fiction writer or a poet or an essay writer can do is re-engage people with their own humanity. "
" Pain reaches the heart with electrical speed, but truth moves to the heart as slowly as a glacier. "