My friend Malcolm told me a story about pronghorns recently, the North American creature sometimes confused with antelopes. They can run at speeds of nearly sixty miles an hour, much, much faster than any of their existing predators. Some biologists think they’re still outrunning the dangerous species that went extinct at the end of the Pleistocene, specifically the cheetahs that existed on this continent. And then Malcolm asked what each of us is still outrunning and whether we can tell when our predator has been extinct for ten thousand years.
Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby
That magical opportunity of entering another life is what really sets us thinking about our own.
Jill Ker Conway, When Memory Speaks: Reflections on Autobiography
The most precious possession an individual has is the mythical rendition of his personal history.
For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest.
Suffering is like a two-edged sword: it can temper one and make one more compassionate, or it can stir up an abiding anger. If one is lucky, he can expunge the anger and use the compassion. Or, he can use the anger constructively as a catalyst for his compassion.
Richelene Mitchell, Dear Self: A Year in the Life of a Welfare Mother
How much courage it takes to speak our minds. But that, I think, is what we do when we write a memoir. We articulate, acknowledge and declare ourselves. We consider how we got to this place where we now stand, and we want others to consider it too. With luck, our writings will help them know how they got to where they stand.
Susan Carol Hauser, You Can Write A Memoir
Genuine catharsis requires the emotions of shame, dread, fear, puzzlement, and even hopelessness. Anything less is too superficial. The avoidance of these feelings, which beg for attention, makes people numb and foggy and therefore incapable of the necessary empathy.
Thomas Moore, Dark Nights of the Soul