Talking Stick

IT DEPENDS ON the person, but I think you’d be better off falling in love [than taking a writing class], you’d be better off getting rejected by someone, sidling up to a woman and saying, ‘How ’bout it, baby?’ and she saying, ‘Fuck off.’ These are valuable experiences!
–Frank McCourt, author, Poets and Writers (Sept./Oct. 1999)

“I SEE MYSELF as a pirate, plundering and smuggling back to women that which has been stolen from us. But it hasn’t simply been stolen; it’s been stolen and reversed. For example, the Christian trinity is the triple goddess reversed. The trinity is aptly described as a closed triangle. It doesn’t go anywhere.”
— Mary Daly, feminist theorist, What Is Enlightenment? (Fall/Winter 1999)

“THE WAYS IN WHICH people are damaged are the ways in which they’re strong. It’s what makes people interesting–what they’ve overcome and how, and what they haven’t and how that’s become a good thing. Almost everyone’s life is both a gorgeous story and a tragedy. I think being alive is really, really hard, and I’m constantly stunned and amazed by people who make it interesting and beautiful.”
–Sarah Polley, actor, Interview (Sept. 1999)

“POVERTY IS NOT the problem. Wealth is the problem. Poverty is the solution.”
–Satish Kumar, author, publisher, activist, Resurgence (Sept./Oct. 1999)

“YOU KNOW HOW Winston Churchill called his depression ‘my black dog’? Well that’s how I think of my insomnia–it’s like some big, unmanageable Labrador retriever that . . . knocks you over in its one-sided ardor and can’t be made to mind no matter how savagely you beat it or how tenderly you whisper into the velvet flap of its ear. That damn dog comes around at least three nights a week.”
–Ayun Halliday, editor, East Village Inky (#2)

“SOMETIMES I’LL SAY things for the sake of outrageousness, and they’re not necessarily true, yet I enjoy saying them to shock people and make them be honest. But being honest can be a front, which is probably the most honest thing I can say.”
–Margaret Cho, comedian, Girlfriends (Nov. 1999)

“YOU CAN’T HAVE an omelet without breaking eggs. The same is true in confronting evil. Martin Luther King Jr. and Gandhi took some amazing risks, they had to go through a lot of suffering and hardship, there’s no way out of that. The point is not to return to violence.”
–Utah Phillips, musician, Hip Mama (#20)

“MY GENERATION is not about to produce a renaissance of the left. Our political critics are too enamored with pragmatic conservatism, and our social critics are too flippantly detached or too busy pining for the past. But this conclusion might be too pessimistic. Ironically, one source of hope might come from a simple and gloomy fact: Generation X is doing notoriously worse than baby boomers in terms of economic standing.”
–Kevin Mattson, author, Dissent (Fall 1999)

“I HAVE FOUND that rituals and repetition resonate with and comfort people. But I am part of a religious tradition that also values variations: What a ritual communicates to people is more important than performing it in one specific way. These things that I do have been done by those before me and will continue to be done after I am gone, limiting my self-importance while at the same time connecting me with my community.”
–Amy B. Gregory, minister, Ms. (Oct./Nov. 1999)

–Compiled by Erin Anderson, Laine Bergeson, and Sara Buckwitz

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