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I Want Life – Not Games[1]

Life – How and What is it?[2]

I cannot Define my Life yet it is So[3]

I don’t Know who I am but Life is for Learning[4]

She feels Nothing at all – except the Faint Presence of Life Itself[5]

I want to Explain this Life to you – even if I have to become Someone Else to do it[6]

Life is a Sword that Cuts, but cannot cut Itself – an Eye that Sees, but cannot see Itself[7]

What is this Life she is supposed to Lead? What

Is this World she is Supposed to Lead it in?[8]

I am Alive – only by Accident[9]

In Life as a Strange Garment[10]


Content with your Dustcloud Life[11]

Our Lives No longer feel Ground under them[12]

They spend their Lives making Sacrifices to Objects

They Don’t Care for, to please people they Don’t Love[13]

Life in itself is Nothing – a Flight of Uncarpeted Stairs[14]

Life’s a Hollow Bubble – Just a Painted Piece of Twouble[15]

Is the kind of Life you lead really any Different to being Dead?[16]

One Imagines that an average Lifetime’s Experience

Isn’t enough to Learn how to Achieve anything[17]

Life is so Solitary – a Fragile Column Support-

Ing Nothing, amidst the Wreckage of Years[18]

My Life is an Equation that Zeros out[19]

“It’s Living” – “It’s a Waste of Life”[20]


The Bitter Lapse into Every Day Life[21]

My Life has become an Interminable Fall[22]

He tries to build a Breakwater of Order and Elegance

Against the Sordid tide of Life without him … Useless[23]

I Sleep and Dream that Life is Beauty – I Wake and find that Life is Duty[24]

They have more Grit – and go on Stupidly Living through Disease and Sorrow[25]

I Never shall or can be Comfortable – or Anything but Miserable – Un-

Less I can lead a very Different sort of Life from the life I lead Now[26]

“Be Alive,” they Say – when I’m So Alive I Ache with it[27]

Life goes on as it had Always Gone on – that is, Badly[28]

I find the Fullness of my Life Constantly Halved[29]

Yours is the Worst Life of all – so you Win[30]


What Seek you all under the Leaves of Life?[31]

Small Parcels of Life Hunched in upon themselves[32]

Do any Human Beings Realize their Life while they Live it?[33]

I have not been Happy enough, considering my Luck – have Listened too

Much to Noise, have been Inattentive to Wonders, have Lusted after Praise[34]

If we are unduly Absorbed in Improving our Lives we may Forget altogether to Live them[35]

To Wish for a Fuller, Happier Life than your Present one is Natural and Commendable – what

Is Not commendable is to Despise your Present state while Yearning for a more Exalted one[36]

If you knew what Life is Worth – you would look for yours on Earth[37]

Where do People go? Not after they Die, but when they are Alive[38]

Why do you Live, if you do not care to Live Well?[39]

The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living[40]


You have a Near-Life Experience[41]

The Urge to Carve a Life out of the Huge Expanse[42]

Life consists only of a few simple Signals and Decisions[43]

My Life has been nothing but a Process through which I

Am giving Concrete Form to the Dormant Image inside me[44]

Brimful of Hope’s Nectar – Untouched Stands the Goblet of Life[45]

The Life within may Lie Sleeping through many Long Years

And None can Foretell the Time in which it will Awake[46]

With what Life Makes of me and my Hands Make of it[47]

The Largest Quantity of anything is a Lifetime[48]

We stand with our Lives Uncarved before us[49]

We Create the Life Creating us[50]


May the Next Life be a Happy one[51]

It is the Life he wants that he Speaks to?[52]

You Hatch a Life – or you Pass Through one[53]

Me an Interloper from a Life Studded with Alternate Possibilities[54]

What if one were to Begin Life over Again, Knowing what one is A-

Bout! If One Life were only a Rough Sketch and the Second a Fair Copy[55]

Make of me someone I’m Not – make of this Experience the Beginning of a New Life[56]

My Life was once a Flag to me, and I Waved it and Behaved like I was Told ­–

My Life was once a Drag to me, and I Loudly and Proudly Lost Control[57]

Calm is how you will Live once you Discard the Desire for More lives[58]

I will Start Tomorrow the Essential Dismantling of what I Live[59]

Let me Not say Yes to Lives I don’t Want[60]


My Trade and my Art is Living[61]

I must Work, I must Eat, I must Art, I must Mother, I must

Friend, I must Listen, I must Observe, Constantly I must Live[62]

Dream Dreams – Wish Wishes – Live a Life Worth Reckoning[63]

To Know that which before us lies in Daily Life, is the Prime Wisdom:

What is more is Fume, or Emptiness, or fond Impertinence, and renders

Us in things that most concern Unpractised, Unprepared, and still to Seek[64]

My Life has been the Poem I would have Writ but I could not both Live and Utter it[65]

Here hath been Dawning another Blue Day: think wilt thou let it Slip Useless Away[66]

Life is not a Problem to Solve – but a Reality to Experience[67]

If you’re Asked at all, it will be How Many Days of your

Days you Lived, and how Hot your Passion has been[68]

Life – if it Answers at all – Replies from the Heart[69]

Live the Lives – Live them All[70]


This Dead Life on Loan and on Land[71]

He Reports his Avocation as: “Being Alive” – he

Reports his Principal Occupation as: “Being Dead”[72]

Our Life together, Winks like a piece of Glitter with a whole A-

Tomic Globe whirring inside it, then Vanishes like the Speck it is[73]

Thou Searchest round to find out Death – but Missest Life at hand[74]

Life – a Violent Burst of Light like Flint Struck Sharply in the Dark[75]

We are Alive or will Grasp, when the Future arrives, what it means to be Dead[76]

Life is getting into a Boat that’s about to Sail out to Sea and Sink[77]

Before the Beginning Unknown, After the End, Unknown – but

Floating, Stretching between, the Mind’s Harmonic Mappings[78]

Life Before and After, Death Beneath and Above … his

Life is a Watch or a Vision between a Sleep and a Sleep[79]

Womb to Tomb – Birth to Earth – Sperm to Worm[80]


Is Not Every Life – is not Every Work Lovely?[81]

I’m Glad to be Here – I’m Glad to be Anywhere[82]

You have a Human Body endowed with Freedom and

Favourable Opportunities, which is Difficult to Acquire[83]

Die while Alive and be Completely Dead – then do Whatever you will – All is Good[84]

You can Improve your life Situation ­– but you Cannot improve your Life – Life is Primary[85]

Diamond Life Love Boy – he moves through space with a Minimum Waste and a Maximum Joy[86]

I Like to Eat, Sleep, Drink and be in Love – I like to Work, Read, Learn and Understand Life[87]

A Whole Lifetime is too Short to bring out the Full Power, the Full Fla-

Vour – to Extract every ounce of Pleasure, every Shade of Meaning[88]

When you Arise in the Morning, Think of what a Precious Priv-

Ilege it is to be Alive, to Breathe, to Think, to Enjoy, to Love[89]

Live Well and live Broadly – you are Alive and

Living now, Now is the Envy of all of the Dead[90]


Think about how Big it is to be Alive right Now[91]

Beautiful Lives are those that Bless Silent Rivers of

Happiness, whose Hidden Fountains but Few may Guess[92]

My Limbs are Firm, and Strong, and Free – Life hath a Thousand Charms for me[93]

Life – like a Dome of Many-Coloured Glass – Stains the White Radiance of Eternity[94]

The Great and the Romantic is but the Ordinary and the Incidental in the Routine of Life[95]

Life is but One Long Caress of Gentle Words and Gentle Hands[96]

One Life of so much Consequence – yet I for it would

Pay – my Soul’s Entire Income – in Ceaseless Salary[97]

My Life is a Tapestry – of Rich and Royal Hue[98]

Life’s Leaden Metal into Gold Transmute[99]

Life is a Flowering – and we Blossom[100]

[1] Ursula K. Le Guin, The Matter of Seggri

[2] Robert Browning, Fra Lippo Lippi

[3] Walt Whitman, To Think of Time

[4] Joni Mitchell, Woodstock

[5] Mary Ward Brown, The Cure

[6] Larry Levis, My Story in a Late Style of Fire

[7] Soren Kierkegaard, quoted by Alan Watts, The Psychology of Acceptance

[8] Douglas Adams, Mostly Harmless

[9] Sylvia Plath, A Birthday Present

[10] W.S. Merwin,For the Anniversary of My Death

[11] Italo Calvino tr. Tim Parks, The Other Eurydice

[12] Osip Mandelstam tr. W.S. Merwin & Clarence Brown, The Stalin Epigram

[13] E.M. Forster, Where Angels Fear to Tread

[14] Edna St. Vincent Millay, Spring

[15] Edmund Vance Cooke, Fin de Siécle

[16] Seneca

[17] Franz Kafka tr. John Williams, The Trial

[18] Carson McCullers, The Sojourner

[19] Reginald Dwayne Betts, House of Unending

[20] Sylvester Stallone, Rocky

[21] Edgar Allan Poe, The Fall of the House of Usher

[22] Jules Verne tr. Robert Baldick, Journey to the Center of the Earth

[23] James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

[24] Ellen S. Hooper, Duty

[25] Joseph Conrad, An Outpost of Progress

[26] Charles Dickens, Great Expectations

[27] Alan Dugan, On Rape Unattempted

[28] George Orwell, Animal Farm

[29] Hilary Leichter, Temporary

[30] Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird

[31] Anonymous, The Seven Virgins

[32] Jean-Dominique Bauby tr. Jeremy Leggatt, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

[33] Thornton Wilder, Our Town

[34] Wendell Berry, A Purification

[35] Alan Watts, This Is It

[36] Yatsutani-Roshi, Private Encounters with Ten Westerners in The Three Pillars of Zen

[37] Bob Marley, Get Up, Stand Up

[38] Salome Kokoladze, How We All Fall

[39] Diogenes of Sinope, in Diogenes Laërtius, quoted by James Miller in Examined Lives

[40] Socrates

[41] Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

[42] Peter Campion, Big Avalanche Ravine

[43] Yukio Mishima tr. John Nathan, The Sailor Who Fell from Grace with the Sea

[44] Haruki Murakami tr. Jay Rubin, 1Q84

[45] Unknown, Laurels and Immortelles

[46] J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King

[47] Ghassan Zaqtan tr. Fady Joudah, Happy with My Things

[48] Natalie Shapero, Other Things, If Not More Urgent Things

[49] William Croswell Doane, Life Sculpture

[50] Christian Wiman, The Parable of Perfect Silence

[51] Cathy Song, This Wonderful Opportunity

[52] Gertrude Stein, Three Lives

[53] Jenny Xie, Metamorphosis

[54] Kayo Chingonyi, Documentary

[55] Anton Chekhov tr. Constance Garnett, Three Sisters

[56] Ross Gay, To My Best Friend’s Big Sister

[57] Larry & Maggie Lee, My Life

[58] Sumana tr. Charles Hallisey, Therīgāthā

[59] Bianca Stone, Marcus Aurelius

[60] Adrienne Maree Brown, Emergent Strategy

[61] Michel de Montaigne, quoted by James Miller in Examined Lives

[62] Layli Long Soldier, Introduction to WHEREAS

[63] Ntozake Shange, Five

[64] John Milton, Paradise Lost

[65] Henry David Thoreau, ‘My life has been the poem I would have writ’

[66] Thomas Carlyle, To-Day

[67] Soren Kierkegaard, quoted by Alan Watts, The Psychology of Acceptance

[68] Felix Pollack, You’ll Never Be Asked

[69] W.H. Auden, Spain 1937

[70] Paul Celan tr. Ian Fairley, Live the Lives

[71] Ezra Pound’s Seafarer

[72] Kurt Vonnegut, Cat’s Cradle

[73] Mary Gaitskill, Today I’m Yours

[74] George Herbert, Vanity

[75] Jamaica Kincaid, At the Bottom of the River

[76] Terrance Hayes, Twenty Measures of Chitchat

[77] Pema Chödrön, When Things Fall Apart

[78] Anne Stephenson, A Lament for the Makers

[79] Algernon Charles Swinburne, Before the Beginning of Years

[80] Arthur Laurents, West Side Story

[81] Hermann Hesse tr. Joachim Neugroschel, Siddhartha

[82] Keith Richards

[83] Padmasambhava tr. Gyurme Dorje, The Tibetan Book of the Dead

[84] Bunan, quoted by Philip Kapleau, Zen: Merging of East and West

[85] Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

[86] Sade & Ray St. John, Your Love is King

[87] Langston Hughes, Theme for English B

[88] Virginia Woolf,Mrs. Dalloway

[89] Marcus Aurelius

[90] Don Hertzfeldt, World of Tomorrow

[91] Devin Shepherd, In Our Jeans

[92] Ellen P. Allerton, Beautiful Things

[93] Caroline Atherton Briggs Mason, When I Am Old

[94] Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonis

[95] Jack London, An Odyssey of the North

[96] Margaret Sherwood, In Memoriam – Leo: a Yellow Cat

[97] Emily Dickinson, One Life of So Much Consequence

[98] Carol King, Tapestry

[99] Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám, Edward Fitzgerald

[100] Irena Klepfisz, Bashert

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