Advice from CALYX Authors to Inspire You to Be Your Most Awesome Self

Fri, 18 Mar 2016 17:00:00 +0000

CALYX Journal, the feminist literary periodical, was founded forty years ago on March 11, 1976, by four women intent on providing a forum for the many wide-ranging and diverse voices that make up women writers and artists. To celebrate, CALYX and Ooligan Press have been diligently working to ready Memories Flow in Our Veins: Forty Years of Women’s Writing from CALYX, an anthology of poetry and prose handpicked by the CALYX Editorial Collective for publication in April 2016. CALYX has won numerous literary awards and has served as a launching pad for a host of female writers, from Julia Alvarez to Sharon Olds to Barbara Kingsolver, among four thousand others. Here are sixteen brilliant quotes from CALYX writers to guide you toward being an even better, kinder, and smarter person than you already are.

On Wandering:

“There are ways in, journeys to the center of life, through time; through air, matter, dream and thought. The ways are not always mapped or charted, but sometimes being lost, if there is such a thing, is the sweetest place to be. And always, in this search, a person might find that she is already there, at the center of the world. It may be a broken world, but it is glorious nonetheless.”
―Linda Hogan, The Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir

On Learning:

“If you don’t understand, ask questions. If you’re uncomfortable about asking questions, say you are uncomfortable about asking questions and then ask anyway. It’s easy to tell when a question is coming from a good place. Then listen some more. Sometimes people just want to feel heard. Here’s to possibilities of friendship and connection and understanding.” ―Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Americanah

On Purpose:

“The very least you can do in your life is 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.” ―Barbara Kingsolver, Animal Dreams

On the Body:

“This body is yours. No one can ever take it from you, if only you will accept yourself, claim it again—your arms, your spine, your ribs, the small of your back. It’s all yours. All this bounty, all this beauty, all this strength and grace is yours. This garden is yours. Take it back. Take it back.” ―Jean Hegland, Into the Forest

On Morality:

“Do nothing because it is righteous or praiseworthy or noble to do so; do nothing because it seems good to do so; do only that which you must do and which you cannot do in any other way.” ―Ursula K. Le Guin, The Farthest Shore

On Worry:

“Don’t create snakes out of ropes. You have enough to worry about.” ―Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Mistress of Spices

On Spontaneity:

“Don’t plan it all. Let life surprise you a little.” ––Julia Alvarez, In the Time of the Butterflies

On Crying:

Tears have a purpose. They are what we carry of the ocean, and perhaps we must become the sea, give ourselves to it, if we are to be transformed.” ―Linda Hogan, Solar Storms

On Seizing the Moment:

“This is your life. You are responsible for it. You will not live forever. Don’t wait.” ―Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life

On Self-Care:

“Take your vitamins. Exercise. Just work to love yourself as much as you can—not more than the people around you but not so much less.” ––Sharon Olds, “Advice to Young Poets: Sharon Olds in Conversation,” interview by Michael Laskey

On Control:

“Life is not orderly. No matter how we try to make it so, right in the middle of it we die, lose a leg, fall in love, or drop a jar of applesauce.” ―Natalie Goldberg, Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life

On Reading:

“Even the worst book can give us something to think about.” ––Wislawa Szymborska

On Writing:

“Allow yourself to release the emotions you have struggled all your life to contain.” ––Ellen Bass

“I have learned over the years that all I can do is reach for something difficult—try to get the colors right and the negative space, the angle of the light. And if a few people can see it, that has to be enough.” ––Molly Gloss, Falling from Horses

“Words aren’t simply words. They represent something. As I would say, take the ordinary and make it extraordinary.” ––Colleen J. McElroy, “‘Make the Ordinary Extraordinary:’ Interview with Colleen J. McElroy,” interview by Sampsonia Way

And, Most Importantly:

“Do NOT copy John Grisham.” ––Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, “In the Footsteps of Achebe: Enter Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nigeria’s Newest Literary Voice,” interview by Ikechuku Anya

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