Are you familiar with Anna Quindlen, the wonderfully eloquent journalist, novelist, and opinion columnist?
I first discovered her writing when Quindlen was still penning “The Last Word” every other week — the opinion piece on the last page of Newsweek. I was immediately drawn to her writing, which was always measured yet strong in a way that I — as a Southerner taught to always be nice — admired and craved. This woman knew who she was and knew what she believed and why. I wanted that, too.
In addition to being a dedicated “The Last Word” reader (and both devastated and inspired when her final article was published), I went on to read many of Quindlen’s novels (Black and Blue is my favorite) and analyze her writing as part of my senior thesis in college. I’m waiting in anticipation for my copy of Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake — Quindlen’s recently released memoir — which is set to arrive from Amazon any day.
Because I find so much of Quindlen’s writing — particularly her opinion pieces — to resonate with me in a way I’ve rarely experienced, I’ve begun turning to her wisdom when I’m feeling in need of some guidance and comfort.
Here are some of the quotes that I find most helpful. (Thank you for your words of advice, Anna!):
“Life is not so much about beginnings and endings as it is about going on and on and on. It is about muddling through the middle.”
“The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself.”
“A finished person is a boring person.”
“All of the qualities that you need to be a good opinion columnist tend to be qualities that aren’t valued in women.”
“I read and walked for miles at night along the beach, writing bad blank verse and searching endlessly for someone wonderful who would step out of the darkness and change my life. It never crossed my mind that that person could be me.”
“I’m sure not afraid of success and I’ve learned not to be afraid of failure. The only thing I’m afraid of now is of being someone I don’t like much.”