Every time you looked up you saw Dole, Kemp and McCain.
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Every time you looked up you saw Dole, Kemp and McCain.

-Tom Slade

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I do not write every day. I write to the questions and issues before me. I write to deadlines. I write out of my passions. And I write to make peace with my own contradictory nature. For me, writing is a spiritual practice. A small bowl of water sits on my desk, a reminder that even if nothing is happening on the page, something is happening in the room--evaporation. And I always light a candle when I begin to write, a reminder that I have now entered another realm, call it the realm of the Spirit. I am mindful that when one writes, one leaves this world and enters another. My books are collages made from journals, research, and personal experience. I love the images rendered in journal entries, the immediacy that is captured on the page, the handwritten notes. I love the depth of ideas and perspective that research brings to a story, be it biological or anthropological studies or the insights brought to the page by the scholarly work of art historians.When I go into a library, I feel like I am a sleuth looking to solve a mystery. I am completely inspired by the pursuit of knowledge through various references. I read newpapers voraciously. I love what newspapers say about contemporary culture. And then you go back to your own perceptions, your own words, and weigh them against all you have brought together. I am interested in the kaleidoscope of ideas, how you bring many strands of thought into a book and weave them together as one piece of coherent fabric, while at the same time trying to create beautiful language in the service of the story. This is the blood work of the writer.Writing is also about a life engaged. And so, for me, community work, working in the schools or with grassroots conservation organizations is another critical component of my life as a writer. I cannot separate the writing life from a spiritual life, from a life as a teacher or activist or my life intertwined with family and the responsibilities we carry within our own homes. Writing is daring to feel what nurtures and breaks our hearts. Bearing witness is its own form of advocacy. It is a dance with pain and beauty.

-Terry Tempest

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Fortune favours the brave, sir," said Carrot cheerfully."Good. Good. Pleased to hear it, captain. What is her position vis a vis heavily armed, well prepared and excessively manned armies?""Oh, no–one's ever heard of Fortune favouring them, sir.""According to General Tacticus, it's because they favour themselves," said Vimes. He opened the battered book. Bits of paper and string indicated his many bookmarks. "In fact, men, the general has this to say about ensuring against defeat when outnumbered, out–weaponed and outpositioned. It is..." he turned the page, "'Don't Have a Battle.'""Sounds like a clever man," said Jenkins. He pointed to the yellow horizon."See all that stuff in the air?" he said. "What do you think that is?""Mist?" said Vimes."Hah, yes. Klatchian mist! It's a sandstorm! The sand blows about all the time. Vicious stuff. If you want to sharpen your sword, just hold it up in the air.""Oh.""And it's just as well because otherwise you'd see Mount Gebra. And below it is what they call the Fist of Gebra. It's a town but there's a bloody great fort, walls thirty feet thick. 's like a big city all by itself. 's got room inside for thousands of armed men, war elephants, battle camels, everything. And if you saw that, you'd want me to turn round right now. Whats your famous general got to say about it, eh?""I think I saw something..." said Vimes. He flicked to another page. "Ah, yes, he says, 'After the first battle of Sto Lat, I formulated a policy which has stood me in good stead in other battles. It is this: if the enemy has an impregnable stronghold, see he stays there.'""That's a lot of help," said Jenkins.Vimes slipped the book into a pocket."So, Constable Visit, there's a god on our side, is there?""Certainly, sir.""But probably also a god on their side as well?""Very likely, sir. There's a god on every side.""Let's hope they balance out, then.

-Terry Pratchett

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