Month: March 2021

My Gift to You

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
Dark storm clouds, photo by Mihaela Limberea.

My gift to you will be an abyss, she said, 

but it will be so subtle you’ll perceive it

only after many years have passed

and you are far from Mexico and me. 

You’ll find it when you need it most,

and that won’t be

the happy ending, 

but it will be an instant of emptiness and joy. 

And maybe then you’ll remember me, 

if only just a little.

by Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003), Chilean novelist, short-story writer, poet and essayist.


To read more poems, click here.



This Is My Wish for You

Close up of a lake with waterlilies blades. Photo by Mihaela Limberea.

This is my wish for you: Comfort on difficult days, smiles when sadness intrudes, rainbows to follow the clouds, laughter to kiss your lips, sunsets to warm your heart, hugs when spirits sag, beauty for your eyes to see, friendships to brighten your being, faith so that you can believe, confidence for when you doubt, courage to know yourself, patience to accept the truth, Love to complete your life.

by Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882), American essayist, Transcendentalist poet, and popular philosopher.


To read more quotes, click here.



You’ll Always Have More Ideas Than Time

Coffee mug and notebook near a fireplace.
Photo by Rafael Leão on Unsplash

While I am working diligently on my research, I’m fighting this sudden urge to abandon the book I’m toiling on and write another book. A very compelling idea came my way. It feels so right that I’m ready to jettison the current material and just start again.

It’s a huge temptation. But is this the right thing to do?

I know it’s not. How do I know? I’ve learned it the hard way. *

A bright new idea makes current work seems dreary compared to whatever I’m working on. Naïve me abandons said dreary work to jump on board another project, so full of promises and hopes that it’s only right to do it. I enthusiastically start, work for a while, and realize that it’s become, well, dreary as time goes by. Then, I have an idea. Again. I feel stupid, but I’m not willing to cut my losses. Yet. I’ve invested in the first project, discarded all that work, started again, put in more time and effort – should I abandon this as well?

It’s a vicious circle. You’ll always have more ideas than time to execute them. It takes a lot of discipline to resist the pull of sparkling new ideas; the brain loves shiny bright objects, the rascal (this is the novelty bias at play).

I cannot afford to be seduced by new promises. It feels good in the beginning, then reality sets in, and I’ll be back to square one in no time.

Reluctantly, I write down the new idea in my Future Projects-list and go back to work.


* Remember when I said that I’d write a short story instead of the SF novel I was working on? Guess what? I didn’t finish it. Nor did I continue with the novel. Instead, I got a new idea! A non-fiction book! It’ll be great! Leave the dull stuff behind; let’s do this new, cool stuff instead!

This is why I started documenting the process of writing my book here on the blog. This serves a dual purpose: first, I’ll be less prone to chase new ideas, and second, I’ll have to finish it. Don’t underestimate the power of social accountability to keep your promises.


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The Peace of Wild Things

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
Deep blue sea. Photo by Mihaela Limberea

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

by Wendell Berry (b. 1934), American poet, novelist, and environmentalist.


To read more poems, click here.



It Doesn’t Matter

Ivy and stone stairs at Millesgården, Stockholm (Sweden). Photo by Mihaela Limberea

Whatever you think matters—doesn’t. Follow this rule, and it will add decades to your life. It does not matter if you are late, or early; if you are here, or if you are there; if you said it, or did not say it; if you were clever, or if you were stupid; if you are having a bad hair day, or a no hair day; if your boss looks at you cockeyed; if your girlfriend or boyfriend looks at you cockeyed; if you are cockeyed; if you don’t get that promotion, or prize, or house, or if you do. It doesn’t matter.

Roger Rosenblatt (b. 1940), American memoirist, essayist, and novelist.



Nothing Is So Intimate as Writing a Book

An open notebook
Photo by Kiwihug on Unsplash

I know I’ve been secretive about the book I’m working on, but I can’t help it. It’s too fragile a thing to be exposed to the world. A small plant, a tiny greenhouse flower that still needs nutrients, and water, and a lot of tender care and protection before it’s ready to be planted in the garden to stand on its own.

Maybe I doubt it’s a good idea after all, and I don’t want my bubble to be burst yet.

Maybe I’ll change my mind and go into a different direction.

Or maybe I’m not ready to bare my soul yet. Nothing is so intimate as writing a book, pouring your soul on the page, and sending it out in the world, alone and vulnerable. 

As Vita Sackville-West said, “The book the one is writing at the moment is really the most intimate part of one, and the part about which one preserves the strictest secrecy. What is love or sex, compared with the intensity of the life one leads in one’s book? A trifle; a thing to be shouted from the hill-tops.”  (in a letter to Virginia Woolf on July 24th, 1929, from the book The Letters of Vita Sackville -West and Virginia Woolf, edited by Louise DeSalvo and Mitchell Leaska).


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Wild Geese

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
A lake

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Mary Oliver (1935 – 2019), from the volume Dream Work (1986)


To read more poems, click here.



Compassion Is Largely a Quality of the Imagination

Close up of a lotus flower to illustrate compassion. Photo by Mihaela Limberea.

Compassion is largely a quality of the imagination: it consists of the ability to imagine what we would feel if we were suffering the same situation. It has always seemed to me that people without compassion lack a literary imagination— the capacity great novels give us for putting ourselves in another’s place—and are incapable of seeing that life has many twists and turns and that at any given moment we could find ourselves in someone else’s shoes: suffering pain, poverty, oppression, injustice or torture.

Héctor Abad Faciolince, from Oblivion: A Memoir.


To read more quotes, click here.



Perfect Is the Enemy of Done

A book and a notebook on a desk.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Many people dream about writing a book but never get past talking about it.

Some start but get stuck “researching,” afraid that they may miss something essential if they don’t read that next book. And the next one. And the next one, in a never-ending stream of self-deceit.

Others start but never finish because they’re continuously tinkering with it, adding a word here, another there, shuffling paragraphs around, the eternal Joseph Grands. They’re not adding new material propelling the book forward, just recycling old stuff.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist. We’re only deceiving ourselves thinking that one more day, one more week, one more month to put the finishing touch on that artwork, on that project, will miraculously transform it, making it perfect.

Perfect is the enemy of done.


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From Blossoms

  1. Things to Do in the Belly of the Whale
  2. From Blossoms
  3. Wild Geese
  4. The Peace of Wild Things
  5. My Gift to You
Rose blossoms, photo by Mihaela Limberea

There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom, to sweet impossible blossom.

By Li-Young Lee (b. 1957 – )


To read more poems, click here.