David James Duncan quotes

  • Is the work of sun worshippers to honor those who think they can see the sun? Or to worship the sun?
    -- David James Duncan

    #Thinking #Honor #Sun

  • Fiction writing feels more honest to me.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Writing #Fiction #Honest

  • There are many things worth telling that are not quite narrative. And eternity itself possesses no beginning, middle or end. Fossils, arrowheads, castle ruins, empty crosses: from the Parthenon to the Bo Tree to a grown man's or woman's old stuffed bear, what moves us about many objects is not what remains but what has vanished. There comes a time, thanks to rivers, when a few beautiful old teeth are all that remain of the two-hundred-foot spires of life we call trees. There comes a river, whose current is time, that does a similar sculpting in the mind.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Beautiful #Moving #Men

  • Then in October, Indian Summer, the air turned so soft, the sunlight so fragile, and each day's loveliness so poignantly doomed that even self-ignorance and restlessness felt like profound states of being, and he just wandered the empty beaches and misty headlands in a state of serene confusion and awe.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Summer #Beach #Ignorance

  • I'd trapped myself in a script.... But to be scripted at all is to be prepackaged, programmed, pinned to a page. Only the unwritten can truly live a life. So who I was, what I was, had to be unwritten.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Pages #Scripts

  • And into the brown paper bag of my heart, Eddy slipped a smile.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Love #Heart #Bags

  • Is a lifelong student of the world's wisdom literature, it is my duty to inform students that ridding the world of evil is a goal very different from any recommended by Jesus, Buddha or Muhammad, though not so different from some recommended by Joseph Stalin, Joseph McCarthy and Mao Tse Tung.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Jesus #Goal #Evil

  • The principles that will save Earth's life are the same principles that save the living souls of humans: ineluctable spiritual principles.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Spiritual #Soul #Principles

  • You, me, & your papa are 3 of the tiny percentage of souls on this miserable earth who've figured out that playing ball is the highest purpose God ever invented the human male body for.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Soul #Papa #Males

  • When experience flies into realms that language cannot touch, honesty demands beyond-language.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Honesty #Demand #Language

  • My books are inert as cordwood till a readers imagination ignites one and an old flame jumps to life.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Book #Flames #Imagination

  • Ecosystems are holy. The word "environmental" is a deadly compromise itself. It's a policy word that lives only in the head, and barely there.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Ecosystems #Environmental #Compromise

  • The environment, what surrounds you, is so alive and delightful and complex.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Alive #Environment #Surround

  • To me, it's a great day every time I receive a letter from somebody who climbed inside one of my books, inhabited it for a while, learned a little something, and emerged grateful.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Grateful #Book #Lakes

  • Faith of Cranes is a love song to the beauty and worth of the lives we are able to lead in the world just as it is, troubled though it be... The writing is honest, intensely lived, and overflowing with heart: broken, mended, and whole.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Song #Writing #Heart

  • And so I learned what solitude really was. It was raw material - awesome, malleable,older than men or worlds or water. And it was merciless - for it let a man become precisely what he alone made of himself.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Men #Water #Solitude

  • But I finally concluded that it is an inalienable right of lovers everywhere to become temporarily worthless to the world, it may even be their duty.
    -- David James Duncan

    #World #May #Lovers

  • Everybody gets jolted. You, me, before we die we’ll all get nailed, lots of times. But that doesn’t mean we’ll get turned into witches. You can’t avoid getting zapped, but you can avoid passing the mean energy on. That’s the interesting thing about witches, the challenge of them-- learning not to hit back, or hit somebody else, when they zap you. You can bury the zap, for instance, like the gods buried the Titans in the center of the earth. Or you can be like a river when a forest fire hits it--phshhhhhhhhhhhh! Just drown it, drown all the heat and let it wash away.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Mean #Rivers #Fire

  • I'd taken a big fat crisis off my shoulders and loaded it all on Jesus, which seemed unfair in a way, but was exactly what the Bible recommended.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Jesus #Taken #Way

  • Punctuationally speaking, wonder is a period at the end of a statement we've long taken for granted, suddenly looking up and seeing the sinuous curve of a tall black hat on its head, and realizing it was a question mark all along.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Taken #Curves #Long

  • But churches always have been the leading cause of the need for churches.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Church #Needs #Causes

  • I wish there really was such a thing as a Time-Clock Puncher, though. I wish some gigantic, surly, stone-fisted Soap Mahoney-type guy went around the world smashing every clock in sight till there weren't any more and people got so confused about when to go to the mill or school or church that they gave up and did something interesting instead.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Confused #School #Sight

  • In a head-on collision with Fanatics, the real problem is always the same: how can we possibly behave decently toward people so arrogantly ignorant that they believe, first, that they possess Christ's power to bestow salvation, second, that forcing us to memorize and regurgitate a few of their favorite Bible phrases and attend their church is that salvation, and third, that any discomfort, frustration, anger or disagreement we express in the face of their moronic barrages is due not to their astounding effrontery but to our sinfulness?
    -- David James Duncan

    #Real #Believe #Frustration

  • The bad thing about falling into pieces is that it hurts. The good thing about it is that once you're lying there in shards you've got nothing left to protect, and so have no reason not to be honest
    -- David James Duncan

    #Hurt #Lying #Fall

  • Music is just a word for something we love largely because it consists of things that words can't express. Likewise, the heart is just a word for something in us that music sometimes touches.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Heart #Sometimes #Music Is

  • Our lack of community is intensely painful. A TV talk show is not community. A couple of hours in a church pew each Sabbath is not community. A multinational corporation is neither a human nor a community, and in the sweatshops, defiled agribusiness fields, genetic mutation labs, ecological dead zones, the inhumanity is showing. Without genuine spiritual community, life becomes a struggle so lonely and grim that even Hillary Clinton has admitted "it takes a village".
    -- David James Duncan

    #Spiritual #Lonely #Couple

  • ... the best way to strip the allure and dreaminess from a lifelong dream is, very often, simply to have it come true.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Dream #Way #Allure

  • At last the cold crept up my spine; at last it filled me from foot to head; at last I grew so chill and desolate that all thought and pain and awareness came to a standstill. I wasn't miserable anymore: I wasn't anything at all. I was a nothing-- a random configuration of molecules. If my heart still beat I didn't know it. I was aware of one thing only; next to the gaping fact called Death, all I knew was nothing, all I did meant nothing, all I felt conveyed nothing. This was no passing thought. It was a gnawing, palpable emptiness more real than the cold.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Pain #Real #Heart

  • The fundamentalists of every faith remain blind to the truth that the “sigh within the prayer is the same in the heart of the Christian, the Muslim, and the Jew.” I have seen this unity with my eyes, heard it with my ears, felt it with all my being.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Christian #Prayer #Heart

  • I started having doubts right on top of my certainty.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Doubt #Certainty

  • --I truly and deeply wanted to kill him. And I believe I could have done it, with nothing but my hands. But all of a sudden, out of nowhere, Peter had an arm around me. "Let it go, Kade," he was whispering very gently, though his arm was nearly crushing me. "Open your fists," he said, "and let go of the coals.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Crush #Letting Go #Believe

  • We hear nothing so clearly as what comes out of silence.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Silence

  • Anyone too undisciplined, too self-righteous or too self-centered to live in the world as it is has a tendency to idealize a world which ought to be. But no matter what political or religious direction such idealists choose, their visions always share one telling characteristic: in their utopias, heavens or brave new worlds, their greatest personal weakness suddenly appears to be a strength.
    -- David James Duncan

    #Religious #Brave New World #Self