Tolkien on Becoming a New Person

The spider lay dead beside him, and his sword-blade was stained black. Somehow the killing of the giant spider, all alone by himself in the dark without the help of the wizard or the dwarves or of anyone else, made a great difference to Mr Baggins. He felt a different person, and much fiercer and bolder in spite of an empty stomach, as he wiped his sword on the grass and put it back into its sheath.

“I will give you a name,” he said to it, “and I shall call you Sting.”

After that he set out to explore.

— J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Sartre on Story

You seem to start from the beginning… and, in reality, you have started at the end.

…everything changes when you tell about life… things happen one way and we tell about them in the opposite sense. You seem to start from the beginning: “It was a fine autumn evening in 1922. I was a notary’s clerk in Maromme.” And, in reality, you have started at the end…

The end is there, transforming everything. For us, the man is already the hero of the story… we feel that the hero has lived all the details of this night like annunciations, promises, or even that he lived only those that were promises, blind and deaf to all that did not herald adventure.

We forget that the future was not yet there; the man was walking in a night without forethought, a night which offered him a choice of dull, rich prizes, and he did not make his choice.

— Jean-Paul Sartre, Nausea

Chris Anderson on Leadership

I think that leading people is perhaps the most important skill these days… Helping (and inspiring) other people to do cool stuff is what an editor does, and when you take it out of a purely professional media context that looks more and more like effective community management. It’s a great skill and I admire those who do it well.

Chris Anderson, Wired Editor in Chief

Dorothy Sayers on Art

There is power in the recognition… the single and indivisible act of a creative mind.

[An artist] is a man who not only suffers the impact of external events but also experiences them. He puts the experience into words in his own mind, and in so doing recognizes the experience for what it is… By thus recognizing it in its expression, he makes it his own — integrates it into himself… it is no longer something happening to him, but something happening in him: the reality of the event is communicated to him in activity and power.

So that the act of the [artist] in creation is seen to be threefold — a trinity — experience, expression, and recognition: the unknowable reality in the experience; the image of that reality known in its expression; and power in the recognition, the whole making up the single and indivisible act of a creative mind.”