Pam Houston Quotes

I always tell my students, about the biggest baddest things in life you must try to write small and light, save the big writing for the unexpected tiny thing that always makes or breaks a story.

Dogs change lives. Half Buddha, half Bozo, they keep us tethered to the earth, and teach us to fly. Our dogs are our sanity keepers.

I wanted her to see that the only life worth living is a life full of love; that loss is always part of the equation; that love and loss conjoined are the best opportunity we get to live fully, to be our strongest, our most compassionate, our most graceful selves.

Life gives us what we need when we need it; receiving what it gives us is a whole other thing.

People are supposed to accumulate, I thought, as they get older, but I seem to be sloughing off, like a person wrapped in a hundred layers of cellophane, tearing one layer off at a time, trying to get down to me.

I’ve always said the toughest thing about learning to feel your feelings is that then you have to feel your feelings.

There are three principles to remember if you are to teach a human being anything, and they are consistency, consistency, consistency.They are such fragile creatures to begin with, with poor eyes, poorer hearing, and no sense of smell left to speak of, it’s no wonder they are made of fear. Some centuries ago they moved inside and with that move went nine-tenths of their intuition. It is almost unmerciful to make them live so long when they spend their lives in so much pain.

There was something about the prairie for me—it wasn’t where I had come from, but when I moved there it just took me in and I knew I couldn’t ever stop living under that big sky.

I’ve been to a lot of school and read a lot of thick books, but at my very core there’s a made-for-TV-movie mentality I don’t think i will ever shake.

Give me a labyrinth to walk and I can usually free my mind.

Sometimes no matter how well you prepare, no matter how conservative your decision making, no matter how few Y chromosomes are along on your trip, you can still find yourself in a mud slide or a hurricane without a dry piece of clothing to your name. But those of us who have given our time and usually our hearts to outdoorsmen over the years know that, for many of them, it’s not really a wilderness trip unless, MacGyver-like, they have to make a fire out of a pair of shorts, a glow stick, and a ketchup bottle; it’s not really an adventure until someone gets airlifted out.

Every day at about four o’clock, I would go up to a farmhouse – or whatever kind of house was around – and knock on the door and say, “Hi, I’m biking across Canada, and I’m wondering if I could pitch my tent on your land.” And sometimes people slammed the door in my face, but the vast majority of the time they said, “Of course,” and then they said, “Come for dinner,” and then they packed me food the next day and fed me breakfast and sometimes they got out the bottle of wine they’d been saving for a special occasion.

There’s this great Ron Carlson story, “A Note on the Type,” and it’s about this guy who keeps escaping from prison. He’s really good at escaping, but he gets caught all the time, because he can’t stop writing his name on underpasses where he’s running from the law. And there’s this whole beautiful paragraph about how to run is to write. And, you know, it’s obviously about the writer’s life.

One thing I’m always thinking about myself is what am I willing to make up? And the answer is not much.

When I was a little kid, I used to walk miles and miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of railroad tracks.

Stillness is a harder concept for me than ecstasy, but I can imagine it best when I am fully present and paying strict attention to a place I am moving through.

The Universe has a plan to make sure we don’t ever stop learning, not only in our minds, but also in our hearts.

I’m not very interested in telling the facts. I have a lot of investment in telling the truth.

The more important question, of course, was what the new Lucy would do, and even though I was pretty sure the old Lucy wouldn’t be around much anymore, I was a little bit afraid the new Lucy hadn’t yet shown up.

I’m about going out in the world and noticing stuff, and going home and writing it down, and putting it next to other stuff I’ve noticed and seeing what happens.

Movement helps keep me centered. I am a disaster, for instance, at sitting meditation, but I’m pretty decent at walking meditation.

Being in the presence of the “other” seems to show me who I am in a way that is really important to me. I feel radically more comfortable in Laos, say, than I do in Pennsylvania.

For me, the shaping of the story is more important than accuracy.

My parents were travelers. Every time my parents got ten dollars ahead they went somewhere. That’s what they did. So I got the bug from them.

I write really well on the road.