The first book I read in 2016 was one of the most mesmerizing pieces of fiction that I have found in a long time. Maybe it was the subject matter–the story revolves around a novelist headed to Athens, Greece to teach a creative writing course one summer. Maybe it’s the string of seemingly disconnected conversations that make up the entire book. Maybe its the way that these strangers share such intimate details of their own lives. But whatever it is, author Rachel Cusk drew me in and continues to inspire me to read, to write, and to live–honestly, unselfishly, and truthfully.

  • “What Ryan had learned from this is that your failures keep returning to you, while your successes are something you always have to convince yourself of.”

How often do I dwell on my failures and let them rule my thoughts?

  • “That’s writing for you: when you make space for passion, it doesn’t turn up.”

So true–i am most creative when I have the least amount of time to devote to my passions.

  • “It seems success takes you away from what you know, while failure condemns you to it.”

Success hits, we move away from that which is familiar and tumble into a world of the unknown struggling to make it all work–only to become more successful and repeat the cycle, never content to stay where we were–yet at the same time, desiring home.

  • I could weep just to think that I’ll never see you again as you were at the age of six–I would give anything to meet that six year old one more time. But everything falls away, try as you might to stop it.”

These words stopped me cold. I look at my young adult children–and I too want just one more day with them both at the age of six. Who were they then? Where did it all go? What a great reminder to try my utmost to live in the present– far too quickly it is gone forever.

  • “She looks…at the women running in the park, always running, and she asks herself whether they are running towads something or away from it. If she looks long enough she sees that they are simply running around in circles!”

And I laugh–for this is me–always running, ¬†constantly in circles–where, exactly, am I headed?

This is one book I didn’t want to end, and one I could go back and re-read. If you are looking for something that you don’t want to put down, pick up Rachel Cusk’s¬†Outline.