Avoiding difficulty

American culture does not take well to the idea of difficulty. Our penchant is for one-step, one-stop solutions to problems, and we expect and demand in all areas of life, including reading, an ease of achievement that is antithetical to thought itself. —Helen Regueiro Elam

Source: “The Difficulty of Reading” in The Idea of Difficulty in Literature.

Love and loneliness

“I can love you because I want to feel less alone, or I can love you because I want you to feel less alone. But only the latter requires me to imagine a consciousness independent of my own, and equally real.” —Garth Risk Hallberg

Source: ‘Why Write Novels at All?’, The New York Times

Choosing who may judge you

“It was while I was at interview that I finally noticed that subjecting myself to the judgement of an institution which I fundamentally disagreed with was bizarre.” —Elly Nowell, commenting on the rejection letter she sent the University of Oxford

Source: Magdalen Oxford gets rejection letter from student, BBC News

Creativity, divergent thinking, and psychopathology

[T]hinking outside the box might be facilitated by having a somewhat less intact box.

Source: de Manzano Ö, Cervenka S, Karabanov A, Farde L, Ullén F (2010) Thinking Outside a Less Intact Box: Thalamic Dopamine D2 Receptor Densities Are Negatively Related to Psychometric Creativity in Healthy Individuals. PLoS ONE 5(5): e10670. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0010670