Articles and Features


Week of December 28, 1997

I should be writing a section on the New Year in the Western world, but I just can't get myself to do it. January first doesn't mark the year's beginning in all parts of this world and I can't talk about new beginnings when I'm aware that it doesn't mean that to everyone. Of course, I talk about Halloween and Christmas as if everyone knew what these holidays meant. I talk about the flu in the cold of winter when it's summer in Argentina. How do I look past myself and my little world to see the big picture? How do I put aside my large biases on this small planet?

Maybe I shouldn't. What does a writer do, but to describe the world around her as best as she can? If I worry about the New Year in Hong Kong when I'm trying to write about the New Year in the United States, am I able to fully tell the story of the resolutions and promises of a Utahan? If Jane Austen had taken a page or two to describe the life of the servants of Emma, would the story have been as vivid? I'm not proposing that egocentricism is correct. Other cultures are just as important as the one in which I am immersed, but I am fully unable to comment on them. I can only report life around me, and my yearly resolution is to do just that.

Introduction and quote compilation by Laura S. Moncur, Staff Writer.

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self."
Cyril Connolly
"The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man."
George Bernard Shaw
"The more I study religions the more I am convinced that man never worshipped anything but himself."
Sir Richard F. Burton
"Delusions of grandeur make me feel a lot better about myself."
Jane Wagner
"I prefer to be true to myself, even at the hazard of incurring the ridicule of others, rather than to be false, and to incur my own abhorrence."
Frederick Douglass
"Doubt yourself and you doubt everything you see. Judge yourself and you see judges everywhere. But if you listen to the sound of your own voice, you can rise above doubt and judgment. And you can see forever."
Nancy Kerrigan
Truth is truth, no matter who says it.
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am not for others, what am I? And if not now, when?"
Rabbi Hillel, 12th Century
For more information about Self Improvement, try these links:
  • Self Improvement Online - This site provides a weekly collection of inspirational quotes and a list of links to inspirational quote pages. There is also information on any sort of therapy available (bogus and not so bogus), from Aromatherapy to Yoga.
  • The following books and tapes are available through
    • Forever, Erma : Best-Loved Writing from America's Favorite Humorist Paperback by Erma Bombeck - Writings from a woman who was never scared to talk about the intricacies of American life.
    • Life 101 Hardcover by Peter McWilliams - Reading one of his books is tantamount to reading them all, but this is the one I recommend. A wonderfully positive book with lots of quotations to make you feel good about what he's saying.
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