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Terry Tempest Williams

  • Storytelling is the oldest form of education.

  • Rituals are the formulas by which harmony is restored.

  • Sometimes you have to disclaim your country and inhabit another before you can return to your own.

  • Story is a relationship between the teller and the listener, a responsibility. After the listening you become accountable for the sacred knowledge that has been shared.

  • Landscape shapes culture.

  • Swimming in crosscultural waters can be dangerous, and if you are honest you can't stay there very long. Sooner or later you have to look at your own reflection and decide what to do with yourself.

  • Story is a sacred visualization, a way of echoing experience.

  • A trip to the hospital is always a descent into the macabre. I have never trusted a place with shiny floors.

  • Dying doesn't cause suffering. Resistance to dying does.

  • There is something very sensual about a letter. The physical contact of pen to paper, the time set aside to focus thoughts, the folding of the paper into the envelope, licking it closed, addressing it, a chosen stamp, and then the release of the letter to the mailbox — are all acts of tenderness.

  • Our correspondences have wings — paper birds that fly from my house to yours — flocks of ideas crisscrossing the country. Once opened, a connection is made. We are not alone in the world.

  • Faith defies logic and propels us beyond hope because it is not attached to our desires. Faith is the centerpiece of a connected life. It allows us to live by the grace of invisible strands. It is a belief in a wisdom superior to our own. Faith becomes a teacher in the absence of fact.

  • An individual doesn't get cancer, a family does.

  • ... memory is the only way home.

    • Terry Tempest Williams,
    • in Mickey Pearlman, ed., Listen to Their Voices ()
  • This is my living faith, a faith of verbs: to question, explore, experiment, experience, walk, run, dance, play, eat, love, dare, taste, touch, smell, listen, argue, speak, write, read, draw, provoke, emote, scream, sin, repent, cry, kneel, pray, bow, rise, stand, look, laugh, cajole, create, confront, confound, walk back, walk forward, circle, hide, and seek. To seek: to embrace the questions, be wary of answers.

    • Terry Tempest Williams,
    • Leap
    • ()
  • The creative process ignites our imagination, and I believe that that same imagination is what will propel us forward with issues of social change. I do think we have to acknowledge that we are a very capitalistic and consumptive nation, and that talk about conservation or issues of sustainability is never going to be popular with the dominant culture because it means checks and balances on an economy that is reserved for the dollar, rather than an economy that honors and respects spiritual resources and the right of all life to participate on the planet, not just our species.

    • Terry Tempest Williams,
    • in Ruminator Review ()
  • Democracy is an insecure landscape.

    • Terry Tempest Williams,
    • "The Open Space of Democracy," in Medea Benjamin and Jodie Evans, Stop the Next War Now ()
  • If we fail in this country, it is because we are too timid. If we lose our way in America, it is because we are too complacent. We must become conscious to the real threats before us and act creatively, imaginatively, now. We can no longer look to leadership beyond ourselves.

    • Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams, U.S. naturalist, writer