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Leslie Jamison

  • I once knew a man who spoke almost entirely in clichés. What he said was like a patchwork quilt, phrases sewn together in jagged veers of thought. Where there’s smoke there’s fire . . . if you play with fire, you’re bound to get burned . . . it all comes out in the wash . . . this too shall pass . . . one day at a time. His voice tacked between these phrases as he spoke — less like a sermon, more like a song. He was offering these clichés as gifts. They had helped him survive his own life.

    • Leslie Jamison,
    • in The New York Times ()
  • Empathy requires knowing you know nothing. Empathy means acknowledging a horizon of context that extends perpetually beyond what you can see.

  • This is the grand fiction of tourism, that bringing our bodies somewhere draws that place closer to us, or we to it.

  • Metaphors are tiny saviors leading the way out of sentimentality, small disciples of Pound, urging 'Say it new! Say it new!'

Leslie Jamison, U.S. writer