Literary Lights

Tiny Lights seeks light-related quotes by authors famous and otherwise for publication in each issue. Send finds/creations to P.O. Box 928/Petaluma, CA 94953 or e-mail We try to reward readers whose quotes we use with a subscription to Tiny Lights for themselves or a friend.

Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion.
You must set yourself on fire.

Unknown, Unknown

Twilight is short, and the unseen birds of twilight wistful, uncanny, catching the heart.

Annie Dillard, In the Jungle

All my life I'd wanted to belong in their families, to draw my lunch bag from the simple light and order of their defrosted refrigerators.

Mary Karr, The Liar's Club

Mist from the river, autumn haze, trailed moon-colors among the bronze, the blue trees, and a halo, an image of winter, ringed the paling sun.

Truman Capote, The Grass Harp

... in the obscured sky a moon does float, newly, a wishing moon, a sliver of ancient rock, a goddess, a wink.

Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid's Tale

The two noblest of things, which are sweetness and light.

Jonathan Swift, The Battle of the Books

There are two ways of spreading light; to be the candle, or the mirror that reflects it.

Edith Wharton

He was smoking and looking up at the pale stars which know enough to keep their distance from Hollywood.

Raymond Chandler, The Little Sister

And in the park the palms are beginning their hopeless surrender to the dusk, to the night that will be luminescent beyond expectation, brilliant and devious, more an equation than a lullaby and, as always, absolutely empty.

Kate Braverman, Palm Latitudes

No trace: When you do something, you should burn yourself completely, like a good bonfire, leaving no trace of yourself.

Shunryu Suzuki

The dew was falling, the dusk closing, as I trotted briskly homewards down the road. Lonely spaces everywhere, above and around. Only Hesperus hung in the sky, solitary, pure, ineffably far-drawn and remote; yet infinitely heartening, somehow, in his valorous isolation.

Kenneth Grahame, The Golden Age

Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.

Matthew 5:15

Never fear shadows...They simply mean there's a light shining nearby.

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One thing that comes out in myths is that at the bottom of the abyss comes the voice of salvation.
The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light."

Joseph Campbell

Supposing you only saw the stars once every year.  Think what you would think.  The wonder of it!

Tasha Tudor

Once you begin to see and hear, the life in language ignites, and almost anything can strike you as poetry. The sparks are released, the light shines, the word sounds.

M. C. Richards

Books can ignite fires in your mind, because they carry ideas for kindling, and art for matches.

Gary D. Schmidt, Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy

In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary.

Aaron Rose

In faith there is enough light for those who want to believe, and enough shadow to blind those who don’t.

Blaise Pascal

The stars are more than reflected on the water, they are doubled and tripled in brilliance as the wind stirs, as if combing them through its black hair.

Maria Mitchell

O Love! O Fire! Once he drew with one long kiss my whole soul through my lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.


A life lived with integrity—even if it lacks the trappings of fame and fortune is a shining star in whose light others may follow in the years to come.

Denis Waitley

[The sun shall] perchance shine into our minds and hearts, and light up our whole lives
with a great awakening light, as warm and serene and golden as on a bankside in autumn.


Stars, darkness, a lamp, a phantom, dew, a bubble, a dream, a flash of lightning, or a cloud: Thus should one look upon the world.

The Diamond-Cutter Sutra, Buddhist text

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