Islands in the Sea

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.” ~ William James

Kinza Riza/Courtesy of 
For this round of discussions, we at Smack Dab in the Middle share our favorite writing quotes and how to keep going despite the odds. At the core of these discussions is the importance of making connections. Chuck Sambuchino, of Writer’s Digest, once said, “Writing is often thought of as a solitary occupation, and it’s true we writers spend a lot of time alone. However, we write so people can read our writing—a writer is inherently part of a group.”

“We cannot live only for ourselves. A thousand fibers connect us with our fellow men; and among those fibers, as sympathetic threads, our actions run as causes, and they come back to us as effects.” ~Herman Melville

We know stories are old. Humans have been telling stories for over 100,000 years. Not every culture had developed codified laws, or even a written language, but every culture in the history of the world has had stories. Some research suggests stories predate language, that language came about in order to express story concepts.

And those first stories are found in paintings buried in prehistoric caves. An ancient man reaches out and across 40,000 years to his descendants, connecting past to present. It is the essence of humankind to connect. As Eric Booth states, in The Everyday Work of Art, “Art is not apart. It is a continuum within which all participate; we all function in art, use the skills of art, and engage in the action of artists every day.” 

“It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tired into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one destiny, affects all indirectly.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

About the photograph: A stencil of an early human's hand in an Indonesian cave is estimated to be about 39,000 years old. Kinza Riza/Courtesy of

See More about the Cave Art here: Rock (Art) of Ages: Indonesian Cave Paintings Are 40,000 Years Old. Cave paintings of animals and hand stencils in Sulawesi, Indonesia, seem to be as old as similar cave art in Europe.

“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.” -- Enid Bagnold
Thank you for connecting with Smack Dab in the Middle!
--Bobbi Miller


  1. Our efforts would be pointless if our stories weren't heard by others. Great selection of quotes!

  2. Love these quotes Bobbi. The need for self-expression is part of our ancestral DNA.

  3. Oh, wow, that William James quote is INCREDIBLE.


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