The Write Idea



Filed under: Quotes — ljcollins @ 8:09 am

“On every fourth step, you are meant to fall down. Not occasionally, not once, not twice, but on every fourth step. The ground opens up, the wind blows, a branch hits you in the head, you trip on stones, your heart breaks, you’ve got to fold the laundry, and they’ve closed the two left lanes. Here on the fourth step, all the forces gather together to stop you. And some people, when they fall down, they lie there for the rest of their lives. And some people learn how to fall-down-get-up. That is one move. Fall-down-get-up.”  ~ Naomi Newman, from her monologue Snake Talk, as quoted in Gregg Levoy’s Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life.



  1. “On every fourth step, you are meant to fall down. Not occasionally, not once, not twice, but on every fourth step.”

    Just who–or what–MEANS for you to fall down on every fourth step?

    And EVERY fourth step?!?!?!?! What person in her right mind would keep walking at all if she knew that was going to happen?

    Comment by Doxy — 05/14/2010 @ 9:06 am | Reply

  2. Oh, darling Doxy, this is why I love you so dearly. Rail on, wild woman, rail on! Perhaps it is my deep-seated Calvinism that finds this quote not frustrating, but comforting. (You know the old joke about the Calvinist who falls down a flight of stairs, gets up, brushes himself off and says, “Well, I’m glad that’s over.”) Or perhaps it is the old Southern Baptist in you that hears this as an evil God striking you down. No, I don’t take “meant” as some arbitrary hand of fate or the universe or a powerful old god swooping down to knock us over, but rather an observation of the way things are. That is, one need not feel defeated when this happens, but rather determined to keep getting up, keep moving along the path we believe is ours … in spite of the lanes closed and the branches to the head and people who tell us we can’t or we’re crazy or we need to just settle down and enjoy life there on the pavement where we’ve landed. (And you and I both know something of landing on the pavement and wondering whether this is all life has to offer … but no, we got up.)

    Comment by ljcollins — 05/14/2010 @ 9:26 am | Reply

  3. Reminds me of the Batman Begins quote about falling down so we can learn to get back up. I can understand where the person who left the first comment is coming from, but I do think the quote comes across as comforting.

    Comment by captainquaker — 05/14/2010 @ 10:13 am | Reply

  4. Doxy, I love what you said and I also love Laura’s response to it.

    As an organically Jewish person, I take a very God-said-ha! approach. God doesn’t want you to get too big for your britches ever, and s/he also wants you to remember that for all your lousy fourth steps, there are people all over the world who just had a much, much worse one than you.

    God also loves a good banana peel joke.

    Comment by PJ — 05/14/2010 @ 2:37 pm | Reply

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