Stronger at the Broken Places

Here in central Ohio, the last day of 2023 is overcast and cold. When I moved here from sunny Texas in 2001, I had no idea the winter days would be so gray. I grew up close to the same latitude in southeastern Illinois, so I thought the weather in Columbus would be similar. It is in several ways, but I certainly don’t remember such prevalent cloud cover during my time in Illinois. Perhaps, I’ve just forgotten.

Sometimes we’re blessed with the ability to forget, or at least to ignore, our pain and to move on beyond misfortune. I’m amazed when I consider the misery a human being can survive. I think of what Ernest Hemingway wrote in A Farewell to Arms: “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.” There are times, though, especially at the end of a year, when I think of those who can’t be strong at the broken places. I’ve had my own times of despair, so here on the verge of a new year, I wish comfort and strength to those who are suffering. I offer these quotes with the hope they’ll be helpful for anyone who’s struggling either with their writing or their personal life:


“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” ~ George Eliot

“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.” ~ Joseph Campbell

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’” ~ Muhammad Ali

“No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted.” ~ Aesop

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton

“If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ~ Milton Berle

“Your present circumstances don’t determine where you can go; they merely determine where you start.” ~ Nido Qubein

“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” ~ Jack Dempsey


As we move into 2024, I hope we’ll all be able to find joy, both in our writing and our living. On the gray days, in our times of distress, may we remember we aren’t alone. May we look for, and find, the light.



  1. Ann Marquette on January 1, 2024 at 3:17 pm

    Wonderful Lee! Thank you for sharing the inspiration and encouragement.

    • Lee Martin on January 2, 2024 at 1:44 pm

      Thank you, Ann. I wish you a prosperous new year.

  2. Virginia Chase Sutton on January 1, 2024 at 5:28 pm

    So inspiring, Lee. I’m coming up on almost a full year of non-writing (after a year of intense editing), and I just cannot sit down to it. I like your story and the quotes are very memorable. This helps. Thank You.

    • Lee Martin on January 2, 2024 at 1:44 pm

      Thanks, Virginia. I think it’s sometimes fine to take a break from writing. The words will come when they come.

  3. KarinG on January 2, 2024 at 7:09 am

    So true. Thanks and blessings on you.

    • Lee Martin on January 2, 2024 at 1:43 pm

      And blessings to you as well.

  4. Rhonda Hamm on January 2, 2024 at 6:21 pm

    I love concise wisdom. And Edith “There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” ~ Edith Wharton. Now that is truth. You and Cathy have a blessed 2024 full of joy unspeakable ❤️

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