"For any homeless wanderer he is a miracle of instruction: now that he is exiled from every place on earth except a desert wilderness, he declares a passion for cactus."
"'I think an artist has to tell the truth,' she said finally. 'You have to use the craft very well and have a lot of discipline for it, but mostly to be a good artist you have to know something that's true. These kids who come to Diego wanting to learn, I'll tell you. They can paint a perfect tree, a perfect face, whatever you ask. But they don't know enough about life to fill a thimble. And that's what has to go in the painting. Otherwise, why look at it?'"
"The survivors stood in the ruined courtyard blinking at the light, with eyes unprepared to see the life that is spared into their custody."
(It's by Barbara Kingsolver, by the way.)