Archive for the ‘quotations’ Category

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Losing What Can’t Be Found

January 2, 2012

I have nobody in my life where I can say, “Remember when. . .” • Joan Rivers

I think we dream so we don’t have to be apart so long. If we’re in each others’ dreams, we can play together all night. • Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

My youngest brother died in 1988 and I’ve only dreamed about him once. I still remember talking to him, walking as we did so many times, to Norm’s to share a hot fudge sundae. I didn’t record this dream and although it happened many years ago, I can still recall my disappointment when I awoke. Most dreams are forgotten unless they’re written down, but some dreams are remembered even though we long to forget them.

I had such a dream last night. I do not think I will forget this one either. My Aunt Mildred had died and I was packing up her house. I felt the pain of her death as I worked. My mother and my cousin Sugar—Sugar somehow mobile after many bedridden years—were taking boxes to their cars after I packed them. I never saw either of them, but I could hear their voices, laughing and arguing about what would fit where, reminiscing about my aunt—mom’s sister and Sugar’s mother—telling stories about her life. I shouted to them, but they didn’t answer.

The house was strange, circular with narrow corridors walled yet open at the top so I could hear the other two, yet never see them. The walls were always between us and their voices were always around the endless corner in the endless corridor. I walked toward the voices, hoping to catch the two, but their voices receded as I got closer. I wanted to see Sugar walking and laughing. I wanted to see my mother’s face. I wanted to touch her hand. Talk to them. Hug them. I remember being frustrated but hopeful, sure that I would eventually catch up with them. But I never did.

And I never will. They are all dead: my mother a year ago this month, Sugar in September, Aunt Mildred several years ago, and even in my dreams I cannot find them. Once we were The Four Musketeers and now I am the only one left to remember the fun we had in our matching black watch plaid jumpers and purple shoes. I am the only one who can picture the four of us in gingerbread man bathing suits with ruffled bottoms. The only one who knows about the gardenias we bought at Union Station. Holidays are fraught with memories of what once was and will never be again and it is easy to be sad. But this morning shortly after I awoke, while I was feeling sad and looking for work to distract me, I found this quotation from Patsy Cline in my mother’s handwriting: “You don’t get anywhere wallerin’ in misery.” And that’s the message I’ll remember when I think of this dream.

What have you lost? What have you found?

Pain comes like the weather, but joy is a choice. • Rodney Crowell

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Wisdom From My Mother: I Would Like Everybody In The World To Know That They Have A Special Purpose—If They Really Listen To Themselves, They’ll Get Clues To What It Is

March 4, 2011

Note: This is long, but it’s for my sisters and my brother and my sons and nieces and nephews and my cousins to provide a record of what was shared at my mother’s FUNeral.

It is not our purpose to become each other; it is to recognize each other, to learn to see the other and honor him [or her] for what he [or she] is. • Hermann Hesse

The buried talent is the sunken rock on which most lives strike and founder. • Frederick William Faber

In October of last year as her health continued to fail, my mother and I talked about the challenges facing artists in a world that often doesn’t seem to appreciate them. Mom began playing the piano by ear as a pre-schooler and until her death at age eighty-nine, made a living as an entertainer, playing the piano and singing. She was also a poet. She did not like housework of any kind although she had five children and did plenty of it. She was a good mother, but she was not a traditional one.

Before she died, she requested an inexpensive casket with pink satin lining and an informal service with only immediate family to send her off. She didn’t want anyone flying in for her funeral—“Save the money for a visit to Disneyland when everyone’s over being sad,” she said. Although her faith was strong, she’d not been able to find a church that shared her belief that that redemption would be a universal blessing and that a loving God would get everyone into heaven. Her service featured the piano music I’d secretly recorded her playing, hiding my iPhone so she wouldn’t know.

There is a Dakota Sioux saying that we will be known forever by the tracks we leave. My mother left her wisdom, she left her poetry, she left dozens of quotations she found meaningful, sending them to me and sharing them when we talked on the telephone, and she left the words of others—hundreds of others—who wrote to her over the years and who valued both her music and her poetry. The next time I write, I’ll share her poetry. Today, I’ll share other kinds of words we read at her funeral:

When I was going through boxes of mom’s correspondence, tossing much of it at her request, I found a Mutual of Omaha airline trip accident insurance policy. You used to be able to buy these policies in a vending machine at the airport. It isn’t dated, but on it was a note my mother had written to her sister, my Aunt Mildred:

If you collect on this policy, take a trip to Hawaii and think about how much Jesus loves you and I love you. Don’t cry, but be serious about meeting me later. My prayers will be with you.

Mom saved all the letters and cards her children wrote to her. As I divided them into piles for each of us, I read some of my own correspondence. In 2004, shortly after I graduated from a doctoral program, I wrote to her:

It has made a difference in my life to have your support and your belief in me. I have come to believe that these things are crucial in the lives of all of us who have dreams of possibility. It is difficult to remember dreams—and almost impossible to keep them alive in our “waking” real life. We need people who remind us of the importance of our dreams—and who believe we can achieve them. Of course, we must also believe in ourselves—it all starts there—but keeping the flame alight is infinitely easier if we are surrounded by people who will help feed our flames rather than extinguishing them.

Most of the cards and letters mom saved from the hundreds of people she corresponded with are gone now, but I could not resist saving a few of these testimonies to mom’s interactions with others so we could read them at her service:

I was cleaning off my desk and sorting out papers and every time I came across a card or letter from you, I glanced through it and by the time I was through, I felt so good and so deeply loved I had to get a letter off to you to tell you how dear to me you are. Did you know I have all your letters and cards in a box so now I have a box full of love. I bet this is the first time anyone ever had you organized and neatly put where they could find you when they want you. But having you organized and in a box isn’t any fun at all compared to having you unorganized and all over the place in person.

I’ve been thinking of you and I notice I smile a lot when I think of you and it’s such a pleasant feeling.

Thanks so much for the many cards, good thoughts, prayers, and encouragement. Your fudge always arrives at the right time. I call it “love calling.”

You restoreth my faith in myself just when I needed to be restored. Your very affirming letter is going to be tacked up on my wall.

My favorite letter is one that mom didn’t mail, writing that “Life is fascinating. You never know what’s going to happen. It’s full of surprises. I think you are in the middle of a big transition, so keep your receiving set open. I’ll be sending along some good thoughts and prayers to be oil in your wheels.” Before she died, she told all of us that when she was gone we should keep our antennae up for her messages of love.

Besides telling our own stories about mom, the other words we read were some of her favorite collected quotations, shared with me over the years:

There are two things that I want you to make up your minds to: first, that you are going to have a good time as long as you live—I have no use for the sour-faced man—and next, that you are going to do something worthwhile, that you are going to work hard and do something you set out to do. • Theodore Roosevelt in a talk with schoolchildren in Oyster Bay at Christmastime, 1898

The significance of a man is not in what he attains, but rather what he longs to attain. • Kahlil Gibran

Happiness is doing it rotten your own way. • Isaac Asimov

One who ruins the enjoyment of a wonderful experience with worry about things beyond his control is wasting a gift.  • John A. Nance, Turbulence

People are always waiting to be discovered. • Nathan Carroll

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid. • Albert Einstein

Mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in his foolish dreams. • An elementary school teacher about Albert Einstein

If you can’t be yourself, what’s the point of being anyone else? • Tennessee Williams

A lot of people are waiting for Martin Luther King or Mahatma Gandhi to come back—but they are gone. We are it. It is up to us. It is up to you. • Marian Wright Edelman

Your heart is full of fertile seeds, waiting to sprout. • Morihel Ueshiba

Every baby’s a seed of wonder that gets watered or it doesn’t. • Dean Koontz (2009), Relentless

Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult, a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity, but with it, you can accomplish miracles. • Og Mandino

As a well-spent day brings a happy sleep, so a life well spent brings a happy death. • Leonardo da Vinci

The last thing I read was an anonymous quotation written in mom’s hand on a 3×5 card: Grieve not for me who am about to start a new adventure. Eager I stand and ready to depart. Me and my reckless pioneering heart.

What is your purpose? What is the adventure of your life?

If I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once a week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied could thus have been kept active through use. • Charles Darwin (1887), Autobiography

Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinion of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you. Act for yourself. Face the truth. • Katherine Mansfield

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My Philosophy Is: Don’t Think.*

June 16, 2010

For Tuesday, June 15, 2010

I’ve mentioned one of my favorite teaching moments before: Several years ago a student told me—in defense of an extremely poorly researched and written paper—that the syllabus didn’t say he had to think. Since then, I’ve added this requirement to selected syllabi when I fear that this reminder may be necessary. I was reminded of this incident when I overheard two girls talking in the train station about their recently-completed finals and one complained to the other that her teacher actually expected her to “think and stuff.”

I like to think. Here are several quotations that inspire me. If you’d like to ponder something, give one of them a whirl:

What you don’t know would make a great book. • Sydney Smith

What don’t you know? This is a really long list for me. What I don’t understand would fill another book. What confuses me is yet another. I could fill a library with unknowns and uncertainties. And, of course, I am a smartypants too, and could fill several volumes with both useful and useless information. How about you? Which volumes in your library would be the largest?

Three fortunes found in one day at an ATM, on the sidewalk, and with Chinese food, NYC, May 29, 2006: 1) Believe in yourself and others will too. 2) Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. 3) Don’t be afraid of fear.

Write three interrelated fortunes for yourself that you’d like to have come true.

First sentences are doors to worlds. • Ursula K. Le Guin

Write a series of first sentences and then choose one to explore further.

In the movie, The Man in the Grey Flannel Suit, Arthur O’Connell says to Gregory Peck: “Write me your autobiography in one hour—everything you can think about in one hour. Explain yourself for us. Examine your life—tell us what kind of person you are and why we should hire you—and at the end, I want you to finish this sentence: The most significant thing about me is. . .”

Write a one hour autobiography and be sure to answer the question: What’s the most significant thing about you?

What inspires your thinking? What do you like to spend time thinking about?

The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody’s fathomed the depth of, and paths treaded with flowers planted by the mind. • Katherine Mansfield

* Clearly, this philosophy worked well for Charles Manson, the notorious man who said it.

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Things Are Only Impossible Until They’re Not.*

June 16, 2010

For Monday, June 14, 2010

Creativity represents a miraculous coming together of the uninhibited energy of the child with its apparent opposite and enemy, the sense of order imposed on the disciplined adult intelligence.• Norman Podhoretz

I’m a sucker for conference sessions that address issues related to creativity. If the “c” word is somewhere in the title, I’m there. Most of what I heard in such sessions in Washington, D.C., confirmed things I already know, like the speaker who said that people need time to think. This seems self-evident, yet the pressure to multitask (serial unitask is what I call it) and work “efficiently,” AKA quickly, is intense in many professions.

I’ve written before about engagement as one of the themes of fun in learning, and my workshop, “Don’t Let Space Be Alien in Your Life,” also addresses the need for contemplative time. It’s comforting to hear other people who’ve reached the same conclusions based on their work with students. It’s not that I don’t believe in efficiency. There are things I want to complete quickly so that I can move on to others that require a more thoughtful and time intensive approach. This is why I sometimes call myself an inefficiency expert.

I am also reminded of things I know but don’t always articulate, like the speaker who said that teachers need to be creative role models. I sometimes forget to make it clear to teachers with whom I work that there is a difference between being creative yourself and leading students to discover their own creativity. Creative leadership for teachers also includes setting up conditions under which others can find their creative spirits. It also requires keeping your mouth shut sometimes when you know an—not the—answer.

I often use quotations to jumpstart my creative thought and that of my students; here are three such braindances:

One: Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if…” and then do it. • Duane Michaels (Note: We get off the train in Minot, North Dakota, to walk around a bit and I pick up today’s Minot Daily News. My husband’s horoscope (Aries) on page A7 says, “Trust your imagination. Instead of wondering how things are or trying to find out who has the right answer, just make it up in your head the way you prefer it to be. Your way is as good as any.” I don’t believe this is necessarily so since some ways that people come up with are not only lame, they’re dangerous and wrong, but that’s what horoscopes are for—providing delusions in the guise of useful information.)

Make a list of at least five interesting things that would be possible in your ideal world.

Today I’d begin my list with, “Wouldn’t it be interesting if I could eat a big meal and somehow store food like a camel stores water so I wouldn’t have to eat again for several days? I call these extraordinarily tasty meals camelfood. If I could, I’d have been able to eat all of the scrumptious spinach, mushroom, onion, tomato omelet I got yesterday instead of leaving two-thirds of it on the plate. Nothing that’s been available since has been anywhere near as good. I’m hungry and I hate eating “Mt. Everest food,” the kind you mindlessly munch just because it’s there.

Two: Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. • Lewis Carroll

What are six impossible things you’d like to believe?

I’d like to believe that it’s possible to switch my motivation on and off with a literal switch that allows me to get lots of productive work done when it’s on and relax without guilt when it’s off.

Three: It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. • Henry David Thoreau

Write about at least one thing that is more significant than it might at first appear to be.

The long, long, scarcely populated and sometimes empty spaces we pass through while on the train remind me how big this country is and how difficult it is to imagine an infrastructure of public transportation accessible for everyone. Politicians and pundits who live in big cities where buses and subways and cabs are readily available sometimes speak with contempt of those who won’t give up their cars, but until there’s reliable public transportation available, forgoing automobiles is not a realistic option for many people. Simply saying that Americans are addicted to their cars as though they’d have a way to get to work or the doctor or school or wherever they need to go without personal transportation ignores crucial issues. Horses, anyone?

What do you do to wake up your imagination and get your creative juices flowing?

Sometimes imagination pounces; mostly it sleeps soundly in the corner, purring. • Terri Guillemets

* Title quotation delivered by Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), Star Trek: The Next Generation.

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No, Doug! Not The Trapeze Again!!!!!!!! And Other Stuff Heard On A Motel Television. Tales From A Procrastinator’s Diary: What I Do When I Don’t Want To Do What I’m Supposed To Be Doing And Decide To Do Something Else Instead.

May 24, 2010

Look for the ridiculous in everything and you will find it.
• Jules Renard

You already know that I am making a serious study of the art of procrastination. Sometimes procrastinatory acts are themselves the beginnings of something artful. The following found poem captures a moment in time during the evening of August 16, 2004, from a motel in North Bend, Oregon, where, I am sure, I should have been doing something much more productive like grading papers or planning interesting and engaging classroom activities.

Instead, I was channel surfing and writing down the first sentence I heard on each channel as I tried to get up the energy after a long day of teaching to do what needed to be done. I’m sure this rejuvenation strategy worked since I finished all my work too. This material is from pages of an old journal I recently found and wrote about several days ago.

Perhaps this is not yet riveting, but perhaps it could be, or perhaps, as Aldous Huxley said, “It was one of those evenings when men [and women] feel that truth, goodness and beauty are one. In the morning, when they commit their discovery to paper, when others read it written there, it looks wholly ridiculous.”

No, Doug! Not The Trapeze Again!!!!!!!!!
A Found Poem Recorded by W•OZ, August 16, 2004, North Bend, Oregon, motel television

The older you get the harder it is to cope with things.
Man, you’re the best!
No, Doug! Not the trapeze again!!!!!!!!!
Not sleeping well at night?
There’s a good possibility the bed is part of the problem.
The company said it wasn’t my fault. It was Nash.
Nasty hardwater buildup. No match for LimeAway.
And you thought the Olympics were exciting.
That’s an awkward combination.
I sure miss you, Ed.
At least I can still listen to your voice.
Nobody sang “Pretty Little Filly” like you did.
When the bachelors catch the scent of a young female in heat.
In spite of the low expectations CBS executives ordered twelve additional episodes.
All right, you kids, want short string paddle toys? I got ‘em right here.
Big giant guy; struggle and sweat.
Get rid of the odors.
Make money your first day.
Now that’s what I call magic.
Turning a plain old backyard into a big symphony orchestra.
Completely different!
You feel good?
They make’ em with all white meat chicken and it comes with its own sauce for dunking.
Order now.
Hundreds of northwest residents flee their homes.
You give me a kiss—you get a show.
I make sure it’s conditioned with Old English.
This is my new game table. I’m introducing it to the world.
The missing man is a diver named Randy Fry.
When you’re in a canoe and they want you to paddle, you’ve got to make nice easy strokes.
I wear the sable for the weekend.
I’ll say this for Harry Jeckle: he doesn’t mind paying for top class work.

Albert Camus said that “all great deeds and all great thoughts have a ridiculous beginning,” noting that “great works are often born on a street corner or in a restaurant’s revolving door.” I am a collector of many kinds of oddservations. You never know where an idea will come from or what you might be able to do with the initially ridiculous.

What have you oddserved lately? What might you do with your oddservation?

The intelligent man [or woman] finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man [or woman] hardly anything.• Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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I Don’t See the World Unless I See It in Ink.*

May 9, 2010

Words are things, and a small drop of ink, falling like dew upon a thought, produces that which makes thousands, perhaps millions, think.
• Lord Byron**

Although I often wonder where ideas go as they flit through my head and disappear, I think daily about where they come from and how pursuing their shiny snailtrails can lead to something more. Every day these glistening paths lead me to the unexpected. I awaken not knowing what I will say or where I will go. I search the files I keep next to the bed. I look through 3×5 cards filled with quotations. I find something and I begin, but I still do not know where I am going. I have a trail, but I do not know where it leads.

This is how it worked today.

I am working on syllabi for two courses I teach every three years, one on classroom creativity and one on writing. I have crates full of hanging files filled with teaching possibilities: articles, quotations, notes, oddservations. I have tubs filled with materials. I’ve been going through them and I found this note to myself:

March 25, 2009.
We pass a tanker truck full of ink and I think this is odd. I’m not young, I’ve been on many, many miles of roads, and I’ve never seen a truck full of ink before. I wonder how many words could be written with this much ink and what it would be like if words, like miles, were purchased by the tankful or penful. What if our words were limited by the number we could afford to drive across the page. What would I say with a gallon of words?

Today I make notes on the page. This could be an activity, perhaps for creativity or perhaps for the writing class. What if people could only write their way into the world? At birth, each child is given pen and ink and learns to write. S/he can scribble endlessly, learning rules and reason until adolescence when, in an inking rite of passage, s/he is given a lifetime’s ink, the same amount for every person. From that moment on, words must be measured out, chosen carefully. Every word counts against the whole of life. Too many and the voice is silenced; too few and the person’s mark is never fully made. No communication happens unless driven by the pen.

I wonder what I would say. Would truth matter more in such a world or would the limiting simply make the charlatan’s words seem weighty? And I think that perhaps this is the assignment: “A Gallon of Words.” If you had a gallon of ink to last the rest of your life, what would you say? I love you? I care? I’m sorry? Please and thank you? Would you spread hope and kindness? Would you pontificate? Prevaricate? I begin a list:

A cup for griping.
There’s plenty that ticks me off. And I’ll
reserve at least another cup
for writing comments on the papers
sitting patiently awaiting my review.
But wait, shouldn’t these words come from
students’ ink reserves?
No fair to have to use my own.
I won’t need much for grocery lists
perhaps a tablespoon will do since
I’ll improve my memory to save a drop or two.
Letters to my mother, another cup, at least.
And poetry requires I hoard a quart for unexpected
rhymes and fleeting thoughts.
I’ll want a pint for encouragement and even more for
saying all the things that people need to hear,
but mostly I’ll think less of what I want to say
and more of what I don’t.
No unkind words. No harshly critical or
mean remarks. No thoughtless papertalk.

I would not want to live in such a world of limitations and my thoughts take me into the explosion of words that is the internet, virtual ink written across millions of miles, something I sometimes bemoan since so many of them are not worth the ink they’d be printed with. This is another topic and I make a note to revisit it.

I remember something I read about Sarah, the Duchess of Marlborough, who didn’t dot her i’s in order to save ink. She died in 1744, when ink was likely a luxury. As for me, I don’t have time to dot my i’s and I think of all the time I’ve saved not going back to do so. I-dotting distracts me and slows down my writing process. I move on from this inkish digression and hunt through 3x5s, looking for ink-related quotations. I find several that inspire further blogs and I put them away in a rubber-banded stack with other savings. I find these too:

I act as a sponge. I soak it up and squeeze it out in ink every two weeks.
• Janet Flanner

I think about how this quotation could be used to inspire artmaking. I imagine bringing sponges to class and creating art around them. I’ll think more about this one, but I’ll check the dollar store to see just how much this would cost. If it would be financially feasible, this may become an assignment. I will give each person a sponge and ask them to collect their thoughts in it for a week and squeeze them out. How they do so will be up to them.

Animals outline their territories with their excretions; humans outline their territories by ink excretions on paper.
• Robert Anton Wilson

I do many versions of lifemapping with Collectory projects. I’m saving this quotation to use with them and I’m putting it with my Yuckology materials as well since it is a bit gross, isn’t it?

Some quotations I save simply because I love them, because they capture someone’s passion for life:

If I lose the light of the sun, I will write by candlelight, moonlight, no light. If I lose paper and ink, I will write in blood on forgotten walls. I will write always. I will capture nights all over the world and bring them to you.
• Henry Rollins

And some I know by heart because I’ve used them for years, like this Chinese proverb: The palest ink is better than the sharpest memory. Without my inky notes, there’d be no trails to follow.

What would you say if your inking were limited?

I’ve got a vendetta to destroy the Net, to make everyone go to the library. I love the organic thing of pen and paper, ink on canvas. I love going down to the library, the feel and smell of books.
• Joseph Fiennes

* Thanks to Jewel Kilcher (professionally known as Jewel, poet, singer, actress, and more) for the title quotation.

** Oh, Byron, Byron, Byron. Since you were saying this while you were alive, I can only hope that you weren’t saying it about yourself since I certainly don’t imagine that my words here will make even ten people think, much less a thousand, and never mind millions. And I know you were a popular guy, but still, a bit of humility is always attractive in a man. Thus I would want any reader to know that you–and definitely I–mean that words matter, right?

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I Love, I Wish, I Always Wanted, I Believe, I Like, I Would, I Will, I Thought, I Worry, I Should, I Might, I Am. I List.

May 2, 2010

Q: What did you believe at eighteen that you wish you still believed?
A: That life was about having fun. I love what I do, but there’s so much tied to it every day. I realized that building a business needed to be a part of something much bigger: family, community, helping the Aids community, and the homeless.
• Kenneth Cole in the September 1998 issue of
Details

I’ve been going through a suitcase full of 3×5 quotation cards, sorting and Ziplocking® them, looking for inspiration. It’s easy to find. I’ve been doing this for years. Sometimes they provide inspiration for a title for a paper or an article or a presentation. Somehow, finding the right quotation centers me and keeps me reminded of a central purpose for a particular piece of work. I am also reminded that others share my vision, whatever it might be. (Student success note: This is a writing hint you might try. Sometimes the pivotal quotation comes from lists of such, but often it comes from research and from finding words that resonate and capture my intentions.)

For example, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst said, “I am what you call a hooligan.” I used her words as part of a Women’s History Month art exhibit, “You & Your Big Mouth: Insight & Irreverence from Irrepressible Women,” that celebrates Gloria Steinem’s words: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” I am sometimes frustrated by how little I know about my female forebears. I do not like Women’s History Month. I do not want to be celebrated in little boxes or special chapters or the occasional illustration in history books. I want to be–and to know that others like me were–an integral part of history.

“Since flesh can’t stay, we pass the words along,” Erica Jong said in 1975 in “Dear Keats.” Quotations capture some of the words. Much of my work is devoted to passing them along. Today I share a few that inspire and amuse me.

I am strongly drawn to the simple life.
• Albert Einstein

I would rather be a meteor than a sleepy permanent planet. For man’s true purpose in life is to live, not to waste time merely sustaining himself.
• Jack London

I love the ugly stuff, the things that have no home, the unloved and unwanted given-away rejects lined up on shelves in secondhand stores across the land. I’d take them all home if I could.
• Dr. Pauline Wayne

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
• Lewis Carroll

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all, I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. • Agatha Christie

All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
• Lily Tomlin, in The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe by Jane Wagner

I worry that a whole lot of the curriculum on the reform agenda exists on the “get even” premise: I suffered through this when I was in school. Why shouldn’t these kids suffer too?
• Susan Ohanian (September 1997), “Insults to the Soul,” English Journal, p. 34

I thought it was the dumbest song I ever heard.
• Dodie Stevens about “Pink Shoe Laces,” the song she recorded in 1958 when she was twelve years old.

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.
• Edgar Allen Poe

Lists are the butterfly nets that catch my fleeting thoughts.
• Betsy Canas Garmer

Serious or silly, create your own list.

I believe in rainbows and puppy dogs and fairy tales. I believe that robots are stealing my luggage.
• Steve Martin, “What I Believe,”
Saturday Night Live, Season 5