People often ask me where I find the quotes that I use on my calendars, mugs, journals -- well, let’s just say words of wisdom are a recurring theme in the Beyond Her collection.
The answer is, everywhere.
I’ve got a couple of great books that I’ve had for ages (sticky tabs of every color, remnants of one project or another). I buy new ones when I see them (but they’re never quite as good).
I clip quotes from magazine articles, but I hardly ever use them, because I’m afraid anyone living will come and get me if they find out their quote is on one of my pillows. (Exception: I’ve used a couple from, of all people, Liza Minnelli - like this great one: “Reality is something you rise above.” Who would’ve known that underneath that crazy black pixie there was a deep thinker?)
The big challenge comes during calendar time, because then I need 12 at the same time. That’s when I go online and really start trolling.
The Resonance Factor
Then the question becomes, how do you pick them? That’s a little hard to say. I really just look for ideas, philosophies, phrases that resonate with me.
A few requirements: They can’t be too long. They can’t be too glib. No cynicism. No idealism. No happy ever after endings. They can be spiritual but not religious.
They have to be true.
I guess if there’s a theme, you could say it is my strong belief that it’s the every day things that matter. Because I really do feel like
Path to Discovery
At any rate, sometimes a quote will lead me somewhere -- to an author, a book, or in this case, to a poem that I wouldn't have known otherwise. Mary Oliver (b. 1935) writes beautiful pieces with natural imagery - I am so happy I found her.
The Summer Day, by Mary Oliver
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grashopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
The one who has flung herself ouf of the grass,
The one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
Who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down -
Who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
Into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
How to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the field,
Which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
With your one wild and precious life?
Just FYI, those last two lines became a quote on a pillow - a quote I always loved - but they are made more beautiful by all that comes before.
Everyone once in a while someone will ask me: Why don’t you write your own quotes? It’s kind of flattering that anyone thinks I have even one thought worth expressing.
The only quote I’m willing to take credit for is not surprising. “It’s beyond me.” I mean it, it is.
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