No other reason than sheer enjoyment

“That’s what I love about reading: one tiny thing will interest you in a book, and that tiny thing will lead you to another book, and another bit there will lead you onto a third book. It’s geometrically progressive — all with no end in sight, and for no other reason than sheer enjoyment.”

– Mary Ann Shaffer (from The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society)

I loved this book and recommend it highly. It’s about history and family and friendships; and it’s funny and sweet and sometimes sad, but ultimately full of hope. Read it.

Start without her

“If your muse doesn’t show up, start without her.”

– Kevin J. Anderson

This is a reminder to myself as I try to write more. Even if you’re a “writer” (whatever that means), it’s still hard work. It’s a discipline, and when you don’t feel like doing it, so what? In my experience, I end up loving it even when I have to make myself start. That’s how I know I’m supposed to be doing it.

Have courage… God is awake

“Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.”

– Victor Hugo

I’ve been worrying about a lot of things lately — the car that could break any day, the out-of-state job my husband could get, etc. — and I need to hear this today. God is awake.

Like a tendril growing toward the sun

A House of Readers

At 9:42 on this May morning
the children’s rooms are concentrating too.
Like a tendril growing toward the sun, Ruth
moves her book into a wedge of light
that settles on the floor like a butterfly.
She turns a page.
Fred is immersed in magic, cool
as a Black Angus belly-deep in a farm pond.

The only sounds: pages turning softly.
This is the quietness
of bottomland where you can hear only the young corn
growing, where a little breeze stirs the blades
and then breathes in again.

I mark my place.
I listen like a farmer in the rows.

Jim Wayne Miller

I love the analogy that a parent is like a farmer helping their children go grow (although I don’t think I’d ever compare one of my children to a cow). And I love the idea that books are one of the best ways to do that. Books were a huge part of my childhood. I want a home like this some day with my own children.

I’ve never heard of this poet before, but I just found the above poem this morning on Tumblr. You can click on his name to visit a little website someone made about him.

Truer than if they had really happened

“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened; and after you are finished reading one, you will feel that all that happened to you, and afterwards it all belongs to you: the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was. If you can get so that you can give that to people, then you are a writer.”

– Ernest Hemingway

 

This is precisely why I love to read.

The myths woven by us

“We have come from God, and inevitably the myths woven by us, though they contain error, will also reflect a splintered fragment of the true light, the eternal truth that is with God.

“Indeed only by myth-making, only by becoming ‘sub-creator’ and inventing stories, can Man aspire to the state of perfection that he knew before the Fall. Our myths may be misguided, but they steer however shakily towards the true harbour, while materialistic ‘progress’ leads only to a yawning abyss and the Iron Crown of the power of evil.”

– J.R.R. Tolkien

I like this quote, but it seems a little strong to me. I don’t agree that we can grow in godliness only by myth-making, but I think it can be one good way.

When you love a story, and you ask yourself why, you can find out what your heart is really yearning for. I love stories full of ordinary people becoming heroes, finding courage, making sacrifices, and out-smarting the bad guys. I want to be a hero, and I want someone who loves me enough to make sacrifices to save me.

Do you agree with all or part of this quote? What do your favorite stories say about what you love?

Wherever you go

Circle me,
And the needle moves gracefully,
Back and forth,
If my heart was a compass,
You’d be north;
Risk it all
‘Cause I’ll catch you if you fall;
Wherever you go,
If my heart was a house,
You’d be home.

– Owl City

This is the chorus from the song “If My Heart Was a House.” There’s no official video for this song that I can find, but here’s a decent fan video from YouTube.

When I was falling in love with my husband, a strange thing I noticed was that (when he was nearby) I always seemed to know exactly where he was. Even at parties or big family events, I always just knew, like I could feel him out there somewhere. (It was probably my sub-conscious paying attention when he walked by, or something unromantic like that, but so what?) I love the compass metaphor in this song because it captures that feeling perfectly.

I also love the idea that my heart can be someone else’s home. Owl City uses such interesting language. Also, they love puns: “Then we’ll take a long walk through the corn field, and I’ll kiss you between the ears.” (from the song “The Bird and the Worm”)

Suddenly here is individuality

“What would happen if the printed book had just been invented in a high-tech world in which people had never done their reading from anything but computer screens? The unquestionable advantages of the computer would not be threatened by this new product but the people, who so love to compare apples with pears, would be quite bowled over by this ultra-modern invention: after years spent chained to the screen they would suddenly have something they could open like a window or a door – a machine you can physically enter!

“For the first time knowledge would be combined with a sense of touch and gravity – this new invention allows you to experience the most incredible sensations, reading becomes a physical experience. And after experiencing knowledge only as a bundle of connections, as a system of interacting networks, suddenly here is individuality: every book is an independent personality, which cannot be taken apart or added to at will. And how relaxing these new reading appliances are, their operating systems never needs updating – the only thing that changes over the course of time is the message that they contain, which is always open to new interpretations.”

– Juan Villoro

(From an article in last month’s Cultura, an Argentinian culture magazine)

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