Category Archives: art

More Than a Quote

I have a blue notebook in my office that I received for Christmas in 2014, in which I write down in colorful pen whatever words touch me. I call it my Quote Book and I’m up to page 49 now. Not all the quotes are from famous people though, some are from my best friend, my teachers, myself, textbooks, or just random people who I hear talking in the halls.

Yes, this is what nerds do on perfect Sunday afternoons or on late Friday nights. I scour Goodreads looking for quotes and then I get lost in the ocean of humanity’s mind just like I get lost in the encyclopedia. Ralph Waldo Emerson once penned “Words are finite organs of the infinite mind” and I want to douse myself in other’s lively minds. I want to pour wisdom into my mind from wherever I can find it, so that I can have that wisdom while I live my life.

And so if I get lost on Goodreads then that just means that I am getting lost in wisdom that will prepare me for living. I am being found.

I am in a constant state of losing and finding myself. I am designing and developing myself by adding to my schema the thoughts of others who have already lost and found themselves hundreds of times over.

This is why I like learning because in learning about the world and how it works or doesn’t work, I am really learning about and forming myself so that I can change the world. Muriel Rukeyser once said, “The universe is made of stories, not of atoms” and so I learn about the universe by learning about stories and the people who tell them.

If you can’t tell already this blog post is gonna be loaded with quotes 🙂 If you are asking yourself why a teenage girl is writing a blog post about quotes when most girls her age are either taking duck-face selfies on snapchat, let John Green answer your question, “Nerd life is just so much better than regular life.” And let me remind you, you are reading this nerdy blog post so you might be included in that “nerd life”. Plus, you have hope for humanity.

Anyway, back to the Quote Book, on the inside front cover I have written a quote by John Green “Maybe our favorite quotations say more about us than about the stories and people we’re quoting.” So what does my Quote Book say about me?

Well, on surface level, I at first only wrote down quotes from Superhero movies and comicbooks then branched out to other types of quotes. I was on a Mark Twain kick for a while (thanks, Goodreads!) and now my quote-obsession is John Green.

On a deeper level, just from that information of who I quote (comicbooks, Mark Twain, John Green), a statement is made about me. I do not care about who said the words; I care about what the words say to me.

I like to play a game where I read a quote from my book and a friend has to guess who said it: a professional writer, a normal person, or a comicbook. Generally they are surprised by who said it, and so the speaker of the words holds little power over the words themselves. Just because comicbooks has fist fights and aliens, doesn’t mean that they also have heart and poetry. “No acknowledgement or any amount of money can return integrity once it is spent” is a quote from One Month to Live #5, which was a comicbook  produced by Marvel Comics in 2010.

But what is my favorite quote? My favorite quote is my mantra, my motto, my manifesto that was written two thousand years ago; it is my rallying cry when I do not want to move forward; it is what is written on my heart and what I want to be written on my every action. My favorite quote says everything I want it to say about me and what I want to say. “But anyone who is not aware that he is doing wrong will be punished only lightly. Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater” Luke 12:48.  I have a great purpose to accomplish and I will fulfill my potential with every breath I take because that is why I breathe. My favorite quote tells me the meaning of my own life and what I should do with it.

Plus, my favorite Bible verse is oddly similar to my favorite comicbook quote, “With great power there must also come great responsibility” from Amazing Fantasy #15. But this is a case where authorship is everything because I want the words I live by to mean more than words. Although I love Stan Lee, I have so much more assurance in the truth of words spoken by Jesus Christ, Creator and Savior of the Universe.

Ossie Davis said, “Any form of art is a form of power; it has impact, it can affect change — it can not only move us, it makes us move”; I think that quotes are similar to art. Quotes necessitate action. They inspire us to move forward and encourage us to keep moving forward. Quotes tell us to live. And yet quotes are just words of other people to whom we entrust power of our belief upon. A quote — if I choose to give it power — could literally be as plain as “I walked my dog”.  A quote has power if we accept it as truth.

And so, John Green’s quote about quotes has power because I accept it as truth and will transform its words into actions. With this in mind, I think that my Quote Book is not as its name implies; rather it is a collection of words that I have granted power and have promised to take action upon. It is a compendium of thoughts I have deemed worthy to hold prestige in the ranks of my identity. The words that others declared and whispered and hoped are the ones that tell my story because they are the ones that I have chosen to tell it.


“Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye. Bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart.”

-Proverbs 7:2-3

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After Now

Why is it that I find your beauty

now, so enticing?

Why now, and not before?

Why is it that you were a mere commonality before,

but now, you are gloriously enrapturing,

heart-breaking and heart-warming

Have my eyes changed?

Have you changed?

Have you transformed from a single glance

to a forever – yet ever to short -of a gaze?

Or is it me?

***

There is a painting of a ship at sea

on my office wall

I have seen it everyday for as long as I can remember

but now, after all these years

do I finally realized how beautiful it is.

I finally appreciate it.

Why now, and not before?

I have read countless books about

sailors

boats

the sea

explorers and whalers

I have learned countless history lessons about events with sailors and boats

I have seen countless movies about the sea

I have read personal accounts concerning explorers and whalers

I have ridden the open waves with no land in sight

I have stared into that sinister, powerful, murky depth

and I have stared into those mystical, lapping, crashing ocean waves

In every sense I’ve been in that painting

but until now, it was just a painting,

but after now, it has its own life

own story

own tears to cry

own cheers to shout

own dead to bury

own lips to smile

own love to find

After now, it is not just something to look at

but something to be a part of

Why now, and not before

do I love you?

Because I finally understand you

and I know that I never truly can either

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A Painter’s Palette

I think life is like a painter’s palette

we are each different colors

I may be a light shade of green

and you may be blood red

or the guy sitting next to you may be royal blue.

On our own we may be beautiful,

but with the right artist’s hand we can be breathtaking.

But we have to be willing to work together,

to change, swirl and mix

to create a masterpiece.

We have to let some of our red mix with someone else’s yellow to make sunset orange.

We have to give a little to get some more.

I think we have to remember that now more than ever.

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Pixabay/user:alles

Because We Have To

A few days ago,  I was really feeling down

I wasn’t my bubbly self and I haven’t written creatively in a few days

I had a busy weekend coming up that I needed to be myself.

I had a few hours after I had finished my work and before I had to run off somewhere

so I wrote a chapter my novel and couldn’t stop

within three hours I wrote 1550 words

it just started spilling out of me and my fingers were foxtrotting across the keyboard.

After I finished,

I was full of energy again and back to myself.

I think I had so many words that needed to come out that they were literally weighing me down

I write because I like to and because I have something to say,

but also because I have to.

Today I was rereading my second favorite book and it fit perfectly:

“What I’m trying to say is some people do things because they feel they have to. Some people paint pictures or make sculptures because they want to. They choose to do it. But some people do it because they feel that’s what they must do. . . . [Creating art or writing] it’s the only way they know how to make sense of themselves and the only way they can make sense of life. It’s the only way they know how to say something about themselves and about life they feel they need to say. . . . Strikes me you’re saying you do it to keep yourself alive.”

~ Aidan Chambers in Dying to Know You

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Pixabay/Unsplash

Progress

We have told our story

in many different forms

throughout the ages

beginning in one and being transformed into another

grunts and groans of cavemen

pictures on cave walls

hand signals for hunting

places on maps

oral traditions from ages ago

playing musical bone flutes

hieroglyphics on the pyramids

Inca knots on ropes

carvings on trees

stone and chisel

writing with a stick in the dirt

writing on reeds

letters relaying currency and commerce across the sea

oil paintings

stain glass

feather pen and paper

ship logs

book translations

the Gutenberg printing press

Newspapers

Shakespearean plays

colonist journals

the piano

Enlightenment essays

the Declaration of Independence

Romantic era novels

steam boats and steam trains

Social reform and the Second Great Awakening

telegraph wires

the Pony Express

Photographs

typewriters

the Waltz

Muckrakers

telephones

the radio

Jazz

record player

motion picture

modern art

computers the size of a room

home television

the Beatniks

space travel and moon landings

telephone hot lines

personal computers

Disco

boomboxes

bag phones

Pac-Man

VCR tapes

Walkman cassette tapes

CD players

the internet

MP3 Players

cell phones

Facebook

texting

YouTube

Google Drive

iPads

Angry Birds

Snapchat

All of this progress and communication

where has it brought us

where have we brought it?

It is a part of ourselves now

It is a part of our culture now

We are what we create

and look at what we have created.

I am not saying it is right

I am saying that it is

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Portals to the Soul

Why is it that I chose you?

What made my eyes shine

and my heart sing

and my mouth smile

when I first saw felt you?

Eyes are portals to the soul

and you touched mine

They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach

I guess the way to mine is through my eyes

Why is it that I chose you?

You are just pigments on a canvas

lines on a plane

a two dimensional object representing a three dimensional world

and yet you reached out and grabbed my heart

Not a person

Not a speech

Not a book

Not a landscape

Not a building

Not a sculpture

But a painting

I’ve never been fond of art

writing is more my cup of tea

but you

but you

but you

I figured out that I also like mango smoothies

and not just a cup of tea

***

In an old chest I found you

hidden by years and clothes and holiday dishes

put away because the wall space got cluttered

put away because the room needed to be redecorated

put away so that I could find you

I wasn’t searching for a painting

or any type of art

but I found you

Oh, the treasures we can find unexpectedly

***

Someone crafted you

someone spent time choosing

what scene to paint

what paint to use

what brush to use

someone painted his or herself into the picture

maybe not physically

but the imprint of their soul

the output of their heart

the fingerprint of their hopes

are displayed before me

The Painter’s soul went into the picture

I saw felt the picture

and now I have an imprint of the picture on my soul

Yes, eyes are portals to the soul

***

I guess I shouldn’t be asking

Why is it that I chose you?

I should instead be asking

Why is it that you chose me?