but thoughts never linger
but thoughts never linger
God didn’t have to create beauty
but He did
God didn’t have to create color
He could have made the world only in shades of orange
but He created too many colors for us to count
God didn’t have to create smiles
He could have dulled us to emotion
but He created that feeling you get inside
when you know you are loved and that you love
God didn’t have to create rhythm
He could have made sounds dissociated from each other
but He created melodies that resound in your head
and march with your heartbeat
God didn’t have to create memory
He could have unhooked us from time
and only exist in the present
so much heartache and regret would be wiped away
and with it would be childhood friends and the smell of fresh cut grass
but He created moments that last forever in hearts
God didn’t have to create communication
He could have made us live in our own secluded existence
and prevent fighting and harsh words
and prevent jokes and “I love you”
but He created over six thousand languages
and countless ways to say “happy”
God didn’t have to create anything
but He did
I think God is an optimist
and we should admire the extravagance of a sunset
and not the ending of a day
God created beauty because He wanted to
Rain was in the forecast,
yet I drew in sidewalk chalk
because not all that is
must always be
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.”
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
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 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
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.
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
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
feather pen and paper
the Gutenberg printing press
the Declaration of Independence
Romantic era novels
steam boats and steam trains
Social reform and the Second Great Awakening
the Pony Express
computers the size of a room
space travel and moon landings
telephone hot lines
Walkman cassette tapes
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
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
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
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?
I find sometimes that I need to create but without using words. Words are practically my life, forging imaginary worlds to communicating for daily needs, but sometimes words are overrated. Each word has a purpose, some way of furthering the message I am trying to get across, but I sometimes don’t know what I want. My mind is whirling too fast to grab the words in the air and transfer them to my fingers.
That’s why I take my time and create using scissors and glue. For Christmas I got “card making stuff” and I knew that I would be good at it, but it wasn’t like I woke up one day and wanted my new hobby to be card making. But I actually really enjoy it! 🙂
I love patterns. I love seeing things go together and creating order. It is something that I have control over and make what I want. I take up my whole kitchen and spend hours folding and cutting and glueing and listening to music. It is something constructive to do while thinking and that often leading to writing.
So on Thursday, I started making cards and then got carried away with this idea. Below is a picture and a poem to follow. Enjoy!
Don’t let the world strip you bare
Don’t let all your leaves fall
Don’t let the pieces that make you you
wither away and die off
Everyone loves the fall colors
because they are different
Not because they are all the same
Even keep the leaves called
Because they make you you also
Don’t let the world strip you bare.
Never get lost in the Sauce
If you want to be a hero well just follow me
Michael Ryan Hunsaker, Ph.D.