Tag Archives: books

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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Reading to Know You

“Could I talk to you?”

I’ve been locked up for 264-days.

The train station at Pebbleton, dark and sooty though it was, glistened in the mist.

The world might be sunny-side up today.

It was a little after midnight when Lance McKendrick left his tiny bedroom in Max Dalton’s New Jersey base and padded barefoot through the corridors and out into the base’s large garage.

I am an hourglass.

These are all the first sentences in books that are, or have been, my favorite books.

This was before I knew the characters

who I now love

this was before I knew their fears,

loves,

goals,

and failures.

This was before I meet some of my closest friends

and also people who I would never like to meet.

These words were the first judgement I made about the characters,

not their appearance, voice, or reputation.

In books,

it is so strange because I am reading to know people.

It doesn’t matter that they are made out of ink and paper

or caffeine inspired imagination.

What matter is that these people, these characters,

live and breathe in my heart.

That is were it counts.

With each word written I get to know the character

better

and better.

But their lives do not come to a stopping halt

when the last period is placed

and the finally page is turned.

They continue to live on in my heart.

That is were it counts.

“Why?”

I’m ready.

After all he had accomplished, and considering how much he had learned and how far he had come, it is a curious fact — indeed, a remarkable one — that what Nicholas wanted now, more than anything, was to get started.

And I’m leaving my gloves behind.

“He’s human,” Lance said. “And it’s about time he understood what being human really means.”

“I can’t wait to watch them try.”

first-page

 


Books in order of lines:

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Hunter by Michael Carroll

Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

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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The Words Themselves

I am currently re-reading my second favorite book.

I got a copy of it for my birthday

and I am writing all over it,

Underling phrases

Blocking off paragraphs and pages

Scrawling in the margins little notes to myself

It seems like when I do this

then I become a part of the book

and not just the book a part of me.

The book becomes personalized,

an outward sign of the impression the words have left on my heart.

So when someone else reads the words I’ve written

and the phrases I have underlined

Then they see to my heart and my mind.

The second reader trespasses on my personal

private

heart and soul.

And that’s something deeper,

sometimes,

than the words themselves.

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For the Sake of

In movies

You lose the quality of the written word

the sweet, sweet literary devices

for the sake of visualization

You lose the narrative capability

for the sake of an actor’s actions

You lose the leisure and digestive qualities

for the sake of “Next scene!”

No time to stop

or you’ll miss something new

no time to ponder on something old

You lose control

for the sake of living in someone else’s rapidly expanding imagination

In novels

You lose the rawness of an action

for the sake of recording the movement

You lose the transformation of emotion

for the sake of the categorization of a feeling

You lose the flow motion

for the sake of a mis-configured reader’s imagination

You lose the purity of a glance

for the sake of qualifying it

Sometimes words can do no justice

for what only motion can

This is why life should not be lived in movies or books

but in the act of living

Movies and books can only be enjoyed

once they have a life to build upon

Timeless_Books

To You Who Gave Me Writing

To you who gave me writing

To my mother who spent hours with brightly colored flashcards

taught me that a semi-circle shape was a “C”

To my grandmother who would trace letters on my back

taught me the touch of words

To my parents who wrote down in my daily journal I what I told them to write

taught me the recording power of words and that my words mattered

To my mother who on that just beginning to cool, hot summer evening in the kitchen

taught me the letters in my name

To my father who would read to me comicbooks from his childhood

taught me that I can be enthralled in compelling stories and heroic characters

To my mother who persevered against my whining in forcing me to read beginner level “Bob Books”

taught me that I can be a critic of what I read but I still have to respect it

To Miss Griffin, my kindergarten teacher, who after reading a story about ducks

taught me that “ing” means action, a verb

To Mary Pope Osborne who wrote Magic Tree House, the first books I ever read and enjoyed by myself

taught me the joy and accomplishment of reading

To Ms. Hinds, my fourth grade teacher, who gave me an assignment to give a biographical speech about someone famous

taught me how empowering public speaking can be

To Ms. Benford, my elementary school librarian, who found for me my favorite childhood author

taught me to try new genres and that “different” can bring some of best things

To Margaret Peterson Haddix who was my favorite childhood author and filled my childhood with characters and situations and words and choices

taught me how other’s writing can touch my life

To Ms. Burke, my fifth grade teacher, who gave me an assignment to write a mystery story

taught me the power and excitement of my own fiction

To Ms. Cothran, my public speaking coach, who saw potential in me and changed a shy, analytical girl to a animated girl and a lover of poetry and my own writing

taught me that my writing impacts others and that I have a voice, so use it

To Ms. Mihocko, my seventh grade teacher, who critiqued me hard

taught me that my style is not enjoyed by everyone

To Pastor Randy who gave my first chance to preach a real sermon

taught me to follow my dreams and to work for the Lord

To Ms. Conley, my freshman english teacher, who opened my eyes to the wondrous world of writing and analyzing literary devices

taught me why and how I love the written word

To WordPress who gave me a way to share my writing

taught me that others value my work and that I should take pride in it

To Economics summer test that hours upon hours spent pointless stem and response that no one will ever glance at

taught me that purpose of writing is to convey a meaningful message that will be read

***

To you who gave me writing

and to all I left out in this poem

I thank you dearly

for writing

allows me to create my world

both in fiction

and not

***

To God who created the heavens and the earth and everything in between

for giving me something to write about

To God who gave me a mind to comprehend writing and all of its glorious intricate relationships

To God who gave the world writing at its perfection, the Bible

To God who allows me to spread His Word through my words

***

To you who gave me writing

To you who gave me the power to change the world

To you who gave me the power to change my life

To you

 

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