“is this a message, finally, or just another day?” – Vol. 38

Good morning and a Happy Weekend to you all! Summer is in full swing around here–though I know for many, Winter is howling and moaning its chilly call. No matter your weather, hopefully this totally random mix of words will bring some sunshine to your soul while you’re reading.

This weekend’s randomness comes mostly from the Words archives way back from when the series was at RoS. When I first created the new Words site, I selected many of my favorite quotes and shared them in a one very long post here until I was able to get some new material posted. I have again culled and parsed that original “Random Words” post, into the below for you.

We hope you enjoy, and we’ll see you soon. ~ Christy and Jennie

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I sobered up
And I swore off that stuff
Forever this time

And the old lovers sing
I’d thought it’d be me
Who’d help him get home

But home was a dream
One I’d never seen
Til you came along…

Cover me up and know you’re enough to use me for good…

— “Cover Me Up” performed by Jason Isbell on album Southeastern

*

Cause you can’t jump the track
We’re like cars on a cable
And life’s like an hourglass glued to the table,
No one can find the rewind button boys so cradle your head in your hands
And breathe, just breathe, whoa breathe just breathe

2 a.m. and I’m still awake writing this song
If I get it all down on paper it’s no longer inside of me threaten’ the life it belongs to.
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary screamin’ out loud
And I know that you’ll use them however you want to…

~ Anna Nalick, “Breathe (2 a.m.)” (lyrics), from album Wreck of the Day

*

“I wish we could open our eyes
To see in all directions at the same time
Oh what a beautiful view
If you were never aware of what was around you
And it is true what you said
That I live like a hermit in my own head
But when the sun shines again
I’ll pull the curtains and blinds to let the light in.”

~ Death Cab for Cutie, “Marching Bands of Manhattan”, on album Plans

*

“Your problem is how you are going to spend this one and precious life you have been issued. Whether you’re going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it,enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.” ~ Anne Lamott

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“That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.” ~ Chinese Proverb

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“If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.” ~ Barry Lopez, Crow and Weasel

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“I have always, essentially, been waiting. Waiting to become something else, waiting to be that person I always thought I was on the verge of becoming, waiting for that life I thought I would have. In my head, I was always one step away. In high school, I was biding my time until I could become the college version of myself, the one my mind could see so clearly. In college, the post-college “adult” person was always looming in front of me, smarter, stronger, more organized. Then the married person, then the person I’d become when we have kids. For twenty years, literally, I have waited to become the thin version of myself, because that’s when life will really begin.

And through all that waiting, here I am. My life is passing, day by day, and I am waiting for it to start. I am waiting for that time, that person, that event when my life will finally begin.
I love movies about “The Big Moment” – the game or the performance or the wedding day or the record deal, the stories that split time with that key event, and everything is reframed, before it and after it, because it has changed everything. I have always wanted this movie-worthy event, something that will change everything and grab me out of this waiting game into the whirlwind in front of me. I cry and cry at these movies, because I am still waiting for my own big moment. I had visions of life as an adventure, a thing to be celebrated and experienced, but all I was doing was going to work and coming home, and that wasn’t what it looked like in the movies.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans.” For me, life is what was happening while I was busy waiting for my big moment. I was ready for it and believed that the rest of my life would fade into the background, and that my big moment would carry me through life like a lifeboat.

The Big Moment, unfortunately, is an urban myth. Some people have them, in a sense, when they win the Heisman or become the next American Idol. But even that football player or that singer is living a life made up of more than that one moment. Life is a collection of a million, billion moments, tiny little moments and choices, like a handful of luminous, glowing pearl. It takes so much time, and so much work, and those beads and moments are so small, and so much less fabulous and dramatic than the movies.

But this is what I’m finding, in glimpses and flashes: this is it. This is it, in the best possible way. That thing I’m waiting for, that adventure, that move-score-worthy experience unfolding gracefully. This is it. Normal, daily life ticking by on our streets and sidewalks, in our houses and apartments, in our beds and at our dinner tables, in our dreams and prayers and fights and secrets – this pedestrian life is the most precious thing any of use will ever experience.” ~ Shauna Niequist, Cold Tangerines: Celebrating the Extraordinary Nature of Everyday Life

*

“The unreal is more powerful than the real. Because nothing is as perfect as you can imagine it. Because it’s only intangible ideas, concepts, beliefs, fantasies that last. Stone crumbles. Wood rots. People, well, they die. But things as fragile as a thought, a dream, a legend, they can go on and on. If you can change the way people think. The way they see themselves. The way they see the world. You can change the way people live their lives. That’s the only lasting thing you can create.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk, Choke

*

“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared!” ~ Tupac Shakur, The Rose That Grew From Concrete

*

“There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” ~ William Shakespeare, Hamlet

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"Lighthouse at night with a full moon" by KariTap via deviantart (CC BY-SA 3.0)

“Lighthouse at night with a full moon” by KariTap via deviantart (CC BY-SA 3.0)

“If you are writing the clearest, truest words you can find and doing the best you can to understand and communicate, this will shine on paper like its own little lighthouse. Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” ~ Anne Lamott

*

 “I suddenly realized. The zebra. It is not something outside of us. The zebra is something inside of us. Our fears. Our own self-destructive nature. The zebra is the worst part of us when we are face-to-face with our worst times. The demon is us!” ~ Garth Stein, The Art of Racing in the Rain

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“If we were always conscious of the fact that people precious to us are frighteningly mortal, hanging not even by a thread, but by a wisp of gossamer, perhaps we would be kinder to them and more grateful for the love and friendship they give to us.” ~ Dean Koontz, Seize the Night

*

“You can try to escape the story of your life, but you can’t. It happened. The baby died, the dog died, the heart broke. I knew you when you were young, I know your heart broke too. I will know you when we are both old and maybe wise. I hope wise. I know you now, your story. Mine is not the one I would have chosen in the beginning, but I’ll take it. It is my story. It’s only mine and it’s not over. There’s time. There is time. There is so much time.” ~ Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) in Enlightened

*

THE PEACE OF WILD THINGS

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry

*

WAITING by Raymond Carver

Left off the highway and
down the hill. At the
bottom, hang another left.
Keep bearing left. The road
will make a Y. Left again.
There’s a creek on the left.
Keep going. Just before
the road ends, there’ll be
another road. Take it
and no other. Otherwise,
your life will be ruined
forever. There’s a log house
with a shake roof, on the left.
It’s not that house. It’s
the next house, just over
a rise. The house
where trees are laden with
fruit. Where phlox, forsythia,
and marigold grow. It’s
the house where the woman
stands in the doorway
wearing the sun in her hair. The one
who’s been waiting
all this time.
The woman who loves you.
The one who can say,
“What’s kept you?”

~ “Waiting” by Raymond Carver, from All of Us: The Collected Poems (Alfred A. Knopf).

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Vase With 12 Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

Vase With 12 Sunflowers by Vincent van Gogh

The Sunflowers — by Mary Oliver

Come with me
into the field of sunflowers.
Their faces are burnished disks,
their dry spines

creak like ship masts,
their green leaves,
so heavy and many,
fill all day with the sticky

sugars of the sun.
Come with me
to visit the sunflowers,
they are shy

but want to be friends;
they have wonderful stories
of when they were young –
the important weather,

the wandering crows.
Don’t be afraid
to ask them questions!
Their bright faces,

which follow the sun,
will listen, and all
those rows of seeds –
each one a new life!

hope for a deeper acquaintance;
each of them, though it stands
in a crowd of many,
like a separate universe,

is lonely, the long work
of turning their lives
into a celebration
is not easy. Come

and let us talk with those modest faces,
the simple garments of leaves,
the coarse roots in the earth
so uprightly burning.

.
*
.

A Vote For the Gentle Light – Charles Bukowski

a vote for the gentle light
burned senseless by other people’s constant
depression,
I pull the curtains apart,
aching for the gentle light.
it’s there, it’s there
somewhere,
I’m sure.

oh, the faces of depression, expressions
pulled down into the gluey dark.
the bitter small sour mouths,
the self-pity, the self-justification is
too much, all too much.
the faces in shadow,
deep creases of gloom.

there’s no courage there, just the desire to
possess something––admiration, fame, lovers,
money, any damn thing
so long as it comes easy.
so long as they don’t have to do
what’s necessary.
and when they don’t succeed they
become embittered,
ugly,
they imagine that they have
been slighted, cheated,
demeaned.

then they concentrate upon their
unhappiness, their last
refuge.
and they’re good at that,
they are very good at that.
they have so much unhappiness
they insist upon your sharing it
too.

they bathe and splash in their
unhappiness,
they splash it upon you.

it’s all they have.
it’s all they want.
it’s all they can be.

you must refuse to join them.
you must remain yourself.
you must open the curtains
or the blinds
or the windows
to the gentle light.
to joy.
it’s there in life
and even in death
it can be
there.

“A Vote For the Gentle Light” by Charles Bukowski from What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (Available on Amazon HERE) published by Black Sparrow Press.

*

STARFISH — by Eleanor Lerman 

This is what life does. It lets you walk up to
the store to buy breakfast and the paper, on a
stiff knee. It lets you choose the way you have
your eggs, your coffee. Then it sits a fisherman
down beside you at the counter who says, Last night
the channel was full of starfish. And you wonder,
is this a message, finally, or just another day?Life lets you take the dog for a walk down to the
pond, where whole generations of biological
processes are boiling beneath the mud. Reeds
speak to you of the natural world: they whisper,
they sing. And herons pass by. Are you old
enough to appreciate the moment? Too old?
There is movement beneath the water, but it
may be nothing. There may be nothing going on.And then life suggests that you remember the
years you ran around, the years you developed
a shocking lifestyle, advocated careless abandon,
owned a chilly heart. Upon reflection, you are
genuinely surprised to find how quiet you have
become. And then life lets you go home to think
about all this. Which you do, for quite a long time.Later, you wake up beside your old love, the one
who never had any conditions, the one who waited
you out. This is life’s way of letting you know that
you are lucky. (It won’t give you smart or brave,
so you’ll have to settle for lucky.) Because you were born at a good time. Because you were able to listen when people spoke to you. Because you
stopped when you should have started again.So life lets you have a sandwich, and pie for your
late night dessert. (Pie for the dog, as well.) And
then life sends you back to bed, to dreamland,
while outside, the starfish drift through the channel,
with smiles on their starry faces as they head
out to deep water, to the far and boundless sea.

~ “Starfish” by Eleanor LermanOur Post Soviet History Unfolds published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2005 by Eleanor Lerman.

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And one of my favorite playlists, from “Life’s Like an Hourglass: Vol. 11:”

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11 comments

  1. Well girls,
    You did it again. I have yet ANOTHER favorite in your Words compilation. Another one that I will read over and over again and soak it up bit by bit. I’ll find a favorite passage and then another on down the page. It’s full of surprises that has my heart and soul written all over it…sunflowers, our new little fluttery writing page, Ann Lamont….SO.GOOD. Where to start? Back at the beginning and 20 more times through.
    THANK YOU! What a great start to the weekend.

    Like

    1. I knew you’d love Sunflowers, but then after I had everything collected, I realized you’d love Lamott (especially the lighthouse since I think that’s what Paul calls you, no?)

      Hard for me to pick an overall favorite, but I’m leaning toward the Carver poem “Waiting”. … I love the image of someone waiting in the shadows of a little white house in the country, maybe in the Colorado mountains, surrounded by marigold and wildflowers, with the sun in her hair, saying “What’s kept you?” 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yep….LOVED the lighthouse and I do remember Paul’s kind words.
        In reference to your little vision in the Colorado mountains and flower filled meadows…I knew that state would speak to you like it speaks to me every time I visit. Your response reminds of a book called “The Shack”…set in Oregon rather than Colorado. I read the whole thing on the way back from Colorado a couple of years ago and couldn’t put it down. There is a shared magic between those states and I don’t mean the wacky weed 🙂

        Pssst! I misspelled Ann’s last name. Doh!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m picking a favorite, which I know I never do on these but, Tupac’s roses from concrete 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. One of my favorites.

      PS–Surprise! 🙂 xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was surprised 🙂 Made my coffee and day even better!

        Like

    2. Though if I had to guess your favorite, I would have picked the Laura Dern quote or the Anna song.
      I would have been wrong. 😀

      Like

      1. Well, no you weren’t lol The Tupac, Dern, Anna song, and the Palahniuk quote all pretty much tied. Tupac won solely on the resemblance to daisies from dust 😉

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Jason Isbell love….awesome. That first Anne Lamott quote hit me right in the gut. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. An ooph moment! Yay:)

      Like

  4. Going through my archived “posts-to-read” and came across this one. After a long August hiatus I am appreciating my friendships more as the time passes. Thanks for being here and for writing. You are a beam of light for my soul. Always have been. xox Me

    Like

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