Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Tea Box

I had lost my wedding ring (now found, not to worry!), the day had been busy, and my body felt as though gravity was having a party on my shoulders. So, when Jennifer called Tyler into the hallway just outside our living room last night, whispered something into his ear, and then sent him rushing, smiling, towards me, I was hoping for something fun, or funny, or exciting.

Something to lessen the weight of gravity, you might say.

When Tyler said, "Here you go, Daddy," and then handed me a Twinings tea box, I thought, Hey, tea, not so bad. I guess I can make a hot cup of tea and that will help me take a breath, relax, and bid that constant friend, gravity, depart for a moment or two...

But when Jennifer followed after Tyler, saying, "Well, 30 days until you turn 30, so I wanted to start the it up and check it out..."

Her smile grew wider as she watched me, and then I knew, This is going to be a heck of a lot better than Twinings Tea (nothing against you, if you're reading this blog and you happen to love Twinings Tea, or work for Twinings Tea, or had a dream last night that you had actually transmogrified into a Twinings tea bag and are now struggling with the weight of disappointment as you are slowly--slowly--coming to terms with the fact that you are not, in fact, a Twinings tea bag, but instead are a human being).

And it was.

A heck of a lot better than Twinings Tea.

Inside this gem of a box were thirty index cards, all folded up, on which thirty sayings about writing had been lovingly scribed by Jennifer's hand. I began pulling out the inspiring little quotes and was delighted to read the wisdom, advice, challenge, and encouragement of so many remarkable writers. To say the least, it gave me the slight edge over gravity last night.

So, because these thirty little quotes have so inspired me, I thought I would share some of them with you this morning. However, you can't have the Twinings Tea Box. I'm keeping that.

In no particular order, here there are--great thoughts on the art of writing, but also great thoughts on the art of living:

"I write when I am inspired, and I see to it that I'm inspired at nine o' clock every morning."  --Peter DeVries

"There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein."  --Walter Wellesley 'Red' Smith

"I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I write and I understand."  --Chinese Proverb

"One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage to use it."  --Katherine Anne Porter

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug."  --Mark Twain

"Suit the action to the word, the word to the action."  --William Shakespeare

"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."  --Mark Twain

"Every author in some way portrays himself in his works, even if it is against his will."  --Goethe

"I'm going to write because I cannot help it."  --Charlottle Bronte

"Close the door. Write with no one looking over your shoulder. Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer."  --Barbara Kingsolver

"No, it's not a very good story--it's author was too busy listening to other voices to listen as closely as he should have to the one coming from inside."  --Stephen King

"Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depth of your heart; confess to yourself you would have to die if you were forbidden to write."  --Rainer Maria Rilke

"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."  --Claude M. Bristol

"Writing a novel is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way."  --E.L. Doctorow

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader."  --Robert Frost

"Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of a temple and take alms of those who work with joy."  --Kahlil Gibran

"Any work of art must first of all tell a story."  --Robert Frost

"Only write from your own passion, your own truth. That's the only thing you really know about, and anything else leads you away from the pulse."  --Marianne Williamson