You can say anything you want, yessir, but it’s the words that sing, they soar and descend . . . I bow to them . . . I love them, I cling to them, I run them down, I bite into them, I melt them down . . . I love words so much . . . The unexpected ones . . . The ones I wait for greedily or stalk until, suddenly, they drop . . . Vowels I love . . . They glitter like colored stones, they leap like silver fish, they are foam, thread, metal, dew . . . I run after certain words . . . They are so beautiful that I want to fit them all into my poem . . . I catch them in midflight, as they buzz past, I trap them, clean them, peel them, I set myself in front of the dish, they have a crystalline texture to me, vibrant, ivory, vegetable, oily, like fruit, like algae, like agates, like olives . . . And I stir them, I shake them, I drink them, I gulp them down, I mash them, I garnish them, I let them go . . . I leave them in my poem like stalactites, like slivers of polished wood, like coals, pickings from a shipwreck, gifts from the waves . . . Everything exists in the word . . .From Memoirs by Pablo Neruda (NY: Penguin, 1974), p. 53.
Category Archives: Writing
Bradbury’s Brainy Bites
Work is done for the day so time to ponder. I was thinking about Ray Bradbury tonight. He’s the author of two of my favorite texts: Fahrenheit 451 and Dandelion Wine. He has penned so many inspiring words I have trouble choosing only some quotes (a few are taped to the shelf above my desk). Long story shorter (I can never guarantee short), here’s a few of my faves:
“We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out.” ~Bradbury
“He glanced back at the wall. How like a mirror, too, her face. Impossible; for how many people did you know who reflected your own light to you? People were more often–he searched for a simile, found one in his work–torches, blazing away until they whiffed out. How rarely did other people’s faces take of you and throw back to you your own expression, your own innermost trembling thought?” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“We cannot tell the precise moment when friendship is formed. As in filling a vessel drop by drop, there is at last a drop which makes it run over; so in a series of kindnesses there is at last one which makes the heart run over.” ~ Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“You’ll find out it’s little savors and little things that count more than big ones. A walk on a spring morning is better than an eighty-mile ride in a hopped-up car, you know why? Because it’s full of flavors, full of a lot of things growing. You’ve time to seek and find.”~Bradbury (Dandelion Wine)
“Are you happy?” she [Clarisse] said. “Am I what?” he [Montag] cried. But she was gone- running in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.” ~ Ray Bradbury (Fahrenheit 451)
“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there. It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. “ ~ Bradbury
“There is such a place as fairyland – but only children can find the way to it. And they do not know that it is fairyland until they have grown so old that they forget the way. One bitter day, when they seek it and cannot find it, they realize what they have lost; and that is the tragedy of life. On that day the gates of Eden are shut behind them and the age of gold is over. Henceforth they must dwell in the common light of common day. Only a few, who remain children at heart, can ever find that fair, lost path again; and blessed are they above mortals. They, and only they, can bring us tidings from that dear country where we once sojourned and from which we must evermore be exiles. The world calls them its singers and poets and artists and story-tellers; but they are just people who have never forgotten the way to fairyland.”
~L.M. Montgomery (The Story Girl)
L.M. Montgomery has been one of my favorite writers from the time I was a tween and I first read Emily Climbs. I was enamored by her main protagonist, Emily, who loved writing, life, nature, and was filled with “gumption.” She experienced “the flash” and from the moment I read about her experience in the text, I felt at home between those pages I eagerly devoured (metaphorically speaking of course 🙂 ). Emily writes, “Words are such fascinating things. . . The very sound of some of them–‘haunted’–‘mystic’–for example, gives me the flash. (Oh, dear! But I have to italicize the flash. It isn’t ordinary–it’s the most extraordinary and wonderful thing in my whole life. When it comes I feel as if a door had swung open in a wall before me and given me a glimpse of–yes, of heaven).” Lovely! She summarized for years how I felt as a small child when stories would sneak up from behind and demand I write them by nightlight (risking my mom or dad catching me awake when I was already supposed to be fast asleep on a school night).
I hope never to forget the feeling when I capture a moment so real, so intense, so full of passion or grief or joy. When I am allowed glimpses into my past from my muses and these backward glances overwhelm me, I can once again BE that barefoot four-year old child riding a green bike with a suede banana seat or I can taste honeysuckle nectar on my tongue or I can inhale the neighbors’ perfumed orange blossoms that fill me with summer calm. I am so grateful for emotions that may be expressed in words, words that are as real to me as this laptop I am typing on or the comfy bed I sleep in or the stir fry I will later make. Today, I was granted this gift of just BEing and I am thankful.
Okay, I know love letter fest is technically over. HOWEVER, I could not resist posting two, short letters exchanged between one of the most romantic, literary couples (Robert and Elizabeth Browning) ever (in my book THE most romantic, literary couple). Of course, Elizabeth wrote my favorite poetry collection, Sonnets from the Portuguese, for her husband Robert Browning and I believe them to be the most beautiful poems (especially numbers I, XIV, XX, and the best, XLIII). So enjoy and keep that passion alive every day, not just on Valentine’s Day!!!!
To Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
…would I, if I could, supplant one of any of the affections that I know to have taken root in you – that great and solemn one, for instance.
I feel that if I could get myself remade, as if turned to gold,
I WOULD not even then desire to become more than the mere setting to that diamond you must always wear.
The regard and esteem you now give me, in this letter, and which I press to my heart and bow my head upon, is all I can take and all too embarrassing, using all my gratitude.
– Robert Browning
And now listen to me in turn.
You have touched me more profoundly than I thought even you could have touched me – my heart was full when you came here today.
Henceforward I am yours for everything.
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Love Letter Fest
Friends, welcome to my Valentine’s Event. A “Dear ?” love letter which you have written (whether sweet, sarcastic, or saucy) and will post your links below in the comment section so we all can have grieve, giggle, or gasp! I will admit. When this idea jumped into my brain, I wasn’t daunted. HOWEVER, as I sit here about to type my own letter, I’m overwhelmed, a tad bit intimidated, and wondering what on earth I was thinking when I started this. Those of you who know me well are aware of my stubborn perseverance. Hence, onward. Enjoy and happy Valentine’s Day. Not the commercialized hype but the everyday love we hold in our hearts.
Many of you have directly or indirectly shaped me into the woman I am today. I wouldn’t be Pamela without you. Some of you have taken my heart down spiraling staircases into dank, dark basements where I suffered pain, wrenching hurt, abandonment.
A couple of you have led me through enchanted forests where rainbows arched overhead, the grass was soft, the castle walls had crumbled, and we loved as first loves.
Still others have taught me the foundation of love, how love isn’t based on emotions, how it demands action, requires being able to mouth or write two words (I’m sorry), and mean them. That anger doesn’t necessarily reflect lack of love, although, at times, it may indicate lack of “like” (or sheer frustration).
Another has shown me that no matter how much I get angry, or question, or cry, or vent, He will remain faithful and, even more amazing, love me despite me.
All of the individuals who do not hesitate to pick up the phone to let me know they care, reach out with a card or letter, laugh with me, scream with me, or who hold me when I cry across the miles in a tight, virtual embrace.
Then there are the up close and personals who cling to me, climb me as if I am a tree, and hold on with little arms tightly clasped around my neck. There are older ones who reach out when I least expect them to, grab my hands, sit close to me on the sofa, or hug me unexpectedly in passing.
There are those of you who have touched me so deeply that even though we are separated by this seemingly vast expanse of the other world you continue to move me, fill me, motivate me, cheer me on, and you are alive to me in my dreams, my memory, my soul.
There might be a person out there on this planet who could, through honest eyes, stir up flames in me once more. Who, through sincerity, persistence, humor, character, empathy, gentleness, and time, has the capability to evoke in me passions which have yet to be completely drawn out. He may exist. . .
In the meantime, I love and am so loved. For all you, hole fillers, and you, hole makers, I thank-you. It’s been real, raw, and, at times, raucous. Even though, some days I harbor a few, wee regrets, I wouldn’t change any of it. I have learned and will continue to learn. My heart’s love journey (I hope) has, like my parent’s wedding song, “only just begun.”
All my love,