Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking Back at a Book of Quotes

Like a lot of writers, I keep a 'quote book' where I scribble down anything that interests me. Inspirational quotes. Lines from books. A silly comment from a friend. Great advice. Something overheard. A part of a poem. etc. A few days ago, I found a quote book I started when I was 17!

When I read it, I looked for patterns. I wondered if my 17 yr-old self and the person I am now have anything in common. Was I drawn to themes that I now write about? I also looked for change and growth. I mean, it would be nice to think that I've learned something over the past few decades.

So here are some quotes that I gathered when I was a senior in high school and my first few years of college (with some commentary):

"It was in the middle of winter, I realized there was in me an invincible summer." A Camus. (Still a favorite! True confession here: I didn't find it by reading Camus. It was in the front of Paula Danzinger's amazing book The Pistachio Prescription.)

"There are only two or three human stories and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened." Willa Cather

"After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns." I Ching

"My dear, you must try Gestalt therapy" Overheard at a party.

"The more absolute death seems, the more authentic life becomes..." John Fowles (So much for saying I ever had a happy carefree nature)

"The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it." PB Medawar. (I love this quote. Any time I find that I'm resistant to change, I still think about this.)

"This is what happens when you stay friends with people you went to high school with." A high school friend -- it was probably said about 6 months after we graduated. (I'm still friends with many high school pals, including the one who said this.)

"Do I dare disturb the universe" TS Eliot

"We take our favorite mistake and make it over and over again." Favorite philosophy prof (Yep. This one might be true)

"A stone gathers no moss while rolling. It gains a high polish" Fortune cookie.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Like to Pretend...(What some forty-somethings, an 11 year-old and a youthful 83 year -old have to say about the subject)

Pretending is different than wishing. It allows you to visit an imaginary place, sample what's there and then head back to your real life.
This weekend I was talking with one of my favorite 11-year-olds about it. Soon, her mom joined in the conversation and then my mom joined in. Then another friend joined in too.
Here's our list of things we like to pretend. See if you can tell which ones are from the 11-year-old, which ones are from my 83-year-old mother and which ones came from the forty-somethings. It's harder than you think.

I like to pretend that...

* I know how to play the piano

* the crumpled-up lottery ticket I found on the bottom of my book bag is a winner

*I'm an exchange student from Spain

* worries are carried off on dandelion seeds

* I'm a professional fashion designer/organic cosmetics maker/perfume maker

* I'm actually a wizard but my parents are anti-magic muggles who denied me my rightful education at Hogwarts, but I discover my true heritage and land a job working at Hogwarts as a groundskeeper with Hagrid and take night classes where I master the most difficult potions and spells and win the undying devotion of Severus Snape.

* there's a famous Hollywood producer reading a certain book right now and thinking "this would be a great movie"

* I'm at a Frank Sinatra concert

* candy really is health food, especially the "Hot Tamales"

*I'm having a cup of tea with my grandmother

* I'm a famous dancer

* I always know which direction I'm going

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Long Way Home

While Neil Armstrong is My Uncle.. takes place in Massapequa, New York, it was written in New Jersey. That's where I live. One of the best things about the Jersey shore is the sea, of course. I took these pics during the 20 mile drive from work to home. Normally, I travel up and down the Garden State, but when I slow down and take the back roads, here's what I see.

This is Huddy Park, across the street from the library in Toms River. On Wednesdays in the summer they have a farmers market. They also have events like the annual "Wooden Boat Fesitval" and the "Art and Music Festival". Btw, I was standing on this bridge, when I got "the call".

I'm heading south now near Beachwood.

Here's the town of Ocean Gate.The population is about 2000, but I bet it swells to more than that in the summer. For a quiet walk, nothing beats the boardwalk in this town.

I love the eerie feeling of this place. Driving by, all you see are hundreds of these skeletons of electric poles in a marshland. It's a wildlife refuge, but obviously it was something else at one time.

Still moving south, I found a new store called the Hippie House. Wish they were there when I was researching 1969. I'll be searching the place for something to bring to my school visits.

This is the main street in my home town. You know you live in a small town when the local supermarket is described as "the keystone store". But there are lots of cool places here, such as Hope Hypnosis. Hypnotherapist Mary Silvernail has done seminars at our library.

I'm home! If I walk 100 yards from my front door, here's what I see.

Most days, I take the Parkway and hardly notice. But I think I'm gonna take the long way home more often.