Life and Purpose

Albert Camus, care of Wikimedia Commons.

“To lose one’s life is no great matter; when the time comes I’ll have the courage to lose mine. But what’s intolerable is to see one’s life being drained of meaning, to be told there’s no reason for existing. A man can’t live without some reason for living.”
~ Albert Camus

Perseverance

FDR. Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

Here’s a few quotes for the would-be writers of the world. The topic this week? Perseverance:

“The difference between perseverance and obstinacy is that one comes from a strong will, and the other from a strong won’t.” 
~Henry Ward Beecher

“When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” 
~Franklin D. Roosevelt

“The drops of rain make a hole in the stone not by violence but by oft falling.” 
~Lucretius

The Question of Faith

Harold Camping - the man who predicted the end of the world. And got it wrong. Again. Image care of Wikimedia Commons.

This week I have a bundle of quotes for you, as the previous week extolled in me a need for some reason up in here.

Rapture has come and passed according to those who believed it – other Christian groups actually had members outside gatherings of these people to comfort them in their realizations – and so I thought it a good time to address not only faith, but to leave you with a little commentary on society…

“He who has faith has… an inward reservoir of courage, hope, confidence, calmness, and assuring trust that all will come out well – even though to the world it may appear to come out most badly. “
~B.C. Forbes

“Faith must be enforced by reason…When faith becomes blind it dies.”
~Mahatma Gandhi

“Faith and doubt both are needed – not as antagonists, but working side by side to take us around the unknown curve. “
~Lillian Smith

“I think we risk becoming the best informed society that has ever died of ignorance.”
~Reuben Blades

The Writer’s Muse

Gustave Moreau's, Hesiod and the Muse (1891)

This week, I’ve been dwelling a lot on the concept of the muse, particularly owing to the fact that a person I once took to be the physical embodiment of my own muse recently dropped out of my life  in any meaningful manner.

Necessities, in life, I suppose…but it does hurt to see such dramatic shifts in relations with others. To watch yourself drift entirely out of someone else’s life. Particularly when the creative in you recoils from the blow, in such horror…

This week’s quotes, thusly, are based on the concept of the muse, as shall my submission for One Shot Wednesday tomorrow. Enjoy.

“Illustrious acts high raptures do infuse, And every conqueror creates a muse.
~Edmund Waller

“O! for a muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.
~William Shakespeare

“A muse can be a mirror: a reflection of the artist’s desires, anxieties, dreams and needs.
~Vince Aletti

Spring Fever

While many of you may have been living the good and bountiful life the past little while, I can assure you spring is only just recently hitting Michigan…this past week marked the first time it’s stayed consistently and comfortably above freezing even in the darkest hours since winter kicked off.

Naturally, I’ve been loving it. Everything is green and blooming and warm…the world has opened its arms in invitation, and how can one but accept such a generous offer? As a result, this week’s quotes are in celebration of this beautiful time…and the pictures are from one of my fresh new adventures…

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!
~Mark Twain

“And Spring arose on the garden fair,
Like the Spirit of Love felt everywhere;
And each flower and herb on Earth’s dark breast
rose from the dreams of its wintry rest.”
~Percy Bysshe Shelley, “The Sensitive Plant”

All photos, copyright Chris Galford.

Of War, Symbols, and Bin Laden

“All wars are follies, very expensive and very mischievous ones.  In my opinion, there never was a good war or a bad peace.  When will mankind be convinced and agree to settle their difficulties by arbitration?”
~Benjamin Franklin

This week’s quote, and thoughts on war in general, was stirred by an event that took place late last night, stirring a great many cheers across this nation. Not long before midnight here, on the east coast of the United States, President Barack Obama came on the news to announce that Osama Bin Laden, the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks in 2001, responsible for the deaths of thousands of world citizens, was dead at the hands of U.S. Navy Seals.

The news broadcast images of crowds cheering all across the country. Played old images of the Twin Towers, the screams, the horror, the tears. Showed soldiers on the march. Flags waved, and America howled.

In the streets, and on Twitter, an old cry arose: “Mission Accomplished,” the short-lived and infamous words of the Bush Administration. But therein should come the caution. War still drums on, dear fellows, and a man is just a man. A bullet may put a body to the sand, but it does not end a war. It does not raise a white flag, and usher us all to quiet and to calm. Perhaps it lures one into false senses of security, helps one forget but…Bin Laden is not powerful as a man, he is powerful as a symbol. Those that would declare a war over for the death of one man in a network of hundreds…I do not understand it. It is beyond me.

And in that regard, I end with the sign off I had from twitter last night: Symbols are powerful things. Their creation. Their destruction. But remember—the symbol is never the sum. Cheer, but do not call the battles won.

Families and Hopes

Given the state of worry and relief my family’s been put through in the past couple weeks, I thought I would return to my regularly schedules Quotes of the Week with a few pieces on hope and family. There is great pain and immeasurable joy contained within the word – family – and they are, truly, among the most important relations we will ever have in life – for they are always with us, whether we always wish them to or not:

“The family.  We were a strange little band of characters trudging through life sharing diseases and toothpaste, coveting one another’s desserts, hiding shampoo, borrowing money, locking each other out of our rooms, inflicting pain and kissing to heal it in the same instant, loving, laughing, defending, and trying to figure out the common thread that bound us all together.”
~Erma Bombeck

“Sometimes our hearts get tangled
And our souls a little off-kilter
Friends and family can set us right
And help guide us back to the light.”
~Sera Christann

“Hope is that thing with feathers that perches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops…at all.” 
~Emily Dickinson

A touch of emotion…

I think Dale Carnegie, author of the still-famous “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” said it best when he declared, “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.”

Emotion lies at the core of man. It drives him, stirs him, moves him both in his actions and his reactions. Writers, perhaps, are among some of the most emotional of people, for they must be, as it is their want in life to capture the essential essences of mankind…

The latest quote of the week – a commentary on emotion:

“All emotions are pure which gather you and lift you up; that emotion is impure which seizes only one side of your being and so distorts you.” ~Rainer Maria Rilke

For the Artist

The Virgin & Child with St. Anne & St. John the Baptist , by da Vinci

“The aim of every artist is to arrest motion, which is life, by artificial means and hold it fixed so that a hundred years later, when a stranger looks at it, it moves again since it is life.”
~William Faulkner

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
~Leonardo da Vinci

Transmission: Life

Time for another quote of the week, and this time it’s a long one, boys and girls, but a good one. The quote comes from one D.H. Lawrence, and it’s got all the things people quirk an eyebrow for these days: life, work, sex…

D.H. Lawrence, image care of Wikimedia Commons.

As we live, we are transmitters of life.
And when we fail to transmit life, life fails to flow
through us.

That is part of the mystery of sex, it is a flow onwards,
Sexless people’ transmit nothing.

And if, as we work, we can transmit life into our work,
life, still more life, rushes into us to compensate, to be ready
and we ripple with life through the days.
Even if it is a woman making an apple dumpling, or a
man a stool,
if life goes into the pudding, good is the pudding
good is the stool,
content is the woman, with fresh life rippling in to her,
content is the man.

Give, and it shall be given unto you
is still the truth about life.
But giving life is not so easy.
It doesn’t mean handing it out to some mean fool, or letting
the living dead eat you up.
It means kindling the life-quality where it was not,
even if it’s only in the whiteness of a washed pocket-handkerchief.

~We Are Transmitters by D. H. Lawrence