Favorite Quotes

I wanted to write these down somewhere that I’d never lose them, so, Interwebz, I’m trusting you to keep these safe.  This is a working list – I’ll be updating as I read and remember.

Trouble not thyself about the shadow of a great name, nor about the friendship of many, nor about the love of men towards thee. For these things beget distraction and great sorrows of heart. ~ The Imitation of Christ, Book Three Chapter 24, by Thomas a Kempis, tr. by William Benham

Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu’avec le cœur. L’essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. (translation: Here is my secret. It is very simple: it is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye.) ~ The Little Prince by Antoine de St. Exupéry

Aimer, ce n’est pas se regarder l’un l’autre, c’est regarder ensemble dans la même direction. (translation: To love is not to look at one another, it is to look, together, in the same direction.) ~ Terre des Hommes (tr. as Wind, Sand, and Stars) by Antoine de St. Exupéry

I am become death, destroyer of worlds. ~ Robert Oppenheimer, from the Bhagavad Gita

I’ve never been a millionaire, but I just know I’d be darling at it. ~ Dorothy Parker

Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.”
Winston Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.”
Winston Churchill: “If I were your husband I would take it.”

To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace. ~Milan Kundera

Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest. ~ Mark Twain

All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wander are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.

~ Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.  ~ Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

Wild animals never kill for sport. Man is the only one to whom the torture and death of his fellow creatures is amusing in itself. ~ James Anthony Froude

She walks in beauty, like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies; and all that’s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes…  ~ George Gordon Lord Byron, full poem here.

Year 2011, End.

I feel the need to reflect on 2011 and look forward to 2012, as I’m sure many other people do.  Isn’t that why making resolutions is a general activity and topic of conversation at this time of year?

2011 made me crazy.  I felt that so much had been thrown at me in both my professional and personal life I might have jumped off the Tallahatchie Bridge at some point during the year.  I failed at several things: a 365 photo project, Post A Day 2011, my 2011 Reading Challenge (15/40), and giving attention to those who needed it most from me.  But, 2011 brought some pretty amazing moments that challenged me and taught me more about myself than I have learned before.  There were several work emergencies in March that, while I wish that they had not happened at all, I learned that I can handle lots of intense issues thrown at me in a short amount of time.  During the spring break at the university at which I work, I was alone in the office while Japan experienced an earthquake and there were two very serious personal issues having to do with our students.  I learned that not only do I do well in emergency situations that require quick thinking, I actually love it.  I made big decisions without being able to consult with anyone and took actions that protected the students.  (Pats own back here.)

I also worked hard on a grassroots campaign against Initiative 26 in Mississippi.  We won!  I canvassed neighborhoods, attended fundraisers, talked with anyone and everyone I could about the negative consequences of the initiative had it passed.  Here is how I felt about it.  While the fight is never over, we showed that in this conservative state (perhaps the most conservative state in the US), Mississippians are not fooled by the fearmongering and hatred spread by the Yes on 26 campaign.

I also got my first wedding photography gig in New Orleans!  New Orleans is one of my favorite cities, and to take photos there of a lovely couple was just a great experience.  I’m very happy with how they turned out.  You can see them on my photography Facebook page, if you’re interested.  We also were introduced to the amazing and healing power of totchos (tater tots dressed as nachos).  Oh yeah.

While much of the rest of the year has now dropped out of focus due to the last, most important part of the year, the hubs and I did start a garden, made pickles, I finished several knitting projects, went to Paris, Aarhus, and Copenhagen, discovered Phantogram, began to love Twitter, and other fairly meaningless activities.  The best part of 2011 was that on December 3, 2011, my family got the call that a liver was donated that matched my father.  He has been on the waiting list for just shy of 2 years, and he has not been feeling good for the past year.  It was such an amazing gift from the donor and his or her family, and while he isn’t yet his old self, we are all so thankful for the donor, the doctors, the hospital, the nurses, the transplant institute administration, everyone.  Everything pretty much pales in comparison to what our family has experienced over the last month.  DONATE LIFE!

So, for 2012, keeping in mind what successes I did have in 2011, here are some goals.  I hesitate to call them resolutions, really only because I don’t like to conform.

– Instead of trying a 365 project that will inevitably end up having lots of pictures of my bedside table taken with my iPhone because I had forgotten by the end of the day, try to be more focused in my photography.  Create a series or study that is focused – quality over quantity.

– Continue to build on the work I’ve done this year – more portraits, more weddings, more video.

– Write an academic paper in my field drawing upon the emergencies with which I dealt in March 2011.

– Be there, as in be present, in everything I do.  Have a more focused attitude at work, at play, with this blog, with the people and dogs I love.  Mindfulness!

– Focus on my health.  It’s pretty tough to replace an organ, so I’d prefer never to have to.

– Focus on my brain – feed it good things, like books, bridge, and water.

It looks like I have a lot of focusing to do in 2012.  Maybe I’ll finally finish those damn bar chairs, too.

Living In Sin by Adrienne Rich

This is one of my favorite poems.  I bought a collection of Sylvia Plath poetry in a used bookstore one summer, and this poem had been torn out of another book, folded, and stuck in the Plath book.

Living In Sin by Adrienne Rich

She had thought the studio would keep itself —
No dust upon the furniture of love.
Half heresy, to wish the taps less vocal,
The panes relieved of grime.  A plate of pears,
A piano with a Persian shawl, a cat
Stalking the picturesque, amusing mouse
Had been her vision when he pleaded “Come.”
Not that, at five, each separate stair would writhe
Under the milkman’s tramp; that morning light
So coldly would delineate the scraps
Of last night’s cheese and blank, sepulchral bottles;
That on the kitchen shelf amoong the saucers
A pair of beetle eyes would fix her own —
Envoy from some black village in the moldings. . . .
Meanwhile, her night’s companion, with a yawn,
Sounded a dozen notes upon the keyboard,
Declared it out of tune, inspected, whistling,
A twelve hours’ beard, went out for cigarettes,
While she, contending with a woman’s demons,
Pulled back the sheets and made the bed and found
A fallen towel to dust the tabletop,
And wondered how it was a man could wake
From night to day and take the day for granted.
By evening she was back in love again,
Though not so wholly but throughout the night
She woke sometimes to feel the daylight coming
Like a relentless milkman up the stairs.

Update: Ms. Rich died on Tuesday, March 27, 2012.  A nice article on her life is located here.