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Jenny's Jottings

a few things on my mind

Remembering Mrs. Scott
At table with computer, writing
I've been thinking a lot about school lately, particularly math. I'm sure a big part of that is that I work at Staples, an office supply store, where the back to school season is almost like Black (Green) Friday (the day after Thanksgiving, when the holiday shopping season officially begins), except that it is nearly that busy spread out over weeks. I do not remember school supply buying being such a big deal when I was in school. I mean I always loved getting new pens and pencils and especially fresh notebooks with all those empty pages. We never spent that much on stuff, and reused what we could from year to year (or even from generation to generation -- I used some of my mom's old binders). Molly (who is working at least temporarily at Staples, too) and I have seen so many kids (well, okay, mostly their parents) shelling out the bucks for graphing calculators, the TI-84s. When I was in school (I'm already starting to feel old when I say that phrase -- I graduated high school in 1993, only 16 years ago!), we didn't need or use graphing calculators until Calculus. Back then, it was the TI-81, and the school actually provided the calculators for the students in that class. Most of us (our parents) wouldn't have had the $80-$100+ plus that the TI-81s cost back in 1992-1993, nor enjoyed having to drive at least an hour to find a place that sold them. (My family especially, since we were getting by with free school lunches and forever hand-me-downs!) I remember the 6-8 of us who braved calculus my senior year, sitting in Mrs. Scott's classroom or working out problems together on the the board. I'm not sure I could remember the calculus we learned then, but I remember studying it.

This memory brings me to the other main reason I've been thinking about school and math. I found out this week that my high school math teacher, Mrs. Rochelle Scott, died on August 24th. I've been reading over her obituary and the memories others have shared on her tribute page. It has brought back many memories of Mrs. Scott.

-- I took a lot classes from Mrs. Scott, including algebra II, pre-calculus, and calculus, basic and advanced computer programing (We only used BASIC on Apple IIes. The school got its first Macs at the end of the year I graduated. Mrs. Scott used to tell us about the first computer classes she taught with the big boxes. The students would make their punch cards and once a week drive to to a school about an hour away to run their punch cards through a computer. If there were any mistakes, it was another week before they could try again.)

-- Mrs. Scott was also the newspaper adviser. I was the editor or co-editor of the school newspaper for 3-4 years. We spent lots of time before and after school typing, cutting and pasting (literally) the newspaper together. She would even drive me to school or home later, if we needed to work on the paper. I remember riding along in her zippy, sporty red car (weren't there a few tickets for speeding/not wearing a seat belt in her history :) ?) along those 11 miles from Burt to Sentral School, a school out in the middle of a cornfield (except for the years it was in the middle of a bean field). I was incredible naive, and her careful eye kept me from printing coded innuendos the columnists tried to sneak into their articles.

-- Mrs. Scott made math class so much fun, but we learned so much. She stuck with us and helped us all get the concepts, spending so many extra hours with students. She was always lively and energetic, with a spark in her eyes. Her enthusiasm was contagious! She was also a live wire, a fire brand -- I learned a lot of colorful expressions from her. After tests, we would work on puzzles from Puzzle magazine.

-- Many people have talked about how Mrs. Scott would work with students got the concepts, spending countless hours with us. I think this is fantastic of her. We went to a school where the teachers really strove to leave no student behind. Memorably I remember spending two months studying adverbs in English class, as Mr. Hansen tried to help everyone grasp the usage of adverbs. Our small school had the opportunity to help each student learn the things they needed.

-- Mrs. Scott and her family were also members of the same church we were members of. She sang alto in the church choir.

Wow, so many memories! I'm sure so many more will continue to come to me, but I just wanted to share a bit about Rochelle Scott, who touched my life and lives of so many students over the years. I can't believe she's gone already, but she lived a full life.

(This entry was largely written in my head at work as I sat for hours removing the staples from packets, adding a page, and re-stapling the packets -- over 700 times. Don't ask!)

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25 Random Things
At table with computer, writing
Since I haven't posted here in so long (Sorry :( -- I wish I would), I thought I'd post this list of 25 random things I wrote over on Facebook.

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you.

1. I’ve been reading these “Random Things” postings with interest. I’ve been both eagerly anticipating and dreading getting tagged. I can be very random :)

2. I have two middle names: Kirsten Lael. The story is that I was going to be an only child, so my parents wanted to use lots of names. I do have two younger siblings now. If I had been a boy, they would have named me James Christopher Ian and called me Jamie.

3. Names and words and language and languages are among the things that fascinate me most. I grew up playing word games and talking about words in my family. I majored in languages and linguistics in college. I have a Master’s in linguistics and a Master's from seminary where I focused on biblical languages (Hebrew and Greek). I want to go on to do a doctoral degree that focuses on language in some way :)

4. I live in a great townhouse apartment right by the Olentangy River. The windows in the bedroom and the living room look out on the river, so I have lots of opportunity to watch the wildlife and the seasons change. Across the river is a steep wooded embankment, so the view is fairly perfect. We have some bird feeders on our patio which help to bring the wildlife to us.

5. I am a double PK (preacher’s/pastor’s kid), even though my parents weren’t clergy at the same time. The fact that my parents were in the ministry is part of how I ended up in seminary, but it is also why I would have never considered ministry except for God’s calling me and pushing me.

6. I was extremely shy and quiet in school. It has taken me a long time to be less shy with people and less inhibited. I still like to think things out before I say anything serious, but I also can be quite wacky and uninhibited with people who know me well. I can speak with strangers, esp. since it is part of my job, but I do still have a quiet voice.

7. Because my parents were in the ministry (and itinerant United Methodists), we moved around a bit while I was growing up. I was born in Washington state, but we lived on the other side of the Columbia River in Ranier, OR. We also lived in Sutherlin, OR; Webster and Black Earth, WI; Evanston, IL; Burt, Pleasantville, Rockford, and Osceola, IA. I went to college in Mt. Vernon, IA, and grad school in Iowa City, IA, before I moved to Delaware, OH, for seminary.

8. My parents divorced when I was 12 (the divorce was finalized on my 12th birthday). Growing up I never thought divorce would happen to my family, but it has been a reality for almost 22 years now.

9. My mom and I have enjoyed a very close relationship for a long time. I do wish I had a closer relationship with my dad. I don’t want to regret all these things I’m missing out on.

10. In high school I had over 100 pen pals from around the world. When I went to college, I no longer had enough time to keep up with them, so I lost contact with them all. It still makes me sad :( (If I could find my address book, I’d try to find some of them again.)

11. I’ve always wanted to grow up to be a writer, but I seem to lack the discipline to do the writing I need to do. When I was in elementary school, I received an award for being the best writer, and the principal, Mr. Plath, said he hoped he’d read one of my books someday.

12. I seem to have a good memory for some details of my past.

13. My two favorite applications on Facebook are Live Gifts and Hatchlings. And, yes, I do spend way too much time on Facebook!

14. In high school I had a teacher who said I was too idealistic. That has really stuck with me. I’ve thought that idealism is a very positive thing, and I have come to terms with what it means to be too idealistic. Thanks, Mr. Garman.

15. My high school English teacher taught us mostly grammar (as opposed to writing and literature). It may have been dull at times (esp. spending a month on adverbs one year), but it has helped me to be a better writer and has been a great foundation for learning languages other than English. Thanks, Mr. Hansen!

16. I’ve studied French, Spanish, German, Latin, classical Greek, Hebrew, biblical Greek, a smattering of other Greek dialects, and a tiny bit of Japanese. I am only fluent in English.

17. For a while, my goal was to work with endangered languages, like Native American/First Nations languages. Endangered languages are those that are in danger of being lost because fewer and fewer people use them anymore. For many of these languages a few elders might speak the language but the children aren’t learning or using the language at all. I studied linguistics with this in mind. Unfortunately I got burned out in grad school, but I am still excited by languages and linguistics.

18. I was so clueless in high school. I was an academic nerd who was into reading. I was the newspaper editor, but I didn’t really know what was going on with my classmates. I wasn’t too strongly connected with them. Part of it was probably that I was a PK and I didn’t drive or really care about going out, but mostly I was just naive. I didn’t hang out with people very much and I wasn’t invited to “those” parties, so I didn’t know what was really going on. But I had a happy, innocent childhood ;)

19. I had one boyfriend in high school, if you can call going to the Homecoming Dance together and talking some on the phone having a boyfriend. He was someone new to school who was made fun of by the other kids (he had curly hair, so they called him Cornelius). I have often tried to connect to people who are outside the action or who are quieter than me, so we started talking and getting to know each other. He moved away about two weeks after he had moved in, so that was the end of that.

20. I have synesthesia. It is a condition in which input to one sense is perceived by additional senses as well. For example, freezer burn smells green to me, while sour milk smells pink. Some sounds have taste and color to me. (See http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/syne.html for more information on synesthesia). Some people see synesthesia as a liability, but I see it as an advantage, esp. creatively. I didn’t realize that the letters and numbers didn’t have colors and personalities for everyone. I didn’t know that time (weeks, months, years) didn’t have shapes for everyone. One of my best friends in the world Dannye was studying synesthesia as part of her doctoral program in neuroscience. She was the one who made me aware that not everyone perceived things the way I did and that there was a name for what I experienced. I think synesthesia is cool!

21. My house is filled with books. A place just doesn’t feel homelike without walls lined with overflowing shelves. My parents are both readers and instilled a love of reading in us very early on. I grew up surrounded with books, so I feel comforted by their presence. I haven’t by any stretch read all the books I have, but it is good to know that they are here when I do want to read them. When we drove to Iowa this past summer, we filled the car up with another load of books that I had been storing in Iowa City, but we haven’t found a place for them all yet in the apartment. I almost always have more books than reasonably fit in my living space :) I love having books at home, but I also love libraries!

22. I’ve been out of the United States twice, both times to Canada. When I was studying in Grand Forks, ND, one summer with the Summer Institute of Linguistics, my friend April took a few of us to her home on Lake of the Woods, Ontario for the 4th of July weekend. In October 2007, Molly and I took a camping trip around Lake Erie, through Niagara Falls, around in Ontario (with trips to the African Lion Safari, Lake Ontario, and Lake Huron), and back down through Detroit. I’d love to travel more and see so many parts of the world, but I am also a huge homebody and miss my cats terribly when I am not home.

23. We currently have three cats, Sparky, Michela, and Zephyr. We had a gerbil, Rosie, up until a few days before Christmas. I almost always had cats growing up, though we also had one dog, a lhasa apso named Olie, as well as a few hamsters and gerbils and fish. Some of the cats we had (as well as some influential neighborhood cats) include Nicky and Tasha (Nicholi and Natasha), Orange Julius, Pooky, Mariah, Jenny Baldren, Annie Katrina, Lady Sassafras (Sassy), Fridley, Avagadro Phogg, Ghengis Khat (my brother’s Scottish Fold), Maya Sarahcat (my sister’s first cat), Sara Lee (her second cat), Emma, Lady Jane Grey and her kittens, Madd Maxx (and I’m sure I’ve forgotten some). When I lived in Iowa City, my apartment didn’t allow pets, but my neighbor had a cat named Scout, who would come visit from time to time.

24. I also love tigers and other big cats. One of the nicknames my parents gave me as a child was Lael Lion.

25. I can be terribly longwinded in writing (and I do talk a lot to some people). This surprises the people who know me as a quiet and not very talkative person. However, this list has shown me rambling on and on about random things :)

Also, it was really hard to choose just 25 of you that I want to know more about, so feel free to try it out, even if I didn't tag you :) And you don't have to go on and on like I did either, unless you want to :)

So behind
oak tree
I know it has been forever since I posted. Since graduation I've been trying to find a job, and I haven't yet. As the bank account sinks, I get more and more depressed. It is hard to be motivated.

Other than needing a job and income, our summer has gone fairly well. We went to Iowa for the 4th of July, because my family was having a family reunion and an early 80th birthday open house for my grandma. It was good to see so much of the family and to introduce Molly (also nerve wracking in anticipation). I have pictures, which I will post one of these days. We stopped in Iowa City and had time to visit with a few friends (Dannye & family, Kris & John, etc.) and pick up the books I'd been storing there. Some of those are now at my mom's house, but the rest are piled in our living/dining room while we try to figure out where to put them. I am also slowly adding them to LibraryThing. Iowa City (as well as much of Iowa) was just beginning clean up after the flood waters had gone down. It was hard to see the damage. We also drove through my old neighborhood, which is recovering from a tornado a few years ago. That was hard, too. I took Molly up to Mt. Vernon and showed her Cornell College, my alma mater. I still haven't been able to show her the University of Iowa library where I worked, because this visit it was still closed from the flooding. It was a good trip, despite high gas prices.

I am spending most of my online time on facebook these days. I know, I know. . .
I spend most of that time on one application, Live Gifts. It is a simple one: adopt a picture of an animal, feed and care for it so it doesn't die. You can mingle your pets with other peoples and adopt the starving pets of others, etc. Apparently it is addictive :p I've met some neat people thought. Plus facebook has a bunch of word games I like playing.

I'm doing some reading for fun, too. That is nice. And supposedly looking at PhD programs, but it is hard to be motivated about that when I don't have a job right now. I've been trying for a library job. I have applications in all over the place, and I've had a couple of interviews. This week I interviewed for a library job at a fancy downtown Columbus law firm. Very nice. I hope to hear soon.

I'll try to update here more often, but I offer no guarantees :) I hope you all are hanging in there, too.

Update and Graduation Announcement!
At table with computer, writing
Dear Friends,

I am sorry I haven't been in touch lately, but I'd like to share an update with you now.

We've kept busy this year. Our schedule has been very different, since Molly has been doing her field education at an inner-city church in Cleveland, commuting 2-hours one way, at least twice a week, since June. We've both also been continuing our work-study jobs at the MTSO library. This year I've been studying Biblical Greek. In the fall I took classes on the book of Genesis and on women in the New Testament world. This spring I've had an independent study looking at some themes in some of the earliest Gospel writings (Q, Thomas, and Mark).

The big new is that we are graduating on May 17th! I'm finishing my Master's of Theological Studies (MTS), while Molly is finishing her Master's of Divinity (MDiv). We will be staying here for another year while Molly finishes her second degree, a Master's of Counseling Ministries (MACM). She will be doing clinical pastoral education (CPE) as a chaplain in a hospital setting, followed by a practicum in the same setting. I am hoping to find a good job here (full time, with insurance, please!) while I check out PhD programs. I hope to be able to begin doctoral studies in the Fall of 2009. With this degree I would like to be able to teach biblical languages (among other things), perhaps in a seminary setting.

I hope to be able to keep you updated. Please feel free to pass my update on to other friends who are interested. I hope to hear how you are doing as well :)

Thank you for your prayers and support during my seminary journey.


Long gone, not back yet
spinning earth
I'm trying to finish my last semester of seminary. I graduate on May 17th. I just haven't been on much and probably won't be until after I finish my work. We'll see. I hope to post an update. I miss reading about all of you.

Just a few haiku
cat with pencils
Haiku2 for jennywren129
always trying to
find one nice tree y somewhat
secluded campsite
Created by Grahame

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me into a room
and which i need to see the
fish this morning i
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the semester the
end of the semester and
the human spirit
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idiots who run our
apartment complex cut down
this tree the worst part
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somethings from the quote files
cat with pencils
A word after a word after a word is power. -Margaret Atwood, poet and novelist (b. 1939)

When I give people food, they call me a saint. When I ask why there is no food, they call me a communist. Dom Helder Câmara, archbishop of Recife, Brazil

If I am hungry, that is a physical problem; if my neighbor is hungry, that is a spiritual problem. Nicolai Berdyaev

"I made a peculiar prayer. It's a prayer that sometimes I say, one that is perhaps self-serving, but because I believe that God is not limited by time and space as we are, I believe perhaps he can influence the past even though it has already happened. So sometimes when I'm alone, especially at night, in the dark, and I begin to dwell on the suffering that people have probably experienced before their deaths, I ask God to retroactively relieve their pain, to be with them in body and mind, to numb their senses, to cool whatever flame licked at their eyes in their final moments." James Lee Burke

"Being religious means asking passionately the question of the meaning of our existence and being willing to receive answers, even if the answers hurt." Paul Tillich

"Here is my advice to Christians who want to influence people like me: be open to reaching out to people who disagree with you, instead of forcing us to adopt your beliefs in order to win your approval." - Hemant Mehta, atheist author of `I Sold My Soul on eBay'

"When I was a delegate at the 1975 Assembly of the World Council of Churches I found over and over again that it was when we said what we really meant, expressing ourselves and our viewpoints most clearly, that real fellowship and trust came about — not when we hid the light of truth under a bushel of tolerance. - Anglican theologian N.T. Wright.

"When faith simplifies things that need to remain complex instead of giving us strength to live with complexity, when it gives answers where none exist, instead of helping us appreciate the sacredness of living with questions, when it offers certainty when there needs to be doubt, and when it tells us that we have arrived when we should still be searching - then there is a problem with that faith." - Rabbi Brad Hirschfield, author of the new book "You Don't Have to be Be Wrong for Me to Be Right."

"One of the most sublime experiences we can ever have is to wake up feeling healthy after we have been sick." - Rabbi Harold Kushner

"You cannot avoid paradise. You can only avoid seeing it." - Charlotte Joko Beck, Zen teacher and author.

"If you ever expect to get a reservation in heaven, you will have to have a letter of recommendation from the poor.” - James Forbes, former pastor of Riverside Church in New York City.

"This is the most beautiful place on earth. There are many such places. Every man, every woman, carries in heart and mind the image of the ideal place, the right place, the one true home, known or unknown, actual or visionary. A houseboat in Kashmir, a view down Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, a gray gothic farmhouse two stories high at the end of a red dog road in the Allegheny Mountains, a cabin on the shore of a blue lake in spruce and fir country, a greasy alley near the Hoboken waterfront, or even, possibly, for those of a less demanding sensibility, the world to be seen from a comfortable apartment high in the tender, velvety smog of Manhattan, Chicago, Paris, Tokyo, Rio or Rome — there's no limit to the human capacity for the homing sentiment." - From the beginning of Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

"Any idiot can face a crisis; it is this day-to-day living that wears you out." -- Anton Chekov

"I’ve always been a bit more comfortable with my subconscious and not so comfortable when I think about things too much. It’s like when I doodle. That’s when I know it means something to me on some weird level, as opposed to sitting down with the idea of drawing a skeleton. Say I’m on the phone, just sitting around, doodling. I’ll look at what I’ve done and think, Oh, that’s a strange character. Then I’ll notice myself doing it over and over. Those are the ones that have the most power for me, because they’re coming from within." -- Tim Burton, from What I've Learned (Esquire, Jan. 2008).

A book is a gift. No matter how poorly written it is, or if we don’t like it—we think it’s simplistic or if we find it to be odious—someone did spend time working on this. Someone did take a part of their lives to make this happen. Even in the most kind of nonsense, banal books there is a note of grace in it…As a kid, I was just reading. And I never lost that sense that sometimes there are terrible books which for me produce really pleasing results in my mind and in my heart. And sometimes there are incredibly brilliant books that don’t do any of that. And I think I had to have a much more generous sense of what reading means and what it can do. Junot Díaz

"Humanity's always been uncomfortable with zero and the void. The ancient Greeks declared them unnatural and unreal. Theologians argued that God's first act was to banish the void by the act of creating the universe ex nihilo, and Middle-Ages thinkers tried to ban zero and the other Arabic 'ciphers.' But the emptiness is all around us — most of the universe is void. Even as we huddle around our hearths and invent stories to convince ourselves that the cosmos is warm and full and inviting, nothingness stares back at us with empty eye sockets." --Charles Seife, author of Zero: The Biography Of A Dangerous Idea

"An original writer is not one who imitates no one, but whom no one can imitate." --Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand

“There are very few ideas worth talking about. Those ideas are good for all times, but unless a poet has a new way of dealing with those ideas, they become commonplace. And new insights, new connections, are inseparable from their language, which is why a paraphrase of a poem always sounds banal.” - Lisel Mueller

What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? Mahatma Gandhi

Society is composed of two great classes: those who have more dinners than
appetite, and those who have more appetite than dinners. Sebastien-Roch-Nicolas de Chamfort, writer (1741-1794)

"Believe that the Universe holds a whole lot for you, and it will. Believe it holds very little, and disappointment will be your constant companion." - Barbara Berg

In the common words we use every day, souls of past races, the thoughts and feelings of individual men stand around us, not dead, but frozen into their attitudes like the couriers in the garden of the Sleeping Beauty. Owen Barfield, author (1898-1997)

At table with computer, writing
Someday, I will finish uploading the photos from our October trip to Canada -- I promise! Today I posted a few more snow pictures of the snow and Henrietta, our snow woman.

One of my pictures of Niagara Falls was chosen to be in the Schmap Niagara Falls Guide! I hope you'll check it out.

Niagara Parks Commission

I also found this link full of photos of beautiful libraries at Curious Expeditions. From the post:

"Everyone has some kind of place that makes them feel transported to a magical realm. For some people it’s castles with their noble history and crumbling towers. For others it’s abandoned factories, ivy choked, a sense of foreboding around every corner. For us here at Curious Expeditions, there has always been something about libraries. Row after row, shelf after shelf, there is nothing more magical than a beautiful old library."

Our snow dragon
spinning earth

Our snow dragon
Originally uploaded by JennyWren129
Since we are having a blizzard and 15+ inches of snow, Molly decided we should build a snow person, which ended up being this snow dragon. For a while it looked like Zephyr, but it morphed into this lovely dragon.

It has nostrils of sunflower seeds, wings of dried tomato fronds, and eyes and horns of dried tomato leaves. (Its secret heart is a bird feather.)

We went out to feed the many birds who have been around this winter. Of course the feeders were not full when the blizzard hit, and the seed we bought this week is still in the trunk of Molly's car (under all that snow!).

We are enjoying our snow day, especially since we didn't have to go anywhere today (Level 3 snow emergency). Molly isn't going to Cleveland tomorrow either. They will have at least this much snow.

As I am writing this, it is 5:45, and the snow has finally stopped and it looks like the sun is coming out. This was the blizzard of 2008.

(oh, and click the picture to see the rest of the pictures I took today.)

Bits and Pieces from the Collection
At table with computer, writing
"Writing fiction has developed in me an abiding respect for the unknown in a human lifetime and a sense of where to look for the threads, how to follow, how to connect, find in the thick of the tangle what clear line persists." --Eudora Welty

"A first sentence must deliver everything, always at once. The writing must satisfy, must be like spoonfuls of the most delicious soup. Every scoop has the full taste of the whole and the bowl is full and you want your way to the bottom." --Robert Olmstead

Every man feels instinctively that all the beautiful sentiments in the world weigh less than a single lovely action. -James Russell Lowell, poet, editor, and diplomat (1819-1891)

"I have never written a book that was not born out of a question I needed to answer for myself." --May Sarton

"Convince yourself that a rejection of your work is not a rejection of you. If they reject something, I bounce something right back. If I'd used similar methods in college, I'd have had a lot more dates." --Ron Goulart

"For several days after my first book was published, I carried it about in my pocket and took surreptitious peeps at it to make sure the ink had not faded." --Sir James M. Barrie

"You've got to love libraries. You've got to love books. You've got to love poetry. You've got to love everything about literature. Then, you can pick the one thing you love most and write about it." --Ray Bradbury

"Horror fiction is not merely creating unease or suspense, nor is it simply letting emotions both light and dark bleed all over the page. It should convey the genuine sense of tragedy that hangs over all our lives; it should scare the reader, yes, of course, no arguments, but there has to be a sense and threat of genuine loss connected to that fear. True horror should leave you wrung out, physically and emotionally. The best of it can even change you, if you'll let it. It's the only form of storytelling that allows you to reach in and affect the reader on a private, primal level -- the only one that ultimately counts." --Gary Braunbeck

"Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand." --George Orwell

"It is important to tell a good story, but it's critical to have memorable characters." --Janet Evanovich

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' Vanity asks the question, 'Is it popular?' But, conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one's conscience tells one that it is right. -Martin Luther King, Jr.

Language is the apparel in which your thoughts parade in public. Never clothe them in vulgar and shoddy attire. -George W. Crane

A belief which leaves no place for doubt is not a belief; it is a superstition. -Jose Bergamin, author (1895-1983)

A good listener helps us overhear ourselves. - Yahia Lababidi, author (b. 1973)

If you wish to be loved, show more of your faults than your virtues. Edward Bulwer-Lytton, author (1803-1873)

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day; I'd rather one should walk with me than merely tell the way. -Edgar Guest, poet (1881-1959)

Evil is like a shadow - it has no real substance of its own, it is simply a lack of light. You cannot cause a shadow to disappear by trying to fight it, stamp on it, by railing against it, or any other form of emotional or physical resistance. In order to cause a shadow to disappear, you must shine light on it. -Shakti Gawain, teacher and author (b. 1948)

One must be drenched in words, literally soaked in them, to have the right ones form themselves into the proper patterns at the right moment. -Hart Crane, poet (1899-1932)

Crown: A headgear that makes the head superfluous. -Gabriel Laub, author (1928-1998)

The living language is like a cow-path: it is the creation of the cows themselves, who, having created it, follow it or depart from it according to their whims or their needs. From daily use, the path undergoes change. A cow is under no obligation to stay. -E.B. White, writer (1899-1985)

It is not life and wealth and power that enslave men, but the cleaving to life and wealth and power. -Buddha (c. 563-483 BCE)

If your morals make you dreary, depend on it, they are wrong. -Robert Louis Stevenson, novelist, essayist, and poet (1850-1894)

Life consists in what a man is thinking of all day. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

I need someone to protect me from all the measures they take in order to protect me. -Banksy, street artist (b. 1974)

What the mind doesn't understand, it worships or fears. -Alice Walker, author (b. 1944)

Often the accurate answer to a usage question begins, "It depends." And what it depends on most often is where you are, who you are, who your listeners or readers are, and what your purpose in speaking or writing is. -Kenneth G. Wilson, usage writer (b. 1923)

"Some words are standard, but with a twist; some are liberated from patriarchal prejudice and restored to archaic meanings; some are new and sharp as an ungrateful crone, and a feast for (Mary) Daly familiars.
A sample:
'Abominable snowmen of androcratic academia: freezers and packagers
of learning; chilling throng of frigid fellows, specialists in
verbigeration and refrigeration of knowledge.'"
Audrey DeLaMartre; Bible Speaks to Fill Readers With 'Holy Chutzpah', The Star Tribune (Minneapolis); Nov 1, 1987.

The automobile has not merely taken over the street, it has dissolved the living tissue of the city. Its appetite for space is absolutely insatiable; moving and parked, it devours urban land, leaving the buildings as mere islands of habitable space in a sea of dangerous and ugly traffic. -James Marston Fitch, historic preservationist (1909-2000)

Our country, right or wrong. When right, to be kept right; when wrong, to be put right. -Carl Schurz, revolutionary, statesman and reformer (1829-1906)

Imagine a world in which generations of human beings come to believe that certain films were made by God or that specific software was coded by him. Imagine a future in which millions of our descendants murder each other over rival interpretations of Star Wars or Windows 98. Could anything -- anything -- be more ridiculous? And yet, this would be no more ridiculous than the world we are living in. -Sam Harris, author (1967- )

A mature person is one who does not think only in absolutes, who is able to be objective even when deeply stirred emotionally, who has learned that there is both good and bad in all people and in all things, and who walks humbly and deals charitably with the circumstances of life, knowing that in this world no one is all knowing and therefore all of us need both love and charity. -Eleanor Roosevelt, diplomat and writer (1884-1962)

Knowledge is soon changed, then lost in the mist, an echo half-heard. Gene Wolfe

love builds up the broken wall
and straigtens the crooked path.
love keeps the stars in the firmament
and imposes rhythm on the ocean tides
each of us is created of it
and i suspect
each of us was created for it
-- Maya Angelou

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough. Rabindranath Tagore

We are shaped and fashioned by what we love. Goethe

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they're still beautiful. Alice Walker

The Utah deserts and plateaus and canyons are not a country of big returns, but a country of spiritual healing, incomparable for contemplation, meditation, solitude, quiet, awe, peace of mind and body. We were born of wilderness, and we respond to it more than we sometimes realize. We depend upon it increasingly for relief from the termite life we have created. Factories, power plants, resorts, we can make anywhere. Wilderness, once we have given it up, is beyond our reconstruction. Wallace Stegner, Wilderness at the Edge, 1990

Don't compromise yourself. You are all you've got. Janis Joplin

The wilderness and the idea of wilderness is one of the permanent homes of the human spirit. Joseph Wood Krutch