For Jill, with love.
I am a quote collector. I have books of quotes. I have one-liners scribbled in notebooks. I have words of wisdom tacked up on my bulletin board in my bedroom. I read something that resonates and I will write it out on a 3×5 card and use it for a bookmark. I have a few favorite quotes scrawled on yellow sticky notes stuck to my computer at work. Music frequently inspires me, but I’m not one to nod my head mindlessly to a good beat. I need the lyrics to speak to me. I like words. I like positivity. Words can be a destructive weapon, or they can be a powerful healer. I try with all my might to use my words carefully and in love.
Jill, a kindred reader of my music blog, Music is My First Language, noticed my fondness for quotes. She asked me to create a collection of quotes and put them in one post. This has been a daunting task. As I mentioned, I’m a quote collector. How do I whittle these beloved phrases down to a select few? How do I compile them in such a manner that they are cohesive and enjoyable to read? It’s also quite time consuming. Once I start reading through them, I just keep reading — old journal entries, old blog posts, favorite books of poems, and so on.
The following quotes have been longtime favorites. When I’m feeling burnt out on the daily grind, or when I’m frustrated with the state of the world, these words remind me that there are kindred spirits everywhere. They are the pick-me-ups when I need a fresh perspective.
Do everything. Love as much as you can. It may hurt but it helps us grow. Give all you have…you may be poor but you will be content. Always forgive….your heart can not afford not to. Teach what you know and learn what you don’t. Stay open to all. — anon
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy. ― Max Ehrmann
On a day when the wind is perfect, the sail just needs to open and the world is full of beauty. Today is such a day. — Rumi
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return. — Leonardo da Vinci
When you get those rare moments of clarity, those flashes when the universe makes sense, you try desperately to hold onto them. They are the life boats for the darker times when the vastness of it all, the incomprehensible nature of life is completely elusive. So the question becomes, or should’ve been all along: What would you do if you knew you only had one day or one week or one month to live? What life boat would you grab onto? What secret would you tell? What band would you see? What person would you declare your love to? What wish would you fulfill? What exotic locale would you fly to for coffee? What book would you write? — One Week [movie]
And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. ― Roald Dahl
I am an excitable person who only understands life lyrically, musically, in whom feelings are much stronger as reason. I am so thirsty for the marvelous that only the marvelous has power over me. Anything I can not transform into something marvelous, I let go. Reality doesn’t impress me. I only believe in intoxication, in ecstasy, and when ordinary life shackles me, I escape, one way or another. No more walls. — Anaïs Nin
I imagine that yes is the only living thing. — e.e cummings
Funny how we think of romance as always involving two, when the romance of solitude can be ever so much more delicious and intense. — Tom Robbins
We can never be born enough. ― e.e. cummings
Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle. ― Plato
With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy? — Oscar Wilde
There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people. — Vincent van Gogh
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. — Steve Jobs
That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong. ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions. ― Albert Einstein
To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance. ― Oscar Wilde
Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself. — Henry Miller
Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it. ― Rumi
Be curious, not judgmental. ― Walt Whitman
It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are. ― e.e. cummings
Be yourself; everyone else is already taken. ― Oscar Wilde
The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware. ― Henry Miller
One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and, if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words. — Goethe
The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails. — William Arthur Ward
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. — Joseph Campbell
Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. — Goethe
What’s the world’s greatest lie?… It’s this: that at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what’s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. ― Paulo Coelho
Unbeing dead isn’t being alive. ― e.e. cummings
Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning. ― Albert Einstein
To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all. — Oscar Wilde
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own. ― Paulo Coelho
I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears, or what they think.
You see things; you say, ‘Why?’ But I dream things that never were; and I say ‘Why not?’ ― George Bernard Shaw
Walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. Let their spirit ignite a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it.
— Wilferd Peterson
Every dreamer knows that it is entirely possible to be homesick for a place you’ve never been to, perhaps more homesick than for familiar ground. ― Judith Thurman
Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country. ― Anaïs Nin
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake up in the day to find it was vanity, but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.
― T.E. Lawrence
But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams. — W.B Yeats
Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. ― Oscar Wilde
It was always the becoming he dreamed of, never the being. ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams. Wandering by lone sea-breakers, and sitting by desolate streams. World-losers and world-forsakers, on whom the pale moon gleams.. Yet we are the movers and shakers Of the world for ever, it seems. ― Arthur O’Shaughnessy
There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are so enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic. ― Diane Setterfield
A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls. ― Walt Whitman
Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something. – Plato
If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing, then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it. ― Anaïs Nin
WIT/ WHIMSY/ WISDOM
He has all the virtues I dislike and none of the vices I admire. — Sir Winston Churchill
I am only responsible for my own heart, you offered yours up for the smashing my darling. Only a fool would give out such a vital organ. ― Anaïs Nin
We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light. ― Plato
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you. ― Walt Whitman
We dance for laughter, we dance for tears, we dance for madness, we dance for fears, we dance for hopes, we dance for screams, we are the dancers, we create the dreams. ― Albert Einstein
Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings. ― Anaïs Nin
People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die. ― Plato
A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires. ― Paulo Coelho
It was only a sunny smile, and little it cost in the giving, but like morning light it scattered the night and made the day worth living. ― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Love is the voice under all silences, the hope which has no opposite in fear; the strength so strong mere force is feebleness: the truth more first than sun, more last than star.
― e.e. cummings
Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.
— Hunter S. Thompson
I was born with music inside of me. Music was one of my parts. Like my ribs, my kidneys, my liver, my heart. Like my blood. It was a force already within me when I arrived at the scene. It was a necessity for me — like food or water. — Ray Charles
Music is your own experience, your thoughts, your wisdom. If you don’t live it, it won’t come out of your horn. — Charlie Parker
Music melts all the separate parts of our bodies together. — Anais Nin
If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music. ― Albert Einstein
I think I should have no other mortal wants, if I could always have plenty of music. It seems to infuse strength into my limbs and ideas into my brain. Life seems to go on without effort, when I am filled with music. — George Eliot
This will likely never be finished. I’ll no doubt be rummaging through my desk and find a piece of paper with some beautiful wisdom scrawled on it, and I will return to these pages to slip it in. But this is a start.