“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
Photo via Wikimedia Commons.
“If something inside of you is real, we will probably find it interesting, and it will probably be universal. So you must risk placing real emotion at the center of your work. Write straight into the emotional center of things. Write toward vulnerability. Risk being unliked. Tell the truth as you understand it. If you’re a writer you have a moral obligation to do this. And it is a revolutionary act—truth is always subversive.”
― Anne Lamott,
(Photo via pixabay.com)
Sambro Lighthouse (Halifax, Nova Scotia)
“Lighthouses are endlessly suggestive signifiers of both human isolation and our ultimate connectedness to each other. ”
My grandfather was a lighthouse keeper… almost a century ago and on the other side of the ocean… far, far away. I wonder what he thought, all by himself – day after day – in the middle of an endless sea.
Twelve years ago, my mother and her sister (my aunt) died within two months of each other. My mother was 79, my Aunt, 86. According to their express instructions, they wanted to be cremated and requested that I scatter their ashes in the open sea – so that they would go back home to Europe. It was an honour and a privilege to fulfill their wishes. One of the most peaceful and serene moments in my life was when I leaned across the fishing boat, said a prayer and – one-by-one – scattered each beloved woman’s ashes. I said my goodbyes and wished them a safe journey. Despite the moody sky and the very (very) rocky waves, time stood still. I knew, in my heart, that the steady gaze of the lighthouse would guide them home.
“I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.”
“Animals are divine messengers of miracles that go far beyond emotional comfort and practical assistance. Talk to those who have been transported to a heavenly place by the gentle purring of a kitten or whose broken hearts, burdened by worry and pain, have been mended by a dog licking their hand. They will tell you that animals connect them with the River of Life in ways poets imagine and mystics contemplate. They will tell you that their deepest and most sincere relationships with animals are spiritual partnerships.”
“I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior.”
― Hippolyte Taine (French critic and historian)
“I believe cats to be spirits come to earth. A cat, I am sure, could walk on a cloud without coming through.”
— Jules Verne (French novelist, poet and playwright)
“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.”
― Jean Cocteau (French writer, artist and filmmaker)
“A cat has absolute emotional honesty: human beings, for one reason or another, may hide their feelings, but a cat does not.”
― Ernest Hemingway (American novelist)
“I have lived with several Zen masters — all of them cats.”
― Eckhart Tolle,
“If you want to write, keep cats.”
— Aldous Huxley (English author and screenwriter)
All photos (except the cat with the book) are copyrighted by Heather Joan Marinos and they may not be used or reproduced
© Copyright 2017 Heather Joan Marinos. All rights reserved.
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfil themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farm boy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.”
― Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter
“The test of democracy is freedom of criticism.” – David Ben-Gurion
And lest we forget:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
– First Amendment, United States Constitution
The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees the right to speak openly – without government restraint. It guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly and the right to petition.
FREEDOM OF RELIGION: It forbids Congress from promoting one religion over another and from restricting an individual’s religious practices. Regardless of the religion. Any and all religion.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: It prohibits Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. Censorship is therefore prohibited.
FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY: It prohibits Congress from denying the rights of citizens to assemble peaceably and to petition their government. The power of peaceful protest is our democratic right.
“Our liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited without being lost.”
– Thomas Jefferson
Photo (of graffiti) via flickr.com.
Photo (of press) by Glenn Fawcett [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“If you ask me what I came into this life to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud.”
– Emile Zola
Émile Zola (1840 – 1902) was a French journalist, novelist and activist. He was, in fact, the most prominent and controversial novelist of his time (late 19th century France). He wrote a 20-volume series of interconnected novels, called Les Rougon-Macquart (1871-93), following the lineage of a family during the reign of Napoleon III. His writing style was called literary naturalism and much of his work reflected the miseries endured by the poor – a cause that he championed throughout his life. His novels, which were frank and very graphic, were attacked and even banned at the time.
In 1898, fueled by his outrage at what he believed was the wrongful conviction of Alfred Dreyfus (an army officer who had been convicted of treason), he wrote an open letter “J’Accuse” to the newspaper. Incurring the wrath of French officials, Zola was sentenced to prison for libel, but fled to England – only to be granted amnesty a few months later. He died in 1902, from carbon monoxide poisoning, due to a blocked chimney. It is still uncertain as to whether or not his death was accidental or the heinous work of those who wanted him to suffer the consequences of his words and activism during the Dreyfus Affair.
Since his death, there have been many books written about him. Most recently published is The Disappearance of Emile Zola: Love, Literature and the Dreyfus Case, by Michael Rosen (Faber & Faber; 302 pages). If you are interested in late 19th century French intellectual history and literature, this is an excellent new book to check out.
“If you shut up truth, and bury it underground, it will but grow.”
– Emile Zola
Photo Credit: Émile Zola [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
“We spend January 1 walking through our lives, room by room, drawing up a list of work to be done, cracks to be patched.
Maybe this year, to balance the list, we ought to walk through the rooms of our lives…not looking for flaws, but for potential.”
— Ellen Goodman, American Journalist
Much to the wry amusement of my friends and family members, “The best is yet to come” is a mantra of encouragement that I use quite frequently. Especially since the Great Recession of 2008. I believe the saying comes from Robert Browning‘s poem which begin’s with “Grow old with me! The best is yet to be… .”
The phrase is also the title of a 1959 song written by Carolyn Leigh and composed by Cy Coleman. Although it was originally written for singer Tony Bennett, it was Frank Sinatra who made the song famous. He recorded it in his 1964 album, It Might As Well Be Swing, accompanied by Count Basie and directed by Quincy Jones. On the 25th of February, 1995, “The Best Is Yet To Come“ was the last song that Sinatra sang in public and the words were immortalized on his tombstone.
I am a “glass is half full” type of person and so it is not really surprising that this is one of my favorite sayings. I truly believe that there is always something to look forward to and that every problem has a solution. We navigate our lives through a series of peaks and valleys. The valleys are made bearable because we know that, eventually, there will be peaks. And oh how glorious are those peaks! Well worth the wait and hardship. Optimism and Hope. May we all continue to have them in abundance.
2017 is going to be a simply “Mahvelous” year. I feel it in my bones. Or is that my early onset arthritis…? Just kidding.
And please remember to: