Good Sunday, everyone!
I apologize for my absence over the last few weeks. My siblings and I have been directing all our energy and love to my mother, who broke her leg last month.
I recently read Susan Branch’s delightful memoir, Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams, the second of a trilogy. The book started off a bit slow through my own fault; Branch refers to events that she detailed in the first in the series, The Fairy Tale Girl, which I haven’t read. Once I was square with who was who, I found the story of Branch’s move from California to Martha’s Vineyard and her new life on the island enjoyable and encouraging. By the last page I felt as if I had made a new friend and taken a wonderful New England vacation.
One element of the book that I love are the wise and inspiring quotes Branch includes on every page, from such luminaries as Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, and Thomas Edison. Branch refers to her copy of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations several times in her memoir; like her, I have a few books of quotes myself. I also have a book of blank pages into which I’ve copied my favorite sayings and thought I’d share a few with you.
I’ll start with one from the pages of Martha’s Vineyard, Isle of Dreams and Branch’s own words:
“It’s not think big, like everyone tells you, it’s think little, the same way you cross the beach in the sand, slogging along, one little step at a time, until you’ve made it.”
Branch made this realization while writing her first cookbook. If she thought of only one page at a time, not thinking about the book as a whole, she wasn’t daunted by the project. I can relate. It can be overwhelming to think about the 69,000 words I have to write for a Veronica Walsh mystery. I sometimes despair and think, “How will I ever do it?” One chapter, one scene, one paragraph at a time. That’s how!
“Noise proves nothing. Often a hen who has merely laid an egg cackles as if she had laid an asteroid.”
The inimitable Mark Twain wrote this, one of my all-time favorite quotes. Oh, how I’ve wanted to shout it at chatty Cathys and verbose Victors. Those folks who go on and on and on, who will never re-gift the gift of gab, should take a bit of advice from Calvin Coolidge, the thirtieth president of the United States, who said,
“I have noticed that nothing I never said ever did me any harm.”
Coolidge, nicknamed Silent Cal, knew of what he spoke.
Our twenty-sixth president, Theodore Roosevelt, was quite a character and more loquacious than Coolidge. Roosevelt advised:
“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.”
If only more people did what Roosevelt said and held themselves accountable, this world would be a much better place.
If your end-of-the-summer vacation will be taking place in your backyard, remember this line from the late Mason Cooley:
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”
If you’re on a stay-cation, why not transport yourself to the Adirondacks via the pages of Murder, by George?
“You’re what the French call les incompetents.”
I’m not one to intentionally hurl insults, but this line from the classic Christmas movie Home Alone, uttered by Angela Goethals as the character of Linnie, is delicious. You can paraphrase it to your heart’s content, saying, “You’re what the Germans call die inkompetent,” “You’re what the Welsh call yr anghymwys,” or “You’re what the Chinese call 无能.”
What’s your favorite quote? Are you inspired by a line from Emily Dickinson, Leo Tolstoy, or Benjamin Franklin? Please share! I have plenty of blank pages to fill in my quotes book.
I’ll wish you a good day and week and end with the following advice from the beloved and much-missed Yogi Berra:
“When you get to a fork in the road, take it.”