Words of others (because I don’t have any…yet)

I haven’t written much of anything in a really long time. And I’m not just not referring to the tumble weeds rolling around this joint. I’m still managing editor of the family section over at RVANews, but that’s more editing (as the title suggests) than writing–both by the nature of the job and by choice, really. I said so many things for so long that I just didn’t have anything to say. I needed to shut my yap for a while.

And it’s been good. Turning inward a bit and tempering my tendency to share all! the! things! has been positive all around. But lately I’ve been feeling the urge to write more. The only problem? I still don’t really have anything to say. When that happens, it’s usually best for me to read everything I can get my hands on. This practice can be both good and bad. Good: reading good things makes you want to write good things. Bad: reading good things makes you think you’ll never be able to write anything as good as that so why bother OH GOD WHAT AM I EVEN DOING HERE ON THIS PLANET.

I’m kind of dancing back and forth over the line of those two places write now, which isn’t such a bad place to be. Nervous energy, we’ll call it. I still don’t have anything to say, but I can feel it coming. And in the meantime, I’m soaking up the really great sentences other people have put together. I want to share some of them with you. Maybe you’re in a similar spot. If not, it’s always good to hear from people who can write the shit out of a thing. So here you go…

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“And still tired from yesterday’s ranch work but cooking breakfast for us anyway, my mother is my mother and father and God, and my sister with her makeup and Jon Bon Jovi-in-a-leather-jacket poster is a teenager, and my sleepy-eyed brother is a boy, and I am a boy: tow-headed and loved, delighted by everything, confused by everything, growing right out of my hand-me-down blue jeans and hungry for the new day. “(from The Mountain and the Fathers: Growing Up on the Big Dry by Joe Wilkins)

***

“‘Hey, I like that in a girl. Look, if you don’t have a bad attitude and lots of things wrong with you, no serious person is going to be interested. If you feel scared, outraged, confused most of the time, come on over. Have a seat.’” (from Imperfect Birds by Anne Lamott)

***

“We all come into existence as a single cell, smaller than a speck of dust. Much smaller. Divide. Multiply. Add and subtract. Matter changes hands, atoms flow in and out, molecules pivot, proteins stitch together, mitochondria send out their oxidative dictates; we begin as a microscopic electrical swarm. The lungs the brain the heart. Forty weeks later, six trillion cells get crushed in the vise of our mother’s birth canal and we howl. Then the world starts in on us.” (from All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr)

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“Shut your mouth; open your eyes and ears. Take in what is there and give no thought to what might have been there or what is somewhere else. That can come later, if it must come at all.” (from Surprised by Joy by C.S. Lewis)

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“I didn’t know how to be in the world without her.” (from The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd)

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“…and I want our hearts to be open. I just wrote that. I want our hearts to be open. I mean it.” (from The Empathy Exams: Essays by Leslie Jamison)

***

“And now, from beneath the audible, came a low reverberation. It came up through the soles of my feet. I stood still while it hummed upward bone by bone. There is no adequate simile. The pulse of the country worked through my body until I recognized it as music. As language. And the language ran everywhere inside me, like blood; and for feeling, it was as if through time I had been made of earth or mud or other insensate matter. Like a rhyme learned in antiquity a verse blazed to mind: O be quick, my soul, to answer Him; be jubilant, my feet! And sure enough my soul leapt dancing inside my chest, and my feet sprang up and sped me forward, and the sense came to me of undergoing creation, as the land and the trees and the beasts of the orchard had done some long time before. And the pulse of the country came around me, as of voices lifted at great distance, and moved through me as I ran until the words came clear, and I sang with them a beautiful and curious chant.” (from Peace Like a River by Leif Enger)

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