Wordplay Wednesday: Inspiration in the Words of Others
As a word nerd and bookworm I love quotes. I often come across sayings that are just so right, so perfect for my life at a particular moment. When I discover a new one it is that feeling of “Yes! That is exactly how I feel. How clever to put it that way.” ( or sometimes,” I wish I had said that!” )
I think it is a great gift to be able, in just a few words, to aptly delineate feelings and emotions that resonate with large numbers of people. It is as if the originator of the quote has tapped into a collective conscience and then summed it up in a memorable phrase.
I know this love of quotes is quite common: think of all of the pillows, t-shirts, mugs, posters and pieces of art that are sold with various famous sayings on them. A quick tour of Pinterest reveals numerous boards devoted to quotes. I happen to have one myself. There is something almost universally satisfying about discovering words that speak to you, whether they are funny, sad, motivational or inspiring. It is validation that someone else thinks like you do and that in turn connects us to other hearts and minds.
I think most people have several quotes or sayings that are particularly meaningful to them. Of course, depending on one’s temperament, experiences and life situation a certain quote will more important. Can you recall some personal favorites?
Do you have t-shirts or other items with a favorite expression? Have you ever posted or shared a saying on social media?
Today I want you to take some time and think about a special quote that has made an impact on you. I invite you to ponder why that saying is so special and then journal about it.
Write the quote at the top of a piece of paper. If you feel particularly artsy, make use a fancy lettering style or colorful markers. Now, as a free-write, quickly journal about what this quote means to you.
Here are some questions to guide you as you begin.
What was the original context?
What does it reveal about you?
Does the quote invite some action on your part?
Does it validate a belief?
I would love to hear about your favorite quotes . Perhaps you can turn your quote into a mixed media journal page, or a water colored and inked poster to display where it can constantly inspire you. Or just write it boldly in pen on a sticky note and attach it to your bathroom mirror or the corner of your computer screen.
Here’s one of mine:
Ancora Imparo! ( this translated means “ I am still learning!”) It was said by Michelangelo when he was 87.
I first heard this quote when I was in the sixth grade. My teacher, Mrs. Baeszler, was an amazing woman. Despite the fact that she was likely past retirement age when she taught me and three years later my brother, she had a vibrancy, energy and zest for life that was unmatched. She challenged us to read, ask questions, to find a passion and to pursue learning for its own sake. She was the inspiration for me choosing to be a teacher.
I embrace this quote for that reason and also because it is central to the kind of life I want to live. I desire to always be growing learning and challenging myself to acquire new skills. To that end I am an avid reader of newspapers, informative blogs, histories, biographies, science and more. I take art , writing and Bible study classes to improve my skills and knowledge in those areas. I also view/listen to lectures online about topics that capture my interest. I haunt bookstores and course catalogs looking for new sources of information.
There’s so much to be interested in and to learn about in our world. We are incredibly fortunate to live in a time that offers so many ways to access knowledge. I find it exciting and sometimes a bit overwhelming. But, I am never bored and never will be. I hope to be able to say at 87 and perhaps beyond:
Now I need to go make a poster!