Meme by Cee Neuner.
“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak,
“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything.” ― Plato
“Music is the shorthand of emotion.” ― Leo Tolstoy
“Music is to the soul what words are to the mind.” ― Modest Mouse
“A painter paints pictures on canvas. But musicians paint their pictures on silence.” ― Leopold Stokowski
“Music is the literature of the heart; it commences where speech ends.” ― Alphonse de Lamartine
“Without music to decorate it, time is just a bunch of boring production deadlines or dates by which bills must be paid.” ― Frank Zappa
“Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife.” ― Kahlil Gibran
“Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens.” ― Maria Augusta von Trapp
“Music… will help dissolve your perplexities and purify your character and sensibilities, and in time of care and sorrow, will keep a fountain of joy alive in you.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
“My heart, which is so full to overflowing, has often been solaced and refreshed by music when sick and weary.” ― Martin Luther
“Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.” ― Johann Sebastian Bach
“People ask me how I make music. I tell them I just step into it. It’s like stepping into a river and joining the flow. Every moment in the river has its song.” ― Michael Jackson
“If music be the food of love, play on.” ― William Shakespeare
“Music is the divine way to tell beautiful, poetic things to the heart..” ― Pablo Casals
“If Music is a Place — then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple.” ― Vera Nazarian
“There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen.” ― Arthur Conan Doyle
“This will be our reply to violence: to make music more intensely, more beautifully, more devotedly than ever before.” ― Leonard Bernstein
Orson Scott Card is a prolific writer, perhaps best known for Ender’s Game. He is a master wordsmith. Here are some examples:
- Metaphors have a way of holding the most truth in the least space.
- There’s a reason why every human society has fiction. It teaches us how to be ‘good’, to behave in a way that is for the benefit of the whole community.
- The education that prepared me was my general education classes, which I tried to avoid when I was a stupid undergraduate, but which gave me the foundation of general knowledge that makes a career as a writer possible.
- “Music isn’t just a pleasure, a transient satisfaction. It’s a need, a deep hunger; and when the music is right, it’s joy. Love. A foretaste of heaven. A comfort in grief.
Is it too much to think that perhaps God speaks to us sometimes through music?
How, then, could I be so ungrateful as to refuse the message?”
- “If desire did not dim the brain, nobody would ever get married, drunk, or fat.” (from Ender in Exile)
- “The wise are not wise because they make no mistakes. They are wise because they correct their mistakes as soon as they recognize them.” (from Xenocide)
- “Happiness is not a life without pain, but rather a life in which the pain is traded for a worthy price.” (from Pastwatch: The Redemption of Christopher Columbus)
- “For children love is a feeling; for adults, it is a decision. Children wait to learn if their love is true by seeing how long it lasts; adults make their love true by never wavering from their commitment.” (from Pathfinder)
- “When you have wisdom that another person knows that he needs, you give it freely. But when the other person doesn’t yet know that he needs your wisdom you keep it to yourself. Food only looks good to a hungry man.” (from Xenocide)
- “The future is a hundred thousand threads, but the past is a fabric that can never be rewoven.” (from Xenocide)
- “Do you know why Satan is so angry all the time? Because whenever he works a particularly clever bit of mischief God uses it to serve his own Righteous purposes.”
“So God uses wicked people as his tools?”
“God gives us the freedom to do great evil, if we choose, then He uses his own freedom to create goodness out of that evil, for that is what He chooses.”
“So, in the long run, God always wins?”
“Yes, in the short run though it can be uncomfortable.” (from Ender’s Shadow)
Today I’m thinking about the people who inspired me on this writing journey.
There are the usual suspects… My mother, who encouraged my constant scribbling. The 6th grade teacher who put my essay up on the wall with a shiny gold star. Countless friends and teachers, in my home writing chapter and online. The founders and contributors here at WITS.
There are the great writers who have already passed: Pat Conroy, Blake Snyder, Zig Ziglar, Harper Lee. And Maya Angelou, who deserves a post all to herself. Angelou is who I’m thanking today, as she’s my get-up-and-go girl when I’m down about this writing life. Her quotes are in blue.
A mentor helps a person to interpret the world.
I can hear Angelou’s strong voice in my mind, that well-modulated tone that filled hundreds of auditoriums and thousands of hearts. She said, “In order to be an effective mentor, a mentor has to care.” It’s her special talent that, although we’ve never met, I still feel her care. I know I’m not alone…she has mentored millions with her words.
Her Lessons for a Successful Life
1. Do right – it will satisfy your soul.
“Try to be the best you can be. People will know you and they will add their prayers to your life and be happy for you.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m a huge fan of kindness. It doesn’t cost you anything to help lift others up. It doesn’t push you down. In fact, it will probably give you a mental lift for the next task you face. It might be a door you open, a review you write or a tweet that you share, but paying kind deeds forward will satisfy you. I promise.
Pick up the battle – this is your life. This is your world. Make it a better one where you are. It is up to us to make the world better.
2. Be courageous.
Courage is the most important of all the virtues – you can’t be kind or fair or humane or generous until you find your courage. Courage is required to defend all the other virtues, and to be a whole person.
3. Self-love is very important.
Never trust anyone who says they love you if they don’t first love themselves. At a college commencement address, Angelou shared an old African proverb with those young people: Be careful of a naked man who offers you a shirt.
If you’re having trouble with the self-love today – and we all have those days – she recommends “gathering everyone who has loved you – bring them along with you when you have to do anything.”
Think of your granny who stroked your hair as you fell asleep at night, or the relative who taught you an important skill. Think of your best friend who thinks you hang the moon and stars in the sky. If you’re a believer, think of God.
Just because your loved ones aren’t always with you anymore, doesn’t mean their love doesn’t still live inside you. Pass their love along to yourself.
4. If you don’t laugh, you will die.
The sense of humor is self-defense against life’s difficulties, but it’s also good for us. Stress is the current slow-killer in our society, paving the way for illness and depression.
This article from Laughter Online University gives several health benefits of laughter:
I’m quite certain that the younger Maya didn’t know the science of it all, but she learned that laughter helps you find a way forward when you feel like there is no way.
5. Be a blessing to someone.
Be a rainbow in someone’s cloud. We may not speak the same language or dance the same dance, but be a blessing to someone.
After a childhood rape, Maya Angelou stopped speaking for five years. When she stopped speaking, she started reading and the stories kept her afloat.
She knew what we all know: stories are important. They are our friends when we’re lonely, assurance when we’re scared, inspiration when we’re down. Stories are a gift and many of us write to pay that gift forward.
Angelou quotes that speak to me as a writer:
“You alone are enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.”
“A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.”
“If you get, give. If you learn, teach.”
“When I am writing, I am trying to find out who I am, who we are, what we’re capable of, how we feel, how we lose and stand up, and go on from darkness into darkness. I’m trying for that. But I’m also trying for the language. I’m trying to see how it can really sound.”
“All great artists draw from the same resource: the human heart, which tells that we are all more alike than we are unalike.”
“If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”
“My wish for you is that you continue. Continue to be who and how you are, to astonish a mean world with your acts of kindness.”
“Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
She exhorted all of us to “turn struggles into triumphs,” know you are talented, do your best and, most of all, “keep rising.”
From her poem, Still I Rise…
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may tread me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Do you have a Maya Angelou quote that particularly speaks to you? Or a quote from a different writing mentor. Who has been a rainbow in your cloud?
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About Jenny Hansen
By day, Jenny provides training and social media marketing for an accounting firm. By night she writes humor, memoir, women’s fiction and short stories. After 18 years as a corporate software trainer, she’s delighted to sit down while she works.