Twenty-five years ago I wasn’t a published writer living in Maine. I was a corporate manager living in New Jersey, vacationing in Maine, caring for four teenaged daughters, one granddaughter, my mother, and, at work, the up to 125 people reporting to me. The teenagers were troubled, my mother and granddaughter were disabled, and my corporate family was challenged by reorganizations, downsizing, and internal politics.
I wanted desperately to get out of corporate life, move to Maine, and write something other than corporate reports. I started journaling, writing short stories, studying the world of publishing, and trying to convince myself my future would be brighter.
One of the things I did was write down quotations I ran across in my reading; quotations that I felt either spoke to writing or to my life. I kept them in a bound blank book, which I carried everywhere for hope and encouragement.
A few days ago I picked up that book, still next to my dictionary and thesaurus on my desk, and browsed through it. In case any of the rest of you are also looking for words to think about, here are a few of the quotations I recorded.
“Clara says the truth is that I don’t want anything because there’s nothing I want that I believe I can have, when in fact all I have to do is reach out my hand. She really gets on my nerves sometimes.” — Marilyn French, Her Mother’s Daughter
“Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could only do a little.” — Edmund Burke
“There was, even at seventy, no escape. One did one’s work against a steady barrage of demands of people .. and the garden, too! It was all very well to insist that art was art and had no sex, but the fact was that the days of men were not in the same way fragmented, atomized by indefinite small tasks.” — May Sarton, Mrs. Stevens Hears the Mermaids
“If at first you don’t succeed, you are running about average.” – M.H. Anderson
“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism, but February.” – Joseph Wood Krutch
“What lies behind us and what lies ahead of us is of little importance compared to what lies within us.” – Oliver Wendell Holmes
“My advice to the women of America is to raised more hell and fewer dahlias. – William Allen White
“It is more important to live the life one wishes to live, and to go down with it if necessary, quite contentedly, than to live more profitably but less happily.,” – Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings.
“We tend to be much kinder to other people – our friends, relatives, and offspring – than we are to ourselves.” – On Writers’ Block
“A writer is not so much someone who has something to say as he is someone who has found a process that will bring about new things he would not have thought of if he had not started to say them.” – William Stafford
“perhaps his life (Walt Whitman’s) had to be partial in order for his work to be whole.” – Justin Kaplan, Walt Whitman
“We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, but others judge us by what we have already done.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Now, twenty-five years or so after I recorded those quotations, I’ve moved to Maine, my children have grown up and produced eight children of their own, my mother has died, I’ve married the man I ‘d loved for most of my adult life, but who was not in my life in those dark days twenty-five years ago, and I’ve had 17 books published, with two more scheduled for the fall of this year.
My life is what I’d hoped for, and worked toward. But sometimes there are still difficult days. And sometimes the right words can help me onward.
Perhaps today one of these quotations will speak to you.
Maine author Lea Wait writes the Mainely Needlepoint mystery series and the Shadows Antique Print mystery series and historical novels for ages 8 and up set in nineteenth century Maine. She invites readers to friend her on Facebook and Goodreads and check her website, http://www.leawait.com for more about her life and her books.