Good Words

This is where the quotations from the sidebar go to retire. I’m told they’ve done very well with investments, so hopefully they’ll be happy here.

“. . . I realized that I’ve been talking about ‘resilience’ without really using that word, when I teach classes where I talk about gauge. I say that you can tell that a swatch is a good one – that you’ve got it right, when the work bounces back, when it isn’t easily deformed, and when it keeps its shape, even when you subject it to stress. Things knit too loosely – it’s not just a gauge problem, it’s a quality problem… they don’t last as long, or hold up as well, and I realized for the 23476th time in my life that living and knitting are the same. I prize resilience (in knitting and living) very highly. The ability to hold up, to soldier on… I’m not saying that you deny your feelings, or that you don’t deal with your sadness or challenges, but that you look them all square in the eye and think ‘Well hell, and I guess now I have to do Wednesday anyway’ and then you do… even if you make a real mess of it. So much of being a good human is just showing up, I think.”

― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, “Bounceback

“Now, I have tried to explain myself to people. Mostly I have tried this at parties. When people see me knitting, I tell them I’m a knitter. Not the sort of knitter they may have run into before, but a passionate, constant, deliberate knitter. I knit everyday, all the time, everywhere I go. It’s not just that I think it’s cool either, or a lovely way to make some scarves for Christmas. No. I explain at the parties that I believe knitting is a transformative and intriguing act that can change the life and brain of the person doing it, and that knitting is a a perfect metaphor for life and insight into some better ways through it.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve tried to talk about knitting that way at parties, but if I am interpreting their departures properly, most of the planet seems to think knitting talk is inappropriate at social gatherings . . .”

― Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, “Why I Write”

“When I am knitting, I can withstand boredom, inactivity, even conversations that would normally make me squirm with restlessness. It is as though I have a little portable world of my own wherever I go, a haven of refuge and sanity.”

― Susan Gordon Lydon, Knitting Heaven and Earth

“It’s very easy to sort of lose the thread of life, and somehow the thread of knitting puts you back in touch with who you are, so it’s one of those extraordinary things. It’s my best companion when I’m traveling and when I’m in alien worlds . . . often dealing with the press, sitting in a hotel room, having an interview with somebody . . . if I can just knit a bit before and after those kinds of experiences, it just makes life more livable.”

― Kafe Fassett, From An Interview with Kafe Fassett

“It’s poetry’s uselessness that excites me. Its hopelessness. All this talk of usefulness makes me feel I’ve suddenly been shanghaied into the helping professions. Prose is practical language. Conversation is practical language. Let them handle the usefulness jobs. But of course, poetry has its balms. It makes us less lonely by one. It makes us have more room inside ourselves. But it’s paralyzing to think of usefulness and poetry in the same breath.”

― Kay Ryan, From an interview in The Paris Review, Winter 2008, No. 197

“I maintain that truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. That is my point of view, and I adhere to that absolutely and unconditionally. Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or coerce people along a particular path.”

― Jiddu Krishnamurti, From Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening by Mary Lutyens

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.”

― Henry David Thoreau, Walking

“Even the poorest of our great-grandparents’ generation had a certain level of access to natural materials and the relative luxury of time to transform them into something functional, valuable and beautiful; today, fewer people can afford such opportunity.”

― Kristi York Wooten in “You Can Make It There,” an article she wrote for The Bitter Southerner on the Alabama Chanin clothing factory

“Reality can have metaphorical content; that does not make it any less real.”

― Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children

“What’s a bullet hole or two between friends?”

― Dave Rawlings, Nashville Obsolete, “The Trip”

“Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”

                                                                                                     ― Marie Curie

Thanks to Lattes and Llamas for these good words. Be sure to check out the Marie Curie edition of the 2015 Geek-A-Long to learn a more about this “ass-kicking, shade-throwing, convention-dismissing” woman and see the Polonium blanket square.

“So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”

― Hermann Hesse, Trees: Reflections and Poems

“It . . . started me thinking about what makes a good scientist and what makes someone decide to concentrate on one thing and learn all there is to know about it over the course of a lifetime. This led me to wonder in turn if this steadfastness of scientific purpose was possibly like knitting. A line of thought that ends for me in knitting happens frequently, I’m afraid. I do believe that knitting is the perfect metaphor for life, if such metaphors are needed, and that it can also make a damn fine simile in a pinch.”

― Brenda Dayne, Cast On, Episode 1: “All There is to Know”

“One conclusion that I draw from all this is that our ongoing survival requires relentless attention. If this were a self-help book full of good cheer, I’d tell you that you can all be as happy as little kids after your world has blown up. But innocence is lost. We are always on the raft, always on the mountain, forever in the water with the shark.”

― Laurence Gonzales, Surviving Survival: The Art and Science of Resilience

“Right and wrong can be like bloody snakes: so tangled up that you can’t tell which is which until you’ve shot ’em both, and then it’s too late.”

― M. L. Stedman, The Light Between Oceans

“This sentence is made of lead (and a sentence of lead gives a reader an entirely different sensation from one made of magnesium). This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence is made of sunlight and plums. This sentence is made of ice. This sentence is made from the blood of the poet. This sentence was made in Japan. This sentence glows in the dark. This sentence was born with a caul. This sentence has a crush on Norman Mailer. This sentence is a wino and doesn’t care who knows it. Like many italic sentences, this one has Mafia connections. This sentence is a double Cancer with a Pisces rising. This sentence lost its mind searching for the perfect paragraph. This sentence refuses to be diagrammed. This sentence ran off with an adverb clause. This sentence is 100 percent organic: it will not retain a facsimile of freshness like those sentences of Homer, Shakespeare, Goethe et al., which are loaded with preservatives. This sentence leaks. This sentence doesn’t look Jewish… This sentence has accepted Jesus Christ as its personal savior. This sentence once spit in a book reviewer’s eye. This sentence can do the funky chicken. This sentence has seen too much and forgotten too little. This sentence is called “Speedoo” but its real name is Mr. Earl. This sentence may be pregnant. This sentence suffered a split infinitive – and survived. If this sentence has been a snake you’d have bitten it. This sentence went to jail with Clifford Irving. This sentence went to Woodstock. And this little sentence went wee wee wee all the way home.”

― Tom Robbins, Even Cowgirls Get the Blues

“Now, let us all take a deep breath and forge on into the future; knitting at the ready.”

― Elizabeth Zimmerman, The Opinionated Knitter