If Music is a Place — then Jazz is the City, Folk is the Wilderness, Rock is the Road, Classical is a Temple.
~ Vera Nazarian
Yet our land is still troubled by men who have to hate
They twist away our freedom and they twist away our fate
Fear is their weapon and treason is their cry.
We can stop them if we try.
~ Phil Ochs, Power and Glory (1960’s folk/protest song)
We often fear that the Revolution needed is too big for what we can give.
Too much change is required inside, outside.
And we are too small.
But all that is required is that you step into the truth of your life.
And speak it, write it, paint it, dance it.
That you shine your light on your truth, for the world to see.
And as hundreds, then thousands, then millions do this – each sparking the courage of yet more –
Suddenly we have a world alight with truth.
~ Lucy H. Pearce, Burning Woman
Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and in the life to come.
~ Henri Nouwen
Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul.
The deeper the blue becomes, the more strongly it calls man towards the infinite, awakening in him a desire for the pure and finally, for the supernatural… The brighter it becomes, the more it loses its sound, until it turns into silent stillness and becomes white.
~ Wassily Kandinsky
Read poetry every day of your life. Poetry is good because it flexes muscles you don’t use often enough. Poetry expands the senses and keeps them in prime condition. It keeps you aware of your nose, your eye, your ear, your tongue, your hand. And, above all, poetry is compacted metaphor or simile. Such metaphors, like Japanese paper flowers, may expand outward into gigantic shapes. Ideas lie everywhere through the poetry books, yet how rarely have I heard short story teachers recommending them for browsing.
What poetry? Any poetry that makes your hair stand up along your arms. Don’t force yourself too hard. Take it easy. Over the years you may catch up to, move even with, and pass T. S. Eliot on your way to other pastures. You say you don’t understand Dylan Thomas? Yes, but your ganglion does, and your secret wits, and all your unborn children. Read him, as you can read a horse with your eyes, set free and charging over an endless green meadow on a windy day.
~ Ray Bradbury, Zen in the Art of Writing
That thing the nature of which is totally unknown to you is usually what you need to find, and finding it is a matter of getting lost. The word ‘lost’ comes from the old Norse ‘los’ meaning the disbanding of an army…I worry now that people never disband their armies, never go beyond what they know.
Advertising, alarmist news, technology, incessant busyness, and the design of public and private life conspire to make it so. A recent article about the return of wildlife to suburbia described snow-covered yards in which the footprints of animals are abundant and those of children are entirely absent. Children seldom roam, even in the safest places… I wonder what will come of placing this generation under house arrest.
~ Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Use what you have, use what the world gives you. Use the first day of fall: bright flame before winter’s deadness; harvest; orange, gold, amber; cool nights and the smell of fire. Our tree-lined streets are set ablaze, our kitchens filled with the smells of nostalgia: apples bubbling into sauce, roasting squash, cinnamon, nutmeg, cider, warmth itself. The leaves as they spark into wild color just before they die are the world’s oldest performance art, and everything we see is celebrating one last violently hued hurrah before the black and white silence of winter.
~ Shauna Niequist, Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way