Fresh Quotes: Mary Oliver

I’ve always wanted to write poems and nothing else.

~Mary Oliver

Coming in whispers that speak to that child that lurks within

the one that plays in grassy fields and kisses the sweet spring wind

she who laughs at chickadees and muses with birds

Quietly knocking one over the head with her simple earthy words.

I have been literally brought to tears on more than one occasion by this immensely talented writer and poet.

Mary Oliver is an artist who more than paints pictures with words. She illustrates profound feeling in vivid and not so vivid colors and hues. They hit me deep down in my soul.

Never before have I so connected with another’s words. It reinforces to me the greater connection we all have with each other and our beautiful planet.

What follows are some of my favorite quotes by this Pulitzer Prize winner.

MARY OLIVER

 

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?”

“Instructions for living a life.
Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.”

There is nothing better than work. Work is also play; children know that. Children play earnestly as if it were work. But people grow up, and they work with a sorrow upon them. It’s duty. 

“I believe in kindness. Also in mischief. Also in singing, especially when singing is not necessarily prescribed.”

 

 

“Sometimes I need only to stand wherever I am to be blessed.”

 

Ordinarily, I go to the woods alone, with not a single friend, for they are all smilers and talkers and therefore unsuitable. I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds or hugging the old black oak tree. I have my way of praying, as you no doubt have yours. Besides, when I am alone I can become invisible. I can sit on the top of a dune as motionless as an uprise of weeds, until the foxes run by unconcerned. I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing. If you have ever gone to the woods with me, I must love you very much.”

“Keep some room in your heart for the unimaginable.”

 

I want to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.”

 

 

Do you love this world? Do you cherish your humble and silky life? Do you adore the green grass, with its terror beneath? Do you also hurry, half-dressed and barefoot, into the garden, and softly, and exclaiming of their dearness, fill your arms with the white and pink flowers, with their honeyed heaviness, their lush trembling, their eagerness to be wild and perfect for a moment, before they are nothing, forever?

 Yes…yes I do Mary Oliver… thank you for your inspiration. 

~nlm

MARY OLIVER
Mary Oliver was born in 1935 in Maple Heights, Ohio.  She attended both Ohio State University and Vassar College.  As a young poet, Oliver was deeply influenced by Edna St. Vincent Millay and briefly lived in Millay’s home, helping Norma Millay organize her sister’s papers.
  Oliver is notoriously reticent about her private life, but it was during this period that she met her long-time partner, Molly Malone Cook. The couple moved to Provincetown, Massachusetts, and the surrounding Cape Cod landscape has had a marked influence on Oliver’s work.  Mary Oliver held the Catharine Osgood Foster Chair for Distinguished Teaching at Bennington College until 2001. In addition to such major awards as the Pulitzer and National Book Award, Oliver has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. She has also won the American Academy of Arts & Letters Award, the Poetry Society of America’s Shelley Memorial Prize and Alice Fay di Castagnola Award. She lives in Provincetown, Massachusetts. 
(Excerpt from the Poetry Foundation Bio)

Mary Oliver (Poetryfoundation.org)

(Great site chocked full of resources including full-length poems)

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Jumping off cliffs

It is now that I sit here tapping away. It is way past midnight. I am snuggled up in my fuzzy purple blanket, drinking strong hot coffee and living in the moment like a breeze. For me this is one of the bestest and funnest things to do;  in words I dance in this moment. At times not knowing exactly which word will be…next…it is a journey of sorts and I tend to end up in places I never expect.

My mind is the octopus. The ship is logic. Let's see who wins out?
My mind is the octopus. The ship is logic. Let’s see who wins out?

My mind is like a hungry octopus, its tentacles awry, making a wild grab for this and that. Storms form. Clouds rush in only to be ushered out by shards of brilliant sunshine.  I am here amid swirling thoughts and ideas that play themselves out atop a blank page… it is here floating on this stream of consciousness where I feel fulfilled and engaged…so alive…huddled over a keyboard like a maniac, tapping away into the night…

“A non-writing writer is a monster courting insanity.”

― Franz Kafka

There are many reasons why I write; the most obvious being that I generally go crazy if I don’t. It is an essential outlet to me. If I were the only person on this planet I would still write it…even if there was no one to read it.  There are feelings I have that would never see the light of day if I didn’t get them out in a such a way. In a way, writing is my friend….and at times in my life, my only one. It is a big part of me. I have allowed it become a big part of my identity.

Writing has become an open window to the world

I started this blog over two years ago with an idea. Simply put; I planned to be myself and write whatever I felt passionate about and see what happened.  Now 190 posts later I am a different person than when I started. I feel as if I have gone on a long journey and I’ve seen and learned much. I’ve met some amazing people along the way; others who share this wanderlust of the mind and spirit.

I am happy when I am writing and I enjoy the results. What blows me away is how others enjoy the results as well. I am the happiest when  I  hear that something I wrote brought a smile to someone’s face. There are worse things. And as dreams go; being a writer isn’t all that impractical, is it?

I feel fulfilled and enlightened and I feel my journey has only just begun…

The Grotto in Portland Oregon. Credit: SBI
The Grotto in Portland Oregon. Credit: SBI

There are so many more reasons not to do something than to do it.   All action brings risk but then so does inaction. Much of the time it is this inaction and the result of such that can be the most damaging and corrosive. Fear can cause one to freeze like a deer in the headlines and do nothing. I have been guilty of having this response for most of my life.

I can’t say that I’m not conflicted. There is the artist part of me that feels and yearns and all that. It is that side of me I have chosen to let dominate, at least for now. Then there’s the other side. The one that doubts, the one that looks over my shoulder at the cold cruel world , the one that sees the bottom line. The part of me that pays attention and knows how difficult it can be to make a living being a writer. It reminds me that in no uncertain terms; if one wants a job writing, one must make writing a job and go to work.

I admit it.  I am hesitant to want to make something I love so much into work….and really…to be honest, I’m scared.

I suppose a lot of it is the fear of rejection. Do I have what it takes to be rejected over and over? Writing is very personal for me. I put my heart and soul into everything. It is much more than just a simple act to me. It is something  akin to extraction. The possibility of a million rejections and then subsequent “failures” truly hits home here. In writing that’s where my safety lies. This is my safe spot that I protect. My soft underbelly.  Much of my new-found self-worth is found here in this freedom of expression. Perhaps it is here I will find my answer as well.

I am reaching a point to where my fear of inaction is greater than my fear of action…

There is this voice inside me.  It started as a whisper that’s grown to an insistent tap on the shoulder,  it borders on the desperate, begging and teetering on the edge of a scream…

There is never a better time than now…do it!

Jump off cliffs

One of my favorite writers, Ray Bradbury once said,

“You’ve got to jump off cliffs all the time and build your wings on the way down.”

Life is full of risks. without risk there can be no reward. Without jumping off cliffs, how are we ever to learn to fly?

I made a promise to myself that I would start submitting writing pieces in 2013, I have yet to do this. Now I’ll have to. Keep you posted. Wish me luck.

 

Strawberryindigo.

blue butterfly

“Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you, that Demon being the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound.” 
― William Goldman