Tag Archives: Book of Qualities

Today’s resolution: A little mind dance

20 Oct

There have been times when my imagination has gotten me into trouble or thrown me into an anxious looping frenzy. Mostly, though, imagination has been my salvation. The world of my mind is a bright, brilliantly intense place of dance, color, light and song (yes, there, I can actually sing … and I dance, dance, dance in the music video of my life), and it’s full of imaginative people with the faces of flowers. As you may imagine, I have never needed hallucinogens.

Imagination means I never run out of ideas for articles and stories, and I never tire of interviewing interesting people. I marvel at my life sometimes, amazed that I’ve managed a career that allows me to run with my imagination.

So, today, I share with you another favorite passage from J. Ruth Gendler‘s The Book of Qualities:

“When Imagination walks, she writes letters to the earth. When she runs, her feet trace postcards to the sun. And when she dances, when she dances, she sends love letters to the stars.

“Some people accuse Imagination of being a liar. They don’t understand that she has her own ways of uncovering the truth. She studied journalism in junior high school. It gave her an excuse to interview interesting people. She was surprisingly good at writing articles. When in doubt, she just made things up. More recently, Imagination has been working as a fortuneteller in the circus. She has this way of telling your fortune so clearly that you believe her, and then your wishes start to come true.

“Imagination is studying photography now with an eye toward making films. She has no intention of working in one of those factories where they manufacture images that lull us to sleep. Her vision is more complex, and very simple. Even with the old stories, she wants us to see what has never been seen before.”

I very much want to meet Ms. Gendler.

Dancing statues near the Clinton Library, Little Rock, Ark. (2011/RO)

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Today’s resolution: Worry lightly or not at all

5 Sep

“Worry has written the definitive work on nervous habits. She etches lines on people’s foreheads when they are not paying attention. She makes lists of everything that could go wrong while she is waiting for the train. She is sure she left the stove on, and the house is going to explode in her absence. When she makes love, her mind is on the failure rates and health hazards of various methods of birth control. The drug companies want Worry to test their new tranquilizers but they don’t understand what she knows too well: there is no drug that can ease her pain. She is terrified of the unknown.” — J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

Kona, Hawaii (2009/RO)

Today’s resolution: Discover a secret garden

26 Aug

“Stillness will meet you for tea or a walk by the ocean. You must be gentle when you approach her. She is more sensitive than we can even imagine and she does not explain herself much. Sometimes I bring her flowers — not because she needs them (she tends several gardens) — but because I am better able to meet her when I am carrying flowers. Her favorite time is dawn.” — J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

Rose garden, Valencia, California (2011/RO)

Today’s resolution: Time for contentment

17 Aug

“Contentment has learned how to find out what she needs to know. Last year, she went on a major housecleaning spree. First, she stood on her head until all the extra facts fell out. Then, she discarded about half her house. Now, she knows where every thing comes from — who dyed the yarn green and who wove the rug and who built the loom, who made the willow chair, who planted the apricot trees. She made the turqouise mugs herself with clay she found in the hills beyond her house.

“When contentment is sad, she takes a mud bath or goes to the mountains until her lungs are clear. When she walks through an unfamiliar neighborhood, she always makes friends with the local cats.” — J. Ruth Gendler, The Book of Qualities

Squash in Connecticut (2009/RO)