Thursday, December 22, 2011

Soothing things

What we want is . . . soothing things. Cookies. Maybe some more cookies. Maybe some tea, quiet music, and sitting by the fire.

Maybe to wander around the books on our shelves, take one down that has nothing to do with projects at hand, and read just for the fun of it.

From Mark Twain (culled from various essays and speeches):
  • "Always obey your parents, when they are present."
  • "Yes, one of the brightest gems in the New England weather is the dazzling uncertainty of it. There is only one thing certain about it, you are certain there is going to be plenty of weather--a perfectly grand review; but you can never tell which end of the procession is going to move first. . . . The lightning there is peculiar; it is so convincing. When it strikes a thing, it doesn't leave enough of that thing behind for you to tell whether--well, you'd think it was something valuable, and a Congressman had been there."
  • "That awful power, the public opinion of a nation, is created in America by a horde of ignorant, self-complacent simpletons who failed at ditching and shoemaking and fetched up in journalism on their way to the poorhouse."
  • "If a person offend you, and you are in doubt as to whether it was intentional or not, do not resort to extreme measures; simply watch your chance and hit him with a brick."
  • [On the last words of great men.] "Now there was Daniel Webster. Nobody could tell him anything. He was not afraid. He could do something neat when the time came. And how did it turn out? Why, his will had to be fixed over; and then all his relations came, and first one thing and then another interfered, till at last he only had a chance to say 'I still live,' and up he went. Of course, he didn't still live, because he died--and so he might as well have kept his last words to himself as to have gone and made such a failure of it as that."
  • "I have been a correct speller, always; but it is a low accomplishment and not a thing to be vain of. Why should one take pride in spelling a word rightly when he knows he is spelling it wrongly? . . . .Yes, there are things which we cannot learn, and there is no use fretting about it. I cannot learn adverbs; and what is more I won't."
  • "The fact is, as the poet has said, we are all fools. The difference is simply in the degree. The mercury in some of the fool-thermometers stands at ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty, and so on; in some it gets up to seventy-five; in some it soars to ninety-nine. I never examine mine, --take no interest in it."

Do you have more suggestions for soothing things at this time of the year?

6 comments:

nicoleandmaggie said...

I love these quotations. To the soothing things list, I add snuggling with a purring cat, and foods made with lots of butter.

undine said...

You are so right! Purring cats and food with lots of butter, especially good bread with butter.

Ink said...

Fabulous quotes. I also think looking at art is soothing, though I rarely get to go to the museum and plus, it's snowing, so never mind.

So instead: movie and popcorn. Which might even be more soothing, now that I think about it.

Ink said...

Have a great holiday, Undine!

moria said...

I did exactly this, too. For me, it was Alison Bechdel, Wallace Stevens, and Elizabeth Bishop. When I realized that I could put down the thesis books and read whatever I damn well pleased, and that my bookshelves were well stocked with pleasant things, the force of the revelation was a good deal stronger than it probably ought to have been. The day ended with a kind of rested satisfaction, in my nest of books and coffee cups, that I've rarely felt after even the most productive of workdays. I hope your pleasures are continuing.

undine said...

Ink--say yes to the movies, and I hope you had a great holiday!

Moria--isn't that revelation about the books something? You described that feeling perfectly.