Quote Me, parts 1 and 2

On April 11, 2013 by Eden M. Kennedy

UPDATE: The winner of the giveaway for the book Trinkets by Kirsten Smith is Liz! And her long Ira Glass quote! Congratulations, Liz, you’ll be getting an e-mail from me. I will start drawing the quote I chose for the second giveaway ASAP and will post it next week, there’s been some other stuff going on here which I will tell you about as soon as shit settles down. Thanks, as always, for your patience and continued interest in fussy.org.


It turns out that when I try to rush through my drawings, they suck. I end up throwing out more paper and wasting more time — but when I sit back, take an hour, and really think about what wants to happen on the little 5 x 7 card on my lap, I have more of a chance to draw something that makes me really happy. “It does not matter how slow you go, as long as you do not stop,” Confucius purportedly said.

Or, in the words of someone who’s still alive:


This is what I mean by taking the time to work out something that makes me really happy. I ended up being so happy with this one that I decided to add a little color:

normalmouse color

Then I wondered whether an “amazing” mouse would still be brown? I don’t want to overthink it, my until-now unexamined prejudice that normal, brown mice cannot be amazing. I ran the idea past Jackson and he told me to make the mouse pink, duh. Oh my God, is that racist?

amazing pink

It would be TOTALLY racist except that now that the mouse is pink it looks like a mole, or a fetal . . . something.

The next drawing request was for “a hippo sitting in a pool of water, holding an umbrella.” I could not for the life of me draw a hippo holding anything — have you seen a hippo’s hands? I couldn’t even fake it in a way that made sense, so I came up with this:

hippoI like this because it’s what Peewee does when we’re eating dinner in front of the television, he puts his chin on the table so that we won’t forget to set a place for him. Why do we keep forgetting to do that?

But if a hippo put his chin on the edge of a backyard pool, you would soon have a hippo in an empty pool and a lawn saturated with hippo effluvia.

hippo_color_smallWhich is gross.

PART 2: I HAVE ANOTHER BOOK TO GIVE AWAY, PEOPLE. It’s a YA novel called Trinkets by Kirsten Smith. It’s about three high school-age girls who meet in Shoplifters Anonymous. Three souls united by a need to take what isn’t theirs! Sadly, I can relate, as there were a few years in there when . . . yeah.

I think my total take was a pair of cheap sunglasses and a couple of records that I could have afforded. I was just being an asshole who wanted to have her cake (pocket money) and eat it too (not spend it, but still get stuff). You know how I got away with it? I looked like I could afford it. Pure white middle-class privilege.

I grew a moral backbone eventually, but what’s interesting for me about Trinkets is that the kids in the book talk about their actions and think about them far more deeply than I ever did, thus helping them to grow the hell up and get through their problems in a way that was not open for me at that age. A friend of mine is writing a term paper on how tween and YA literature can be useful in helping kids to process and grow through their own questions and problems, but at that age I was coming out of my King Arthur phase and just about to begin my descent into the Great American Alcoholic Canon (Berryman, Bukowski, et al) so I don’t know if re-reading The Cat Ate My Gymsuit would have helped.

Oh boy. In order to keep myself from falling into a shame spiral over the lost years of my rudderless adolescence, I’m going to tie this all together and ask you to leave a comment if you’d like a chance to randomly win a copy of Trinkets, and in that comment I’d like you to give me a quote that inspires you to be your better self. I am always on the lookout for wisdom, and as a bonus giveaway I’ll also choose a random comment-quote to illustrate for the person who shared it. So give us a good quote and you might get it back with some added perspective that may or may not include mice, hippos, or other deeply personal associations that make sense only to me.



37 Responses to “Quote Me, parts 1 and 2”

  • My favorite quote that inspires me to be a better person: “Don’t ask me to apologize; I won’t ask you to forgive me. If I’m gonna go down, you’re gonna come with me.” — Elvis Costello

    Because hey, at least I’m a better person than that vindictive jackass, Elvis Costello. (If I win the book, I will give it to my high-school-aged daughter. I bet Elvis Costello wouldn’t do that.)

  • I was taken to the hospital by ambulance and had to have emergency abdominal surgery 2 weeks ago. Since then I’ve been using this quote as my Facebook profile photo: “What doesn’t kill me, makes me more awesome.”

    Oh and pink mice are definitely fetal and not racist at all.

  • I am reading “Gilead” and just came across this gem of advice: “A little too much anger, too often or at the wrong time, can destroy more than you would ever imagine.”

  • I love this Bukowski line from his poem The Laughing Heart:
    your life is your life.
    know it while you have it.
    you are marvelous
    the gods wait to delight
    in you.
    The whole poem is amazing.

  • A quote, a quote… hmm, “Writing well is the best revenge?” That’s cheating, isn’t it?

    I guess I don’t have a go-to quote. I’ll have to get back to you.

  • This is a very long quote, but one that has stuck with me!

    “What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

    But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

    It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”-Ira Glass

  • Here’s my favorite:
    Does the sun ask itself, “Am I good? Am I worthwhile? Is there enough of me?” No, it burns and it shines. Does the sun ask itself, “What does the moon think of me? How does Mars feel about me today?” No, it burns, it shines. Does the sun ask itself, “Am I as big as other suns in other galaxies?” No, it burns, it shines.”
    -Andrea Dworkin

  • I’d love to read that book since the social service agency I work for offers a Theft Prevention program aimed at youngsters who might be inclined to shoplift.

    So one of my many go-to quotes is “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Another is “Everything was impossible until the first time someone did it.” Also, “Bring your own weather to the picnic” which you’ve seen before, Eden, and which now sits on my bulletin board at work.

  • I ordered the drawing with the Maya Angelou quote and just wanted to tell you that that is a fabulous drawing. Even better than I hoped for, and I love the color. I actually prefer the pink mouse only because I had a brown one living in my house for four days once because my cat caught it, brought it into the house, and then decided he’d had enough excitement for one day. So fewer bad memories with the pink mouse. Can’t wait to get the drawing!

  • My favorite quote is not one that inspires me to be my better self but I love it: A positive attitude may not solve all your problems but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.

    My best self quote: What lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.

    That’s all I got today except to say that Peewee is looking especially adorable in that shot.

  • “Never run when you can walk. Never walk when you can stand. Never stand when you can sit. And lie down every chance you get.” :)

  • I’m going to give you a bunch of quotes, because why not:

    “Through the years, I have learned there is no harm in charging oneself up with delusions between moments of valid inspiration.”

    – Steve Martin

    “All one really needs in life is two good friends, books, and a Pekingese,” – P.G. Wodehouse

    “Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day. You shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense.”

    – Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Also, I read this post over at Schmutzie the other day, and it absolutely slayed me. You should read the whole thing if you can, but in the interests of providing one small pull quote:

    “You maybe can’t choose to fix what your earlier choices broke, but you can make choices now that will shoot for better outcomes. You can be more mindful of what you are choosing and why. You are smarter now, and, if you choose to try, you will find that you are better equipped to act as a force for good.”

  • “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it’s too dark to read.” -Groucho Marx

  • As a former Youth Services Librarian, I think that YA books have come a long way in the last few years. Sure, there is some trash in there but a lot of really great books have gone mainstream. I read A Fault in Our Stars a few weeks ago and there was a quote in there that struck me:

    “Grief does not change you, it reveals you.”

  • This is my current favorite, sitting just in my line of vision over the top of my computer screen…

    “You can rest inside the truth that you are enough (as is)” Kelly Rae Roberts

  • This one is like a poke in the ribs for me:

    “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
    ~ Dr. Howard Thurman

  • I have a few quotes I want to share:

    Some old favorites:
    Mrs. Darling: There are many different kinds of bravery. There’s the bravery of thinking of others before one’s self. Now, your father has never brandished a sword nor… nor fired a pistol, thank heavens. But he has made many sacrifices for his family, and put away many dreams.
    Michael: Where did he put them?
    Mrs. Darling: He put them in a drawer. And sometimes, late at night, we take them out and admire them. But it gets harder and harder to close the drawer… and he does. And that is why he is brave.

    “There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it.” – C.S. Lewis

    Newer favorites:
    “You have suffered enough
    And warred with yourself
    It’s time that you won.” – Glen Hansard

    “It does not do to dwell on dreams, and forget to live.” – Albus Dumbledore (ok, J.K. Rowling :-P)

  • One of my favourites is from a fortune cookie
    The moment you were born a problem was solved.
    And this is a quote from a dream
    Live the life in front of you
    Which is just another way of saying live in the present.

  • I love your blog – I am a long time lurker but a faithful reader. Like another commenter, if I win the book, I will read it and promptly give it to my high school freshman daughter.

    Two quotes: You CAN have it all, just not at the same time. – Oprah Winfrey this reminds me that once i was skinny but broke and not in love. Now I am not so skinny, but I have people in my life who love me, and I can pay the bills. the other one is from Victor Hugo: “Have courage for the great sorrows of life and patience for the small ones; and when you have laboriously accomplished your daily task, go to sleep in peace. God is awake.” for when life seems overwhelming.

  • “whatever leads to joy.”

    from Marie Howe’s poem “My Dead Friends.” here is the snippet in slightly better context:

    “They stand in unison, shaking their heads and smiling — Whatever leads
    to joy, they always answer,
    to more life and less worry.”

    I won’t quote the whole poem here, because I’m not sure whether that’s stepping on copyright, but you can read it here. I went through a really rough period last year into the beginning of this year and told myself that once I felt I had come through it, I was going to get a tattoo to remind myself that I’m a tough cookie. I have this poem memorized and one night I thought, ‘whatever leads to joy. that’s it.’

    I LOVE that mouse!

  • Yay! My hippo! And my dog does the same thing, so that is PERFECTION.

  • I love the drawing. Particularly the pink mole. In my mind I am changing the quote to read “if you are nor-mole…”

  • I’ve got two, both that help me get out of my head which is what I most need most of the time:
    “Don’t let your dreams define your hopes” and
    “Leap and the net will appear.”

  • I know someone already joked about it but I honestly use “Writing well is the best revenge.” I use it so much I have 3 of the t-shirts in varying degrees of usefulness. Whenever I’m feeling sore about something or sorry for myself it reminds me to just keep writing. If I keep writing everything else will come together.

  • It’s sort of a long story how Schopenhauer makes me a better person but here’s a quote that I think could make anyone a better person:

    “Each separate misfortune, as it comes, seems, no doubt, to be something exceptional; but misfortune in general is the rule.”

    Anyway, it’s about how existence is suffering but it turns out that you are not separate from anything else in the universe and eventually if you can quiet your strivings you will become a better person because you will realize there is no you. Buddhism probably paints a better picture but Schopenhauer is often more pithy.

  • Also, this quote helped me finish my dissertation. I’m not sure that made me a better person but it did help me to get a job. It also used to give me a kind of inner peace for who knows what reason.

    “He who learns must suffer. And even in our sleep pain that cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart, and in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.”

  • This quote serves as a reminder that no matter how busy I get, I need to take time out for my sisters. Without them, I would never have made it this far:
    “It’s a long, long road. It’s a big, big world. We are wise, wise women. We are giggling girls.” -Ani Difranco

  • Mine is from my Granny:
    “You can get glad in the same pants you got mad in”

    It worked for me as a child and still resonates with me as an adult.

    • I love that. That’s the best one yet–your granny is a genius.

      • Yes she was.
        It always seemed so universal that I assumed she had cribbed it from somewhere but I have never seen it anywhere else…so maybe it is a Granny Leathel original. (Yes, her ACTUAL name.)

  • I like this quote by the Dalai Lama (though I fail to follow it most of the time):

    “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

  • I don’t know who said it, but it reminds me to have perspective and understanding…for myself sometimes, too: “We are dreadfully like other people.”

  • My favorite (somewhat smarmy) quote is this one, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
    “Earth’s crammed with heaven, and every common bush afire with God; but only those who see take off their shoes. The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.” –Elizabeth Barrett Browning
    And I’ve always loved this line from Mary Oliver:
    “What will you do with this one wild and precious life?”
    Some famous first lady of days past (passed?) said “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Eleanor Roosevelt, I think.
    I feel pressure to have something wise or witty to add here, but really, those are my favorites.

  • “Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”

    – Louise Erdrich

  • I’m not sure who said this or if its a “quote” but I treasure the words “choose the happy”. Because I’m kind of an asshole and I have to really work at choosing to be, see, hear and live my life happy.

  • My favorite of all time is this old chestnut by Somerset Maugham:
    “The ability to quote is a serviceable substitute for wit.”

  • Faithful reader; first time commenter.

    A quote:
    “Do the best you can in the place where you are, and be kind”. -Scott Nearing