I got a new notebook and new pens. The pens are Stabilo 88 fineliners (which I got because, while I loved my Staedtlers a few years ago, the Stabilos were cheaper for more colors 😛 ). The notebook is a Whitelines hard-bound squared (graph-paper) notebook in the A5 size. On which note, I love the way the ‘A#’ sizes work–the number is the number of times the ‘full size’ sheet has been halved; and A5 is about 5-7/8″ by 8-1/4″ — perfect size for a journal. And, true to name, the lines making up the grid are white (on gray paper) instead of black. They kind of melt away where there’s a chunk of writing.
Anyway, this is the first thing I did with it. Each color change indicates a new quote. The quotes are from Carl Sagan, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jalal ad-Dīn Rumi, Franz Kafka, Mary Oliver, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Douglas Adams, Stuart Kauffman (via Melanie Mitchell), Daniel Levitin, Alan Lightman, & Simon Garfield. Sagan, Rilke, and Rumi appear multiple times. At the risk of making a tiresomely long post (sorry?), here are the quotes strung together, so you needn’t spin your head around to see them. 😉 I’ll alternate between gray and olive text to help differentiate the quotes.
When we think well, we feel good. Understanding is a kind of ecstasy. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer. It’s not too late to open your depths by plunging into them and drink in the life that reveals itself quietly there. Let everything happen to you – beauty and terror. When the soul lies down in that grass, the world is too full to talk about. The breeze at dawn has secrets to tell you. Don’t go back to sleep. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet. Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination, calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting, over and over announcing your place in the family of things. The beauty of a living thing is not the atoms that go into it, but the way those atoms are put together. We are all connected: to each other biologically, to the Earth chemically, to the rest of the universe atomically. The cosmos is also within us. We are made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself. I believe our future depends powerfully on how well we understand this cosmos, in which we float like a mote of dust in the morning sky. I’d take the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance any day. The cosmos is full beyond measure of elegant truths, of exquisite interrelationships, of the awesome machinery of nature. Life exists at the edge of chaos. Consider that at a very early age, babies are thought to be synesthetic, to be unable to differentiate the input from the different senses, and to experience life and the world as a sort of psychedelic union of everything sensory. Babies may see the number five as red, taste cheddar cheese in D-flat, and smell roses in triangles. The bird does not twitter or chirp but instead gives out a continuous drawn-out song. When hundreds sing in unison, the sound is an unbroken chorus, with the effect on the hearing like that of a waterfall on the sight, a multitude of tiny droplets combining to make one sweeping flow. This is the best thing about the ampersand–its energy, its refusal to sit still. It is almost impossible to look at one and not think about its shape, or to draw one and not think about liberation. Come, come, whoever you are. Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving–it doesn’t matter, ours is not a caravan of despair. But that shadow has been serving you! What hurts you blesses you. Darkness is your candle. Your boundaries are your quest. You must ask for what you really want. Don’t go back to sleep. Come, even if you have broken your vow a hundred times, come, come again, come.