Monday, March 31, 2008

Choosing One Path

"Choosing one path means abandoning others - if you try to follow every possible path you will end up following none." – Brida by Paulo Coelho

There are so many paths out there. It is difficult to know which ones to follow. The important thing is making an informed choice and following through with it.

This quotation makes me think of the current milk advertisements I have seen on TV. They show teenage characters trying to make a choice. The inner dialogue shows that they are struggling with a decision. Part of them doesn’t want to do the right thing but the characters make the choice and act. We see them move but an after image of them does not move and fades away like a ghost.

Sometimes we need to leave things behind in order to grow. The commercial’s tag line at the end is, “Always grow…Grow all ways.” It’s a great message.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Layers of Truth

“I often think of truth like the skin of an onion – you peel it back and what do you find? Another skin. And beneath that, another and another. Truth always has behind it, a more fundamental truth.”
- Crumb, R. & Peter Poplaski. The R. Crumb Handbook. MQ Publications Ltd: London, 2005 pg 234. As written by Harvey Kurtzman as an into to a Crumb collection in 1976.

In the last thirty years this metaphor has become cliché but that doesn’t make it any less powerful.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Artists Live in the Present

“As far as McLuhan’s concerned, artists are what his pen pal Ezra Pound calls “the antennae of the race.” Or, as his old friend from his Windsor days, Wyndham Lewis, avers, the artist is the only individual “engaged in writing a detailed history of the future” because the artist “is the only person who lives in the present.” Only the artist is capable of accurately sizing up the present, of see(r)ing it. That’s part of what makes an artist, is it not?”
- Fitzgerald, Judith. Marshall McLuhan: Wise Guy. XYZ Publishing: Montreal, 2001. pg 111

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

We Reflect on One Another

“If my partners don’t look good, Malik won’t look good
if Malik don’t look good, the Quest won’t look good
if the Quest don’t look good, the Queens won’t look good
but since out sounds are universal, New York won’t look good.”
- A Tribe Called Quest “Oh my God” from the album “Midnight Marauders”

When Nas came out with “Hip Hop is Dead” last year it sparked a lot of debate. Some people were angry that he could say such a thing. I understood where he was coming from and agreed with him. It seemed like there was no music of any substance being produced anymore. The songs that were hitting on the charts were all empty, soulless songs that did not appeal to me in the least. That’s not to say that quality rap did not exist, it is just to say that the culture was not being properly represented in the mainstream. Hip-hop did seem like it was dead.

I think this song lyric describes it all. For a while hip-hop did not look good. Too many rappers were focusing on materialism. Videos seemed to be all about drugs, sex, and rock and roll. Hip-hop forgot about all of the progress it had made. It forgot about the important contributions of the pioneers that made this art for great. This mind state and artists that didn’t really have a heart for this culture hurt it terrible. They made us all look bad. Fortunately this is starting to turn around now.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Trust & Honour

“All you have is trust and honour. Your reputation built on trust and your personal honour. That’s all you have.” - George Tennet 60 minutes interview. April 2007

Monday, March 24, 2008

Things Happen for a Reason

"When you want something, the whole Universe conspires to help you realize your desire" - The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

My dad always says that things happen for a reason. I truly believe that. When I read this amazing book I immediately thought of this. This is an amazing novel. I highly recommend it to anyone. It has a lot to say about destiny about working hard, and about realizing your potential.

Friday, March 21, 2008


“I agree with Susan that Ethan is annoying, but it’s hard to peg exactly why – there are all these little things that he does that just add up to ANNOYING.”
- Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 147

I bet we all know people like this in our lives. People that are just annoying and it is hard to peg why. You know what I find annoying? J-pod was cancelled by the CBC last week. We finally get a uniquely Canadian Drama based on a novel by an excellent writer and it only lasts a season. Too bad.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Always a Reaction

“But it must be said from the outset that a disease is never a mere loss or excess – that there is always a reaction, on the part of the affected organism or individual, to restore, to replace, to compensate for and to preserve its identity, however strange the means may be . . .” - Sacks, Oliver. The Man who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, and Other Clinical Tales. Summit: New York, 1985. pg 6

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

It's Supposed to Be

“This is the way it's supposed to be
It's supposed to be like you more close to me
It's supposed to be about our families
It's supposed to be about avoiding catastrophe
But it's all about salary and flattery
Distrust, lust, hate and tragedy
It's supposed to be about you and me on the same route
Were you there in eighty-six when I first came out?
And you know about how they runnin' this game out
It's supposed to be about fun and getting' the pain out
But it's all about clout and poppin' them chains out
Instead of forgiveness, we poppin' they brains out
It's supposed to be about seekin' in the seek out
You witnessin' injustice, you got to speak out
If you claimin' you love this, you got to release doubt
Knowledge is what I'm all about.”
- Krs-One “Ain’t the Same” from the album “Kristyles”

This is the first verse of an amazing song. Krs-One is a legend in hip-hop. He really teaches people about the culture and the positive aspects of the culture. This song has quite a few powerful messages in it. I will be posting verse two up here in the near future as well.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Original Klingon

"You can't appreciate Shakespeare until you've read him in the original Klingon."
- General Chang (Star Trek VI)

This is cinematic history. It has become a catch phrase that has spread well beyond the film. This is partly because it is hilarious, and partly due to the debate over the actually author of the works of Shakespeare.

Some scholars argue that William Shakespeare could not have actually written all of the plays attributed to him. Some of it is quite compelling as well. There are a lot of interesting theories out there, this one was so out there and hilarious that I think it will remain a classic moment in film for quite some time.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Life is Too Short

“I want to start with a single proposition: a single human lifetime is far too short a period in which to discover how to live a life.”
- Bond, D. Stephenson, Living Myth: Personal Meaning as a Way of Life. Shambala, 1993 pg 30

We live for an awfully long time. Yet, time always seems to be our enemy. I know that when I was in university that I did my best in all of my subjects. I struggled with writing essays and assignments but I noticed that I got better with it over the years. It came to the point where I realized that I finally knew how to write an essay. This thought came to me around the time of my graduation. If I could go back now, and apply all that I have learned, I could do a much better job.

Friday, March 14, 2008

It's Become a Discipline

“On the one hand, reading literature . . . has become a “discipline,” . . .

On the other hand, . . . it is thought to be a frivolous entertainment not much connected to “real life.”

- Gold, Joseph. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg 5

Literature is connected to real life. It is not frivolous and it is not regulated to scholars. Story is something that everyone understands. I believe that story is, in fact, the nature of reality. I am in the process of collecting my thoughts and other people’s thoughts on this subject. It is a fascinating topic and there are literally hundreds of quotations on this subject that I have already collected.

The book from which I took this quotation discusses how we can use literature as a coping mechanism in our daily lives. The doctor who wrote it uses literature in his therapy. I think this is a great idea. Stories have been used to educate since the beginning of time. Stories help us to understand all sort of universal truths.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Stories End

“Narratives (stories) traditionally come to a definite end (unlike life); that’s why we like movies and, literature – for that sense of closure – because they end.”
- Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 139

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Life Begins with Lust

“Pain begins at the point of trust
like life begins at the very flash point of lust.”
- The Odds “We’ll Talk” from the album “Good Weird Feeling.”

There is a lot of debate about the exact start of life. Abortion is a heated topic that evokes strong emotions from a variety of perspectives. That’s why when I heard this lyric it really stuck with me.

We can debate over scientific and religions points of view about this subject but I don’t think we can say it any plainly or more concretely than this song. Lust is crucial component of life. Although, not every instance of lust creates life, those few occasions that do make this saying all the more potent.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All Kinds of Prison

“All kinds of prison, and I’m stuck in the worst: the prison of doubt.” - Twice in a lifetime. TV episode

Twice in a Lifetime is a hard show to explain. It is a feel-good show that gives people a second chance at their life. A character dies at the start of every episode and is then given the chance to go back and make some changes in their life. The catch is that they only have three days to make the change and that they must do it as a third and outside party. The soul is sent back to earth as a “free agent with the blessing of God almighty.” Thus starts the show every week.

I wrote the quotation down from one episode a long time ago because it spoke to me. I thought that it was a good metaphor because doubt can be debilitating. Another quote that relates to this topic is…

“If you think you can or you think you can’t you’re right.” - Henry Ford.

Both of these quotes illustrate the power of belief. If you truly believe that you can’t do something and if you let doubt stand in your way, you will be stuck. You won’t be able to accomplish anything. Of course, the reverse is also true. If you believe that you can do something and work hard to make it happen, it will happen.

Belief is a really strong power. It can keeps us trapped or give us complete freedom.

Monday, March 10, 2008

We Have to be Heroes

“Every single one of us has to be a hero at sometime in our lives.” - Armstrong, Karen. A Short History of Myth. Alfred A Knopf, 2005 pg 37.

Notice how this quote doesn’t say, “get to” it says “has to.” This basically means that we are all heroes.

At one point in our lives we will be called upon to do something heroic. This doesn’t mean that we have to be superheroes. We don’t need to show superhuman strength. Everyday interaction can be heroic. Showing compassion for someone, helping out, volunteering; all of these things can mean a lot to someone.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Literature Helps Us

“. . . literature is healthful and maybe necessary as part of our overall response to the demands of life.” - Gold, Joseph. Read For Your Life: Literature as a Life Support System. Fitzhenry and Whiteside: Markham, 1990. pg xv

I think literature is necessary. Stories are important and one of the best ways to experience them is through literature. I think the characters and events in novels can teach us a lot about our lives and things that happen to us. We can learn from stories in ways that we can’t really learn in any other way.

Knowing what has happened to one character in a book might help me make a good decision if I am ever in a similar situation. As such, maybe it is not a stretch to say that literature can help us in a healthy and productive way.

This is a book that I mined for quotations. It ties into my theories on story. If you like some of the quotations here you might be interested in my series on Story I will be running on my main blog, Silent Cacophony starting next week.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Secret Desires

“I remembered something Antonella from Nintendo once told me about her job at a day-care center, about storytelling to kids – about how stories the children liked best were the ones in which the characters fled their old planets amid great explosions, leaving everything behind them to start a new world.

And then I remembered this book-writing program my mom told me about from someone in her library. The big deal in book writing is to quickly establish at the very beginning what it is that the characters want

But I think that the books I really enjoy are the ones in which the characters realize, only in the end, what it was that they secretly wanted all along, but never even knew. And maybe this is what life is really like.”

- Coupland, Douglas. Microserfs. HarperCollins Books: Toronto, 1995. pg 102

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Like Walking on a Pretzel

“It’s time to invent the future cause there ain’t nobody else
you can make it happen right so make it happen for yourself
instead of stressing everything the next man got
and trying to blow up the next man’s spot
always acting like ya got a whole lot
when the fact is that you’re trying to be something ya not
yo, if you don’t cut it out ya gonna get forgot
cause the madness got to stop
see life is kinda stressful,
especially when you’re trying to be successful
so many twist and turns it’s like your walking on a pretzel
yet in still, I swear to build by any means.”
- Bushbabees “Gravity” from the album “Gravity”

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Search

“If you don’t look, you find.” - When Harry Met Sally. DVD commentary to the film

I am always amazed at the process of trying to find something. I have had times where I have ripped apart my entire house looking for it. I have frantically searched every single conceivable place for something and come up empty. So I give up the search and go back to my daily activities.

Then, as if by magic, hours later, I remember where I put the item. I wasn’t looking for it anymore but I found it. Other times, after giving up a search, I find it quiet by accident some time later.

My dad would always say, “It’s always the last place you look.” I never understood this saying. I always thought, “Of course it’s the last place you look because once you find it you stop looking.”

This quotation from the commentary of the film has a lot to say. I think it goes beyond the search for items. It might even deal with fate. I know that I have found things and gone places quite by accident, almost as if trying were counterproductive. I can’t explain it at all. That is why this quote deserves to be in this collection.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Rent We Pay

“Service is the rent we pay for our room on earth.” - King George VI

What a great thought. Imagine what the world would be like if we were all to take this on as a pledge. Service means “contribution to the welfare of others.” If we all made regular contributions, the world would be a much nicer place.