The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Christina Rossetti

Christina Georgina Rossetti (1830 – 1894) was an English poet.  Her brother Dante Gabriel Rossetti was a famous poet and artist and a founding member of The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.  The portrait of Christina to the right is his work. Christina posed for some of his other famous paintings also. She wrote many beautiful poems, but the one that that always touched me most is Hurt No Living Thing.

If you are not familiar with it, you should be!

Hurt no living thing:
Ladybird, nor butterfly,
Nor moth with dusty wing,
Nor cricket chirping cheerily,
Nor grasshopper so light of leap,
Nor dancing gnat, nor beetle fat,
Nor harmless worms that creep.

It is, of course, harder to live up to this when you see something like a cockroach, but a good point to take to heart nevertheless.

Christina Rossetti said other beautiful things too. Here are some of them:

  •  Silence is more musical than any song.
  • And all the winds go sighing, for sweet things dying.
  • Better by far you should forget and smile that you should remember and be sad.
  • For there is no friend like a sister in calm or stormy weather; To cheer one on the tedious way, to fetch one if one goes astray, to lift one if one totters down, to strengthen whilst one stands.
  • I might show facts as plain as day: but, since your eyes are blind, you’d say, “Where? What?” and turn away.
  • She gave up beauty in her tender youth, gave all her hope and joy and pleasant ways; she covered up her eyes lest they should gaze on vanity, and chose the bitter truth.
  •  Who has seen the wind? Neither you nor I but when the trees bow down their heads, the wind is passing by.

Rossetti is featured as a character in Nerdy Chick Amy Carol Reeve’s historical fiction thriller Ripper.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Shirley Temple Black

Shirley Temple Black, (b.1928) is most famous for the many roles she played as a child actress, but she went on to do many amazing things in her adulthood too. She served on the boards of organizations including The Walt Disney Company and the National Wildlife Federation.  She ran for congress, and though she did not win, she was appointed US Ambassador to Ghana in 1974 and later to Czechoslovakia. Shirley Temple Black, a cancer survivor, was also one of the first public figures to speak openly about breast cancer and to heighten awareness of the disease. I really like what she says about the removal of risk below. To read more about her at her website.

Shirley Temple Black Quotes

  • I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.
  • One has to handle these negative experiences alone. You can’t get help from your friends or family. You’re finally alone with it, and you have to come to grips with misfortune and go on.
  • Our whole way of life today is dedicated to the removal of risk. Cradle to grave we are supported, insulated, and isolated from the risks of life- and if we fall, our government stands ready with Band-Aids of every size. 
  • The U.N. acts as the world’s conscience, and over eighty-five percent of the work that is done by the United Nations is in the social, economic, educational and cultural fields.
  • We would have to invent the U.N. if we did not have it, which is not an original thought.
Isn’t that first quote kind of sad? Santa-for-hire FAIL!

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Gilda Radner

 Gilda Radner (1946-1989) was an American comedienne and an original member of the Saturday Night Live cast. She won an Emmy for her work in 1978. I spent a lot of Saturday nights when I was in high school hoping that she would be featured on the show. We all loved Rosanne Rosannadanna. Radner was married to Gene Wilder. Cancer took her when she was still very young and Radner, who understood her disease, had many beautifully introspective things to say about life, in addition to the humorous bits she left us.

Gilda Radner Quotes:

  • I’d much rather be a woman than a man. Women can cry, they can wear cute clothes, and they’re the first to be rescued off sinking ships.
  • Dreams are like paper, they tear so easily.
  • I wanted a perfect ending. Now I’ve learned, the hard way, that some poems don’t rhyme, and some stories don’t have a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next.
  • The goal is to live a full, productive life even with all that ambiguity. No matter what happens, whether the cancer never flares up again or whether you die, the important thing is that the days that you have had you will have lived.
  • While we have the gift of life, it seems to me the only tragedy is to allow part of us to die – whether it is our spirit, our creativity or our glorious uniqueness.
  • You feel completely in control when you hear a wave of laughter coming back at you that you have caused.

 

Quoteable Nerdy Chick: Wilma Mankiller

Wilma Mankiller (b. 1945) made history when she became the first female principal chief of the Cherokee Nation in 1985.   She strove to improve health care, the education system and the government of her people. She served for a decade before deciding not to seek re-election because of poor health. Mankiller still advocates for  Native American rights and women’s rights.

Wilma Mankiller Quotes

  • The secret of our success is that we never, never give up.
  • A lot of young girls have looked to their career paths and have said they’d like to be chief. There’s been a change in the limits people see.
  • Everybody is sitting around saying, ‘Well, jeez, we need somebody to solve this problem of bias.’ That somebody is us. We all have to try to figure out a better way to get along.
  • I don’t think anybody anywhere can talk about the future of their people or of an organization without talking about education. Whoever controls the education of our children controls our future.
  • I’ve run into more discrimination as a woman than as an Indian.
  • Prior to my election, young Cherokee girls would never have thought that they might grow up and become chief.
  • One of the things my parents taught me, and I’ll always be grateful as a gift, is to not ever let anybody else define me; that for me to define myself . . . and I think that helped me a lot in assuming a leadership position.

Wilma Mankiller must have had some wonderful parents. I try to teach my children the same thing that she mentioned in that last quote.

 

 

The Quoteable Nerdy Chick: Gertrude Stein

1934 Portrait of Gertrude Stein by       Carl Van Vechten

I think Gertrude Stein was one of those people who can aptly be described as a “force of nature.”  Born in 1874, Gertrude Steinspent most of her adult life in France. She was a patron of the arts who entertained and supported painters like Matisse and Picasso, and writers like Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Stein was a writer herself, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, was perhaps her most famous work.

Stein and her brother Leo moved to Paris in 1903 and began collecting art. At the Metropolitan Museum of art, there is currently a fascinating exhibit of the work Gertrude, Leo, and their other brother Michael collected. I saw that collection on my trip to NY, and you can see it now by clicking HERE.

Stein led an intriguing life, full of art, literature, and intellectual pursuits. She wrote operas and novels. She posed for Picasso. There is much much more to learn about her than I can include here, but you can find out more about her at biography.com.

I love love love these quotes. Take a look.

Gertrude Stein Quotes

  • Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing.
  • A masterpiece… may be unwelcome but it is never dull.
  • If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me.
  • Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.
  • Let me listen to me and not to them.
  • I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich.
  • For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.
  •  You have to know what you want to get it.
  • Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?
  • One must dare to be happy.

 

 

Can I hear an “Amen”? I have never done this before, but I just had responses welling up inside me for all of these quotes. So out of respect for those who like purity, I am letting the quotes above stand alone. Purists, you can stop reading now. But if you are curious about my responses to these quotes, well, here they are.

 

“Writing and reading is to me synonymous with existing. ”Well, all writers feel this way. Thanks for representing, Gertrude!

“Why should a sequence of words be anything but a pleasure?”  This is why I love YA and MG. I can’t bear for a book to make me unhappy.

A masterpiece… may be unwelcome but it is never dull.  She absolutely nailed it! Some of our greatest works of art and literatures spawned tremendous controversy. Catcher in the Rye, anyone?

“If you can’t say anything nice about anyone else, come sit next to me.”  Really?  Gertrude Stein said that? I thought I saw it stitched on a sofa pillow at Cracker Barrel.

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” Whoa! Is this poignant or what? And she said this before Twitter, FB, Blogs, and cell phones.

“Let me listen to me and not to them.” I couldn’t say it better myself.

“I do want to get rich but I never want to do what there is to get rich.” I know, right? It is such a problem.

“For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts.”  Human nature at its best. Or worst. Depends on what we’re accepting.

“You have to know what you want to get it.” Amen. Just Amen.

“One must dare to be happy. ” This is true, but why is it so hard? We have to dare to give up our worries, our obsessions, our guilt, our selfishness… and if we can swing that, we might just make it to happiness!

See why I love these quotes? Stein’s speech is simple and direct, and what she said 100 years ago is applicable today.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Annie Lennox

So today I really wanted to select a female rocker to feature on the Quotable Nerdy Chick in honor of the release of SO YOU WANT TO BE A ROCK STAR by Audrey Vernick, and I discovered it was harder than I thought to find one whose quotes spoke to me. But I found one, probably because she was on my mind after hearing one of her songs on American Idol this week. And when I heard it sung by the contestant, all I could say to my husband was, “Why would ANYONE put themselves in the position of being compared to Annie Lennox?” So, in my search for female rocker quotes I ended up at Annie Lennox and I liked so much of what she had to say that it was hard to narrow it down to five quotes. But here are five of my favorites:

Annie Lennox Quotes

  •  Ask yourself: Have you been kind today? Make kindness your daily modus operandi and change your world.

 

  •  Dying is easy, it’s living that scares me to death.

 

  • Music is an extraordinary vehicle for expressing emotion – very powerful emotions. That’s what draws millions of people towards it. And, um, I found myself always going for these darker places and – people identify with that.

 

  • When you’re that successful, things have a momentum, and at a certain point you can’t really tell whether you have created the momentum or it’s creating you.

 

  • The future hasn’t happened yet and the past is gone. So I think the only moment we have is right here and no, and I try to make the best of those moments, the moments that I’m in.

I’m going to try to take that last quote to heart. Living in the moment has always been hard for me, but it is often crucial to happiness.

Annie Lennox, who many of us knew as half of the Eurythmics, is the most recognized female artist of the Brit Awards.  She is also a humanitarian and social activist. Last year she received an  Order of the British Empire from Queen Elizabeth II for her humanitarian work.

If you want to know how to be a rock star, you can enter this giveaway for what is sure to become the Rock Star manual HERE.