The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Virginia Woolf

File:Cameron julia jackson.jpgWhen I read A Room of One’s Own in college, I truly believed Virginia Woolf was talking directly to me. In fact, when I lived in London, I would sometimes walk by her childhood home at  at 22 Hyde Park Gate in Kensington, in the hopes that inspiration would wash over me. One of the greatest novelists of the twentieth century, Virginia is both extremely nerdy and completely quotable.



Quotes from Virginia Woolf:

  • “For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
  • “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
  • “Every secret of a writer’s soul, every experience of his life, every quality of his mind is written large in his works.”
  • “Women have served all these centuries as looking glasses possessing the power of reflecting the figure of man at twice its natural size.”
  • “If you do not tell the truth about yourself you cannot tell it about other people.”

Learn more about Virgina HERE.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Pattie Maes

I first heard of Pattie Maes in 1997 in the most unlikely place – the pages of People Magazine’s Most Beautiful People edition. The reason she stood out was because she was not an actress or a movie star – Pattie was then an associate professor at the MIT Media Laboratory. Instantly, I thought, here’s a woman who has it all – smart, successful, beautiful, and visionary. Pretty much the epitome of the Nerdy Chick.

Currently, Pattie is the director of the Media Lab’s Fluid Interfaces group (which she founded) and the associate Department Head for the Media, Arts and Sciences Department (which all means that at science juggernaut MIT, Pattie is a mover and shaker). Her research is on the interaction between humans and computers and how computers can help us be smarter, something she calls “intelligence augmentation.” In other words, she isn’t just studying science – she’s creating new fields that other people haven’t imagined.

Quotes from Pattie Maes:

  • [On her life motto] “I am just being playful. I like working hard and having fun. It is really my hobby rather than work. In our team it is all about staying playful, open-minded and silly. It’s about taking risks and trying to never grow up. We just have fun.”
  • “We like to invent new disciplines or look at new problems, and invent bandwagons rather than jump on them.”
  • “We are a social species, and we can benefit from each other’s intelligence and each other’s problem solving.”
  • “I try to eat healthy, but being Belgian, I’m also addicted to chocolate.”

Learn more about Pattie HERE.

The Quoteable Nerdy Chick: Jeannette Rankin

Almost a century ago, the first woman was elected to the US Congress. It was in 1917 that  pacifist Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was chosen to represent the state of Montana in the House of Representatives. When you read what she has to say, you’ll see that women have been saying the a lot of the same things ever since then. To find out more about her chick HERE.

Jeannette Rankin Quotes:

• We’re half the people; we should be half the Congress.

• Men and women are like right and left hands; it doesn’t make sense not to use both.

• You take people as far as they will go, not as far as you would like them to go.

• The individual woman is required . . . a thousand times a day to choose either to accept her appointed role and thereby rescue her good disposition out of the wreckage of her self-respect, or else follow an independent line of behavior and rescue her self-respect out of the wreckage of her good disposition.

• As a woman, I can’t go to war, and I refuse to send anyone else.

• If I had my life to live over, I would do it all again, but this time I would be nastier.

Sadly, and incredibly, Montana has yet to elect another female to congress. And four states have yet to elect a woman to either the House or the Senate. For a list of women legislators by state click HERE.



The Quoteable Nerdy Chick: Carole King

Carole King (born Carol Klein in 1942) is an American singer and songwriter. I was still a kid when her songs started topping the charts. I didn’t really discover her music until I was in college, and when I did, I was thrilled to find her best selling album Tapestry in my Dad’s collection. I listened to it over and over, I wrote down the lyrics, I memorized the words. At times, it seemed like Carole King was speaking to me. If you read the quotes below, you’ll see that this was one of her goals. In fact, it is the goal of many artists, myself included.  Sometimes King wrote songs by herself, sometimes she collaborated. She has been called the most successful female songwriter of all times, because of the over 100 songs she wrote that landed on the Billboard charts. So, here are a few words from one of the greatest songwriters of all times. Enjoy. Then go listen to Tapestry.


Carole King Quotes:

  • I just do what I do and assume it’s going to be well received if I’m good at it.
  • I’m really in a place where I’m not trying to be anything other than what I am.
  • It’s about connections. I want to connect with people; I want to make people think “Yeah, that’s how I feel.” And if I can do that , that’s an accomplishment.
  • Tapestry was the album in which it all came together.
  • Making the demo is a natural product of writing a song; after that, I’m happy to hear other people do it in other ways.

I hope Carole King continues making music for years and years!

* The above photo of Carole King was taken by Michael Borkson while she was being interviewed at the JFK Presidential Library-Boston, Mass. (4/12/2012).

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Margaret Mead

Margaret Mead (1901 – 1979) was an American anthropologist. She famously studied the influences of culture on personality. Much of her work was done in Samoa with the people who lived there. Her observations became prominent in the 1960s and 1970s. She is credited with helping start the sexual revolution. I had a very hard time narrowing down her quotes to ten, and have to admit that I may have feature her again in the future to get all of the good stuff in! To find out more about her click HERE.

          Margaret Mead Quotes

  • Always remember that you are absolutely unique. Just like everyone else.
  • As long as any adult thinks that he, like the parents and teachers of old, can become introspective, invoking his own youth to understand the youth before him, he is lost.
  • I do not believe in using women in combat, because females are too fierce.
  • I learned the value of hard work by working hard.
  • I must admit that I personally measure success in terms of the contributions an individual makes to her or his fellow human beings.
  • I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had.
  • We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.
  • Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
  • Nobody has ever before asked the nuclear family to live all by itself in a box the way we do. With no relatives, no support, we’ve put it in an impossible situation.
  • What people say, what people do, and what they say they do are entirely different things.

How many of those quotes would be great printed on a t-shirt? 🙂

Check out our last post! Interview with Jaime Reed and a giveaway of two books. Giveaway goes through July 17!

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.


The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Harriet Beecher Stowe

Did you know that Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) wrote over thirty books? I didn’t. I knew only of one of her titles: Uncle Tom’s Cabin. It is said that when Abraham Lincoln met her, he said, “”So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that started this great war.”  Uncle Tom’s Cabin was, of course, the little book. If you visit the website for The Harriet Beecher Stowe Center, you will find out many interesting things you may not have known about this woman whose most famous book was published in 1851 and who continued working to fight social injustice for over four decades following its publication. The first quote below explains her rationale for writing Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I think it’s a beautiful statement.

Harriet Beecher Stowe Quotes

  • I wrote what I did because as a woman, as a mother, I was oppressed and broken-hearted with the sorrows and injustice I saw, because as a Christian I felt the dishonor to Christianity – because as a lover of my county, I trembled at the coming day of wrath.
  • A woman’s health is her capital.
  • Any mind that is capable of real sorrow is capable of good.
  • Most mothers are instinctive philosophers.
  • So much has been said and sung of beautiful young girls, why don’t somebody wake up to the beauty of old women?
  • Women are the real architects of society.

The Quotable Nerdy Chick: Georgia O’Keefe

Photo by Alfred Stieglitz

Georgia O’Keeffe (1887-1986) was the first American woman to really distinguish herself as a modern artist, paving the way for other women. My mother, who is a watercolorist, introduced me to O’Keefe’s work when I was a child. She particularly liked O’Keefe’s large paintings of flowers. I love them too. O’Keeffe, who married photographer and gallery owner Alfred Stieglitz, had an interesting and unusual life and a long career. You can read more about her and see her work at the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum site HERE.  She truly used painting as a form of expression, and that is reflected in her quotes below.

Georgia O’Keeffe Quotes 

  • I’ve been absolutely terrified every moment of my life – and I’ve never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do.
  • I often painted fragments of things because it seemed to make my statement as well as or better than the whole could.
  • Marks on paper are free – free speech – press – pictures all go together I suppose.
  • Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven’t time, and to see takes time – like to have a friend takes time.
  • I decided that if I could paint that flower in a huge scale, you could not ignore its beauty.
  • I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I had no words for.
  • One cannot be an American by going about saying that one is an American. It is necessary to feel America, like America, love America and then work.
From what I’ve read about O’Keefe, it is hard to imagine her being terrified, like she mentions in the first quote. But if she was, she certainly a role model for not letting our fears get in the ways of our successes.