Tag Archives: Mark Twain

“You have to write the book that wants to be written.”~Madeleine L’Engle–Beth Trissel

A few favorite writing quotes.

old books

“I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” 

 Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

“Let me live, love and say it well in good sentences.” 
Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar: A Novel

“Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.” 
 Mark Twain (I took his advice, to a point, and deleted needless ‘verys’)

Book, History, Writing, Old, Pen, Antique“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.” 
 Mark Twain, The Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” Saul Bellow (True)

“Fantasy is hardly an escape from reality. It’s a way of understanding it.” 
 Lloyd Alexander

“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” 
 Anaïs Nin

Mother and Child - Education--Victorian Era“One day I will find the right words, and they will be simple.” 
 Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums

“Write the kind of story you would like to read. People will give you all sorts of advice about writing, but if you are not writing something you like, no one else will like it either.” 
Meg Cabot

“History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” 
Winston Churchill

“There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.” 
Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

“Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” 
 E.L. Doctorow (I talk amongst ‘myselves’)

woman reading“You can make anything by writing.” 
C.S. Lewis (His Chronicles of Narnia are my all-time favorite stories)

“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.” 
Stephen King, On Writing

“Write what should not be forgotten.” 
Isabel Allende

“The most valuable of all talents is that of never using two words when one will do.” Thomas Jefferson

“There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.” 
 W. Somerset Maugham (My favorite writing quote)

Rose LetterAnd the best for last: “You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” 
 Madeleine L’Engle (Author of A Wrinkle in Time, a favorite story)

My March Garden in The Shenandoah Valley–Beth Trissel

daffodils in March snow“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.” ~Charles Dickens,  To this famous quote I add, ‘and then it snowed.’

“It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!”  ~Mark Twain

I heartily agree, and so I worked in my gardens on Saturday, quite mild out really, and daughter Elise  helped, which was greatly appreciated by this weary gardener. We got the peas and early greens…lettuce, bright lights Swiss chard, spinach, pok choy…plus radishes and assorted kinds of beets planted. *All heirloom seed. I added three Crimson rhubarb roots to the patch of red rhubarb. Only the traditional ‘been here forever’ green variety is reliably robust, but we keep trying. And then Sunday, Palm Sunday, (the little children were so precious at church waving their palms) it began to snow about mid afternoon. Same thing happened last Sunday. By this morning we have at least ten inches of the white stuff covering everything.

Elise went out yesterday with her camera at the start of the snow and took some lovely shots. Our old red barn with pussy willow in foreground.

snowy pussywillow by the old red barn on march 25

“Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn, “An Easter Hym

I hope the snow clears out by next weekend, which is Easter. Too early this year for me, but there it is. And I do love Easter whenever it comes.

“I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden.” ~Ruth Stout

This is one of my most favorite spring quotes. I fully agree with Ruth Stout and have done so. I am also attempting to practice her no till gardening method. Image below of the seeds (packets are on the stakes) I planted on Saturday before Sunday’s snow with the pussy willow, wheelbarrow, and barn in the pic.

Seeds I planted the day before the snow on March 24th

“No matter how long the winter, spring is sure to follow.” ~Proverb

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”  ~Doug Larson

Luca in the snow March 2013“Every spring is the only spring – a perpetual astonishment.”  ~Ellis Peters

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”  ~Mark Twain (And so say all of us!)

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feelings of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”  ~Edward Giobbi

To this I add, I hope I will have help with my gardens. Image of our rescue farm dog, Luca, at the start of the snow. We have two rescue farm dogs.

“The front door to springtime is a photographer’s best friend.” ~Terri Guillemets

Amen to that!

pussywillow against the barn in March 25 snow

We rooted pussy willow shoots in the garden last spring and were amazed that they all took off, and now we have a dozen blooming willows to move and give away to good homes. Some we will plant by the farm pond, but they cannot remain where they are because pussy willows grow far too large, even when pruned to keep in a garden.

Oh look, it’s snowing again.

“Yesterday the twig was brown and bare;
To-day the glint of green is there;
Tomorrow will be leaflets spare;
I know no thing so wondrous fair,
No miracle so strangely rare.
I wonder what will next be there!”
~L.H. Bailey

“First a howling blizzard woke us,
Then the rain came down to soak us,
And now before the eye can focus —
Crocus.”  ~Lilja Rogers

snpw crocus on march 25th

“I purr, therefore I am.”–For Cat Lovers–Beth Trissel

“Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.” ~ Mark Twain

(P. Cuthbert Wiggins, otherwise known as Percy the beloved)

“Most cats, when they are Out want to be In, and vice versa, and often simultaneously.”- Dr. Louis J. Camuti

There is, incidentally, no way of talking about cats that enables one to come off as a sane person. – Dan Greenberg

“Again I must remind you that a dog’s a dog–a cat’s a cat.” ~ T.S. Eliot

“There are no ordinary cats.” ~ Colette

(Newly arrived Pavel and the adored one, Sadie Sue)

“I purr, therefore I am.” ~ Anonymous

“A cat can maintain a position of curled up somnolence on your knee until you are nearly upright. To the last minute she hopes your conscience will get the better of you and you will settle down again.”- Pam Brown

“Cats like doors left open–in case they change their minds.”- Rosemary Nisbet

“The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” ~ Comedienne Paula Poundstone

“A cat is like a puzzle with no solution.” ~Anne Campbell

(Pavel actually NOT pestering Percy at this moment)

“Cat’s motto: No matter what you’ve done wrong, always try to make it look like the dog did it.” – Unknown

“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.” ~Tay Hohoff

“There is no single quality of the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage.” ~ Carl Van Vechten

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” ~ English proverb

(Minnie Mae playing with or escaping from Pavel)

“There is no more intrepid explorer than a kitten.” ~ Jules Champfleury

“A cat is there when you call her – if she doesn’t have something better to do.”- Bill Adler

“Poets generally love cats–because poets have no delusions about their own superiority.”- Marion Garretty

“A Home without a cat, and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat, may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove it’s title?” ~ Mark Twain

And a dog or two, I add.

(Pavel in a calm mode)

“Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods. Cats have never forgotten this.” – Anonymous

***For a collection of great cat quotes visit this swell site.

“Reach High, for Stars Lie Hidden in Your Soul.”–Inspiring Quotes and Images–Beth Trissel


I have spread my dreams beneath your feet. Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
Harriet Tubman

Reach high, for stars lie hidden in your soul. Dream deep, for every dream precedes the goal.
Pamela Vaull Starr

Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.
Henry David Thoreau

I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.
Patrick Henry

Hope is the dream of the waking man. ~French Proverb

To unpathed waters, undreamed shores. ~William Shakepeare

Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly. ~Lanston Hughes

Dreams are the touchstones of our character.
Henry David Thoreau

“It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.” – E. E. Cummings

“Great minds have great purposes, others have wishes. Little minds are tamed and subdued by misfortune; but great minds rise above them.”

Washington Irving

“The start is what stops most people.” – Don Shula

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosby

“To avoid criticism do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard

“It is during our failures that we discover our true desire for success.” ~ Kevin Ngo

“Don’t wait for something big to occur. Start where you are, with what you have, and that will always lead you into something greater.” – Mary Manin Morrissey

*Royalty free images

Once In A Blue Moon–Beth Trissel


From Blue Moons: myths, facts, history, and dates at Info Please:

“What is a Blue Moon?

There are in fact two definitions for a blue moon. According to the more recent definition, a blue moon is the second full moon in a calendar month. For a blue moon to occur, the first of the full moons must appear at or near the beginning of the month so that the second will fall within the same month (the average span between two moons is 29.5 days). The full Moon on Aug. 31, 2012, will be this type of blue moon; it will be the second full moon in one month.

The Other Kind of Blue Moon

The older definition, which is recorded in early issues of the Maine Farmer’s Almanac, states that the blue moon is the third full moon in a season that has four full moons. Why would one want to identify the third full moon in a season of four full moons? The answer is complex, and has to do with the Christian ecclesiastical calendar.

Some years have an extra full moon—13 instead of 12. Since the identity of the moons was important in the ecclesiastical calendar (the Paschal Moon, for example, used to be crucial for determining the date of Easter), a year with a 13th moon skewed the calendar, since there were names for only 12 moons. By identifying the extra, 13th moon as a blue moon, the ecclesiastical calendar was able to stay on track.”

For more on this intriguing subject visit the above link~

“Shoot for the moon and if you miss you will still be among the stars.”
Les Brown

If the Sun and Moon should ever doubt, they’d immediately go out..~William Blake

“There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon howls.”~ George Carlin

 If you strive for the moon, maybe you’ll get over the fence. ~James Wood

 The moon looks upon many night flowers; the night flowers see but one moon. ~Jean Ingelow

 The moon is a friend for the lonesome to talk to.~Carl Sandburg

 Every one is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody. ~Mark Twain

Oh, don’t let’s ask for the moon. We’ve already got the stars. ~Bette Davis


By Jove It’s My Birthday–Beth Trissel

And I love a good quote, so here are a few suitable selections for my special day. Feel free to add some I may have missed.

“When I was younger, I could remember anything, whether it happened or not.” – Mark Twain

“We turn not older with years, but newer every day.” Emily Dickinson

We are always the same age inside.
Gertrude Stein

It takes a long time to become young.
Pablo Picasso

Grow old along with me!
The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made.
Robert Browning

“Inside every older person is a younger person – wondering what the hell happened.” – Cora Harvey Armstrong

The years between fifty and seventy are the hardest. You are always being asked to do things, and yet you are not decrepit enough to turn them down.
T.S. Eliot

“The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate.”
~ Oprah Winfrey

“A diplomat is a man who always remembers a woman’s birthday but never remembers her age.” ~Robert Frost

“To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eye’d,
Such seems your beauty still.”
~ William Shakespeare

“Just when you think no one has taken any notice of your birthday, here come two friends with an empty honey pot and a broken balloon.”~Eeyore’s Gloomy Little Instruction Book

“After all, what are birthdays? Here today and gone tomorrow.”

Eeyore from The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne

“Eeyore,” said Owl, “Christopher Robin is giving a party.””Very interesting,” said Eeyore. “I suppose they will be sending me down the odd bits which got trodden on. Kind and Thoughtful. Not at all, don’t mention it.”

Witty, Humorous and Inspiring Quotes–Beth Trissel

I love a good quote. I hope you enjoy this eclectic collection.

“The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”
– Tom Clancy (1947-), paraphrasing Mark Twain

“Happiness is good health and a bad memory.”
Ingrid Bergman

“Victory goes to the player who makes the next-to-last mistake.”
– Savielly Grigorievitch TartakowerChessmaster

“A doctor can bury his mistakes but an architect can only advise his clients to plant vines.” – Frank Lloyd Wright

“Wit is educated insolence.” – Aristotle (384-322 B.C.)

“Do, or do not. There is no ‘try’.” – Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

“Destiny is not a matter of change, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” – William Jennings Bryan

“If you want to build a ship, don’t herd people together to collect wood and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.”
– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

“Never forget that it is the spirit with which you endow your work that makes it useful or futile.”
– Adelaide Hasse

“All for one; one for all.”
– Alexander Dumas (1824-1895)

“If you haven’t got anything nice to say about anybody, come sit next to me.”
– Alice Roosevelt Longworth

“The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them.”
– Albert Einstein

“Its not the size of the dog in the fight, its the size of the fight in the dog.”
– Mark Twain

“A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
– Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

“Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.”
Napoleon Bonaparte

“After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.”
– Cato the Elder (234-149 BC, AKA Marcus Porcius Cato)

“When a man is wrapped up in himself he makes a pretty small package.”
– John Ruskin

“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”
– Mark Twain

“They couldn’t hit an elephant at this dist–”
– General John Sedgwick (1813-1864), last words

“I don’t feel good.”
– Luther Burbank (1849-1926), last words

“Ask her to wait a moment – I am almost done.”
– Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777-1855), when informed that his wife was dying

“99 percent of lawyers give the rest a bad name.”
– Unknown

“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, prepare to die.”
– Klingon Proverb, Star Trek

“The greatest strength is gentleness.”
– Iroquois Proverb

“Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time and annoys the pig.”
– Proverb

“If you lose your temper, you’ve lost the argument.”
– Proverb

“Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”
– Chinese Proverb

“I have not failed, I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
– Thomas Edison (1874-1931)

“All science is either physics or stamp collecting.”
– Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937)

“The only possible conclusion the social sciences can draw is: some do, some don’t.”
– Ernest Rutherford

“A witty saying proves nothing.”
– Voltaire (1694-1778)  *To this I would argue ‘that may be, Voltaire, but it makes life a darn site more entertaining.’

“I would like to be able to admire a man’s opinions as I would his dog – without being expected to take it home with me.”- Frank A. Clark

“As I get older I notice the years less and the seasons more.”
– John Hubbard

***These quotes are from an excellent site: http://www.tk421.net/quotes/

***All royalty free images

“The ideal of calm exists in a sitting cat.” ~ Jules Reynard

“Ignorant people think it is the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it is the sickening grammar that they use.” ~ Mark Twain

(P. Cuthbert Wiggins, otherwise known as Percy the beloved)

“Again I must remind you that a dog’s a dog–a cat’s a cat.” ~ T.S. Eliot

“There are no ordinary cats.” ~ Colette

(Newly arrived Pavel and the adored one, Sadie Sue)

“I purr, therefore I am.” ~ Anonymous

“The problem with cats is that they get the exact same look on their face whether they see a moth or an axe-murderer.” ~ Comedienne Paula Poundstone

“A cat is like a puzzle with no solution.” ~Anne Campbell

(Pavel actually NOT pestering Percy at this moment)

“There are few things in life more heartwarming than to be welcomed by a cat.” ~Tay Hohoff

“There is no single quality of the cat that man could not emulate to his advantage.” ~ Carl Van Vechten

“In a cat’s eye, all things belong to cats.” ~ English proverb

(Minnie Mae playing with or escaping from Pavel)

“There is no more intrepid explorer than a kitten.” ~ Jules Champfleury

“A Home without a cat, and a well-fed, well-petted and properly revered cat, may be a perfect home, perhaps, but how can it prove it’s title?” ~ Mark Twain

And a dog or two, I add.

(Pavel in a calm mode)

***For a collection of great cat quotes visit this swell site.

Inspiring Pinterest Pins

From 42 Moving Pinterest Pins for Language Lovers:

Because I love great quotes, I’ve been asked to bring this excellent post to your attention, which I’m glad to do as it includes some of my favorite authors!  Pinterest is a wealth of information, also inspiration.

First up, my all time favorite Author C.S. Lewis: “I have learned now that while those who speak about ones miseries usually hurt, those who keep silence hurt more.”

Wow.  How wise and moving is that?

And from humorist Will Rogers: “Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”

Keep on going and growing!

From Margaret Atwood:

“i believe that everyone else my age is an adult while i am just in disguise.”

Me too. 🙂

On Happiness:  “I think we like to complicate things when really it is quite simple; find what it is that makes you happy and who it is that makes you happy and you are set. Promise.”

Eons ago, I paid a therapist to tell me this.  It’s how I came to be a writer.  And I do hang out with people who make me happy, except when they drive me nuts.

And from  2 Corinthians 12: 10  “For when I am weak then I am strong.”  Ultimate wisdom can certainly be found in the Bible.

From beloved Author Jane Austen: “It isn’t what we say or think that defines us but what we do.” (From Sense and Sensibility)

From the sharp-witted mind of Mark Twain: “Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great.”

And I can’t resist adding this from Twain: “Better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt.”

About Magic from Roald Dahl: “Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”

Here’s some Motivation for you by an unknown contributor: “Stop saying ‘I wish’ and start saying ‘I will.’

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.” ~ Joseph Chilton Pearce

Man does he have that right!

A Perfect Day from one of my favorite English poets John Keats: “Give me books, fruit, French wine and fine weather and a little music out of doors played by someone I do not know.”

On being Bonkers from Lewis Carol:

The Mad Hatter: “Have I gone mad?”

Alice: “I’m afraid so, you’re entirely bonkers. But I’ll tell you a secret.  All the best people are.”

To dreams:  “Why stop dreaming when you wake up?”

Here’s a good one for a worrier like me: “Stop thinking of what could go wrong and start thinking of what could go right.”

And a super quote from the ever optimistic Walt Disney, whom I remember watching on Sunday evenings when I was a child.  He introduced the Wonderful World of Disney television show and enchanted us all.  I loved him and his legacy lives on.

“Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we’re curious…and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  ―Walt Disney

***For the complete list of these wonderful quotes/pins visit:

42 Moving Pinterest Pins for Language Lovers:

Lincoln was the first President to have ‘this’ in the White House

A Cat.  Which gets back to my ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get kittens’ adage.  The going was definitely tough for Lincoln.  And for General Robert E. Lee, who, interestingly enough, also loved cats.   If only love of cats could have united these two great leaders.

*Image of much-loved cats.  The two oriental short hair kitties, Gabby and Pookah, are no longer with us, but our rescue kitty, Minnie Mae, still is.

There are many notable cat lovers in history.  To name a few:  The Bronte sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Ann.  I expect many writers names to pop up on this list.  Here’s another Charles Dickens.  Perhaps the best known author/cat lover is Mark Twain.   It might save time to note those writers who didn’t or don’t favor cats.  Let me know if you think of any.  No one comes to mind.

An interesting article, A Few Famous Cat Lovers, gives a more complete list.

“No matter how much cats fight, there always seems to be plenty of kittens.” – Abraham Lincoln

“The naming of cats is a difficult matter. It isn’t just one of your holiday games. You may think at first I’m mad as a hatter. When I tell you a cat must have three different names…” – T.S. Eliot

And most of ours do–P. Cuthbert Wiggins, for one.  The P. stands for Percival and so we call him Percy, a dignified and highly affectionate Tabby.  Also the first name of the Scarlet Pimpernel, I might add.

“When I play with my cat, how do I know that she is not passing time with me rather than I with her?” – Montaigne

*Image of Percy and our funny SPCA rescue mix, Mia, in their younger days, taken by my mom, Pat Churchman. Percy is also a rescue kitty.

“After scolding one’s cat one looks into its face and is seized by the ugly suspicion that it understood every word. And has filed it for reference.”- Charlotte Gray

“You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals.”- George Mikes

Cats are kindly masters, just so long as you remember your place.”- Paul Gray

“One must love a cat on its own terms.”- Paul Gray

“Prowling his own quiet backyard or asleep by the fire, he is still only a whisker away from the wilds.” – Jean Burden

“Cats do not have to be shown how to have a good time, for they are unfailing ingenious in that respect.” – James Mason

Our Siamese tabby mix, Pavel, is a kitten/cat now, small for his age, insatiably curious, and ever on the prowl for playthings.  A gentle paw tags me for a round of ‘get the kitten’ which involves chasing him through the house.   In his blue eyes I see intelligence and affection, but given on his terms.  He’s quite busy, you see.  Apart from naps.

*Image of Pave, our latest rescue kitty, taken by daughter Elise.

“As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind.” – Cleveland Amory