Jessica Weston’s Wednesday Column: The Book of Quotes

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“The purpose of life is to help make things better in one way or another.”Robert F. Kennedy

When my marriage hit the mark, I started writing quotes that I liked. I saved them in a pale aqua binder I bought at the end of the Staples department store in Ridgecrest.

Quotes ranged from Bible quotes to dialogues from Anne Rice’s vampire novels and online self-help websites. What they had in common was that the words kind of inspired me. I wrote down every stray sentence that I thought could help me get through this difficult time with my soul intact.

“We must accept limited disappointment but never lose infinite hope.” – Martin Luther King jr.

The book stayed with me on my new trip to Ridgecrest.

At first, I wrote things down regularly and reread the entire book almost daily. After I got the job at DI and became busier and perhaps more satisfied, the pace of entries slowed down. Finally, I kind of forgot about it, except in memory of a difficult time.

“But sooner or later luck happens to you, if it does come at all, you must know that you were lucky.” –Tennessee Williams

That all changed in July 2019. After the Ridgecrest earthquakes, I found the newspaper under a huge pile of books in my ravaged room. It seemed to be fate. I read everything and started recording quotes again.

Less than 8 months elapsed between the earthquakes and the actual start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many of us, life never returned to normal and has been in a state of upheaval ever since.

As befits the chaos of the pandemic, I managed to lose my original book one way or another, but found it today. As I reread my favorite sayings, I am struck by recurring themes: patriotism, freedom, romanticism and an sometimes twisted optimism.

“It’s not that I’m that smart, it’s just that I stay with issues longer.” – Albert Einstein

Recording those random snippets in the moment is about cheering me up or finding in someone else’s words the strength and motivation to keep going.

Read as a whole, they look different. More than anything, the quotes serve as an impressionist story of where I’ve been and hopefully where I’m going.

Most of the past two years have been tough on all of us.

I will continue and I hope you will too.

May we find the words we need to inspire us all.

“The secret to moving forward is to start.” – Mark Twain

Jessica Weston is an award-winning columnist and covers the city for the Daily Independent. She can be reached at jweston@gannett.com.


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