Thursday, March 15, 2012

Introducing "Wilder Words" + Words from Patti Smith

I am thrilled to announce that starting today, I am launching a new series called Wilder Words. As long as I’ve been able to read (so from the time I was three months old) I’ve been collecting quotations. I read obsessively; I always have a book, a magazine, or a newspaper in my bag when I leave the house in case I have to unexpectedly wait somewhere, and evenings when I’m home and not getting posts ready I lie down on the couch and devour books or articles. I’ve been known, in dire situations, to resort to reading the backs of shampoo bottles in the shower, those weird advertising sections on Russia and China that sometimes come in the New York Times, and the pamphlets on insomnia at the doctor’s office.

But why am I telling you this? Not, as it may seem, to brag about how good I am at reading (though I was in the advanced group in first grade; we read The Boxcar Children), but because this habit of mine means that over the years I’ve collected a fair amount of quotations. I’ve kept them all in a word document cleverly titled “quotes.doc” and, until now, haven’t really had an outlet for them. Actually, I take that back, the word doc did help me put together a killer collection of quotations on my high school yearbook page. However, the world outside of school doesn’t have yearbooks, so since then they've just been collecting virtual dust inside my computer (more after the jump).

But now, because I have a blog and can put whatever I want up on it, you get to reap the benefits of my obsessive word collecting. Starting now, each day I’m going to post a quotation from a book, song, article, or shampoo bottle that I write out and take a photo of. I’ll include the link where you can find the full quotation and the context for it; this will allow me to share some good thoughts, books, songs, and articles with you. You can also find the photos of the quotations on my Pinterest board called “Wilder Words.”

The first Wilder Words quotation comes from a New York Times Magazine interview with Patti Smith in 2008 while she was working on her memoir Just Kids (which I still need to read). I remember finishing the interview and being really taken with the section above, so I wrote it down. In fact, it’s what prompted me to start this series; the other day I felt inexplicably sad, and out of the blue Patti's advice popped into my head. So I tried it. I smiled. And it worked; I started to giggle a little bit, and then felt this lovely sense of peace. I exhaled and went, “all right.”

I thought that if it brought me such a sense of relief, it would be nice to share with the world, and so Wilder Words was born. I recommend giving Patti's method a shot the next time you access some of that pain we all carry around. The worst that could happen is you smile. And that’s not so bad.


  1. I was lucky to see her pass my friend and I on the street in NYC. Super cool. I love Patti.


    1. No way! Cortnie, that is so cool! Jealous. She's the man. Woman, rather.


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