Back in the late 80s and early 90s, in Metro Manila, I collected a lot of poetry, anecdotes, and quotes, among others. Three of my favorites are Hugh Prather‘s “Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become A Person”, Joe Pintauro‘s “Kites at Empty Airports”, and Rod McKuen‘s “In Someone’s Shadow”.
In the late 90s, someone gave me a copy of “Living, Loving, and Learning” by Leo Buscaglia and it instantly became a favorite. I added it to my list.
I’ve tried so many times to look for collections like theirs but I have been unable to. I’m sure there are a lot of awesome poets and authors all over the world, but none has given me the kind of effect that I experienced the minute I started reading Pintauro, McKuen, Prather, and Buscaglia.
It’s quite difficult to get a copy of their collections now, so I haven’t had the chance to replace the copies that I lost. And I haven’t been able to share their works with my friends. So, I decided to just put some of them here so you can experience the magic of their thoughts and words, too.
BY HUGH PRATHER (From “Notes to Myself: My Struggle to Become A Person)
- I sometimes react to making a mistake as if I have betrayed myself. My fear of making a mistake seems to be based on the hidden assumption that I am potentially perfect and that if I can just be very careful, I will not fall from heaven. But a mistake is a declaration of the way I am, a jolt to the way I intend, a reminder I am not dealing with the facts. When I have listened to my mistakes, I have grown. (Side note: I used to be really worried – even afraid – of making mistakes because I thought that people would either get mad at me or make fun of me, or think that I’m stupid. Reading this several times a day really helped me overcome my fear of making mistakes.)
- My trouble is I analyze life instead of live it. (I know this will resonate with a lot of people.)
- It seems that I have to get in touch with my desire to hurt before I can get in touch with my desire not to hurt.
- If the desire to write is not accompanied by actual writing then the desire is not to write. (This has motivated me a lot of times – times when I didn’t feel the “inspiration” to write.)
- I believe that solitude is a profound and needed act of self-love and self-appreciation. (I say this to myself when I want to be alone but am reluctant to be so because of what people may think. This has become some sort of an affirmation for m.)
- I don’t want to listen to listen to just what you say. I want to feel what you mean.
- Love is not saying nice things to people or smiling or doing good deeds. Love is love. Don’t strive for it, BE IT.
- Ideas are clean. They soar in the serene supernal. I can take them out and look at them; they fit in books, they lead me down that narrow way. And in the morning, they are there.
BY JOE PINTAURO, from the collection Kites at Empty Airports COLD deep down, i was glad it was cold, for while i was keeping you warm i was secretly loving you ❤ BLACK MOON the moon is nothing but black rock in black sky without the sun to give it to us round and silver in dark velvet heaven every night BLUE GREEN this close i can see the veins of your face through your miraculous skin your eyes' light blue intelligence discovering mine are green my green must speak all my promises, my truth the green you see when you look into me this way is all the words i have left your face means so much to my life. THE ONLY PEBBLE the blonde hairs of your back dazzled the afternoon at night i watched you asleep with i love you still on your lips you are the only pebble on the beach i am the moon. ROD MCKUEN, from the collection In Someone's Shadow 1. Lie down and leave your imprint in the sand, my hand will trace it into everything I need. That's how reality begins, shadows made something real or reality turned back into a shadow. I need the sureness of the shadow world again To make me whole. 2. I need the comfort of a friendly back or belly Seen sometimes in magazines Or made up in my mind. 3. NIGHT I can just about get through the day but the night makes me nervous. Not for any reason except maybe that it catches you unaware and follows you the way a woman follows when she wants something. I've been in every kind of night so I shouldn't be afraid of darkness but still the night makes me nervous. 4. BEND DOWN AND TOUCH ME Bend down and touch me with your eyes Make every morning hold a new surprise, then when I stumble from my sleep yours is the first face that I'll see. And as I amble through the day be there to guide me all along my way. If I should falter and fall your shoulder's near enough to touch. Follow me from darkness into light then we'll go back again through every midnight. Bend down and touch me with your eyes Let every evening hold a new surprise. So when I tumble into sleep yours is the last face that I'll see. 5. I'LL CATCH THE SUN I'll catch the sun And never give it back again. I'll catch the sun and keep it for my own. And in a world where no one umderstands I'll take my outstretched hand and offer it to anyone who comes along and tells me he's in need of love. In need of hope or maybe just a friend. Perhaps in time I'll even share my sun with that new anyone to whom I gave my hand.
BY LEO BUSCAGLIA, quotes from Living, Loving, and Learning
• You are all you have. Therefore, make yourself the most beautiful, tender, wonderful, fantastic person in the world. And then you will always survive.
• Perhaps love is the process of my leading you gently back to yourself….Not to where I want you to be, but to who you are.
• Words are the freezing of reality.
• Love is life in all of its aspects. And if you miss love, you miss life. Please don’t.
• Starting each day, I shall strive to be more aware of the beautiful things in our world.
• The hardest battle you are ever going to have to fight is the battle to be just you.
• Education should be the process of helping everyone to discover his uniqueness.
• The easiest thing to be in the world is you. The most difficult thing to be is what other people want you to be. Don’t let them put you in that position.