The first Stephen King book I ever read was Misery. I was nine, and there was no going back to Goosebumps after that; I still cringe any time someone says the word "hobbling." King is great for quick scares and lifelong nightmares, but his work is sometimes overlooked as "serious" because of his place in the world of pop culture. And yet, some of the things I learned from his writing have become lessons I carry with me everyday. They are the words I turn to when I need motivation, inspiration, or even strength. Here is a list of my absolute favorites, the ones you need in your life and don't even know it.
Reading in bed can be heaven, assuming you can get just the right amount of light on the page and aren't prone to spilling your coffee or cognac on the sheets. Maybe it's the forever-English major in me, but nothing heals the soul more than curling up with a good book and a glass of red wine at night or Venti iced coffee from Starbucks in the morning. I currently have a stack of books in waiting, but shockingly, it's hard to find the time to read when my children are lifelong members of the No Nap Brigade. Those moments of serenity are few and far between, but they are beautiful.
Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.
I literally have this blown up in poster form in my living room. I haven't met a person yet who hasn't seen The Shawshank Redemption, but countless people are surprised when they find out it comes from King's collection of novellas Different Seasons. This quote is the epitome of optimism in the face of adversity and reminds us to always keep fighting.
The place where you made your stand never mattered, only that you were there, and still on your feet. Be present. Stand up for what you believe in. Claim your strength and reason. All of these things are reflected in these words. I haven't been able to scroll through any newsfeed recently without seeing some post sharing activism, protest, or march. At a time where so many accuse "this generation" of being apathetic or uninvolved, it is encouraging to see people uniting behind their beliefs--even if politics finds many of us at polar opposite points. Whether your battle is personal or social, the act of choosing to stand is what matters.
It always comes down to just two choices: get busy living, or get busy dying.
If you're reading this in Morgan Freeman's voice right now, you win. This is another gem from his novella Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption that never gets old. I sometimes fall into the terrible habit of being indecisive or hesitant when it comes to figuring out what I want. For a while, I made it a goal to be the "yes man" in order to do things I might have previously turned down. Were they all good choices? NOPE. But at the very least I have some entertaining stories up my sleeve.
Living by your wits is always knowing where the wasps are.
I imagine this is how Liam Neeson hones his particular set of skills--because when you're walking into a room full of Albanian killers trafficking drugs and women, you need to be prepared. You can't get caught up in the other emotions--fear of failing, pain, or despair at the thought of never seeing your loved ones again. You have to focus, keep your wits about you, and take care of business.
We make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones. I was watching Vice News Tonight cover the topic of horror movie "blue prints," and I was reminded of a paper I wrote for my Philosophy seminar senior year at Le Moyne where I asked the question, "Why do we watch scary movies?" Seriously. Why would anyone want to sit down (in the dark, alone, because you have to watch scary movies the right way) for an hour and a half of torture, demons, or insane clown puppets telling you to, "Live or die, make your choice." That's the thing, though. There is so much truly terrifying shit happening in the world today that most of these scenarios seem ridiculous even as I type them. What better way to find an escape than to create a fictional environment where we can all be the hero, the survivor, the good guy.
Talent is cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work. Back in the day of AIM profiles, this was one of my go-to quotes (always surrounded by lots of ~*~*s, because AIM profiles were serious business). This one seems more applicable today than ever before. Gone are the days of chasing pavement; who needs to work hard when you have people becoming YouTube famous and reality shows have their own Emmy nominations? Perhaps this makes me outdated or, dare I say, grouchy, but there has never been a short supply of talent. The thing we seem to forget in today's on-demand society is that being talented is just not enough. Some people have amazing skills and will go completely unnoticed their whole lives. If you want the success, you have to put in the hard work. End of story.
A coward judges all he sees by who he is. I'm talking to you here, internet trolls. For the life of me, I cannot believe headlines this week revolved around Lady Gaga's stomach. The ones casting judgement online, hiding behind their anonymous handles and making deplorable, hurtful comments, wouldn't dare say these things to her in person. As great as the internet is, it is also a suck-hole of negativity, and it is so easy to define who we are by the likes on our pictures or comments on our posts. Be mindful of what you're putting out into the world. No one likes a troll.
The scariest moment is always just before you start.
Anything new is scary. Most of us don't do well with change, and for some, the fear of it is enough to keep them stagnant and complacent where they are--never taking chances or venturing out for new opportunities. What we know is safe and bubblewrapped. Sometimes we need a kick in the ass and reminder that taking the first step is always the hardest.
The road to hell is paved with adverbs. Truly, madly, deeply, adverbs are everywhere. You'll feel (much) better when you (definitely) simplify your (amazingly) wonderful vocabulary.
Last but not least, if there is one thing we can all agree on it's this: It doesn't matter how old you are. Clowns will always be creepy AF.