About Sundays

My mother collects words the way another woman collects charms on a bracelet. Each one is special, some more than others. Although she writes books–five to date, all of them in Spanish–she struggles when it comes to expressing how she feels. The exceptions are anger and disappointment. Those words roll off the tongue like slick candy. (More like spitballs.)

Every birthday card she has ever written me says: I love you very much!! Mom. Two exclamation points, always. Ellipses, often. For a long time she included a quote she felt represented me or my year ahead. She did this for my brothers, too, and in the days before the internet you could find her sitting in her library with at least two of her quotation books on her lap. You can still find her sitting with books in her lap. I’m confident she has no idea you can find quotes on the internet.

When I first got married, she used to send me letters filled with quotes. A quick greeting (You know your mother…!!) followed by a series of quotes she felt I needed to read. I miss those letters. They stopped, probably because she felt I was grown up, but I don’t know that children ever really grow up.

The earth is full of people with clever things to say. You need only go on Pinterest to figure that out. There are quotes about writing, living, and dying. There are quotes about loving, hating, and letting go. There are quotes about running. Quotes about travel. Quotes about faith and despair and apathy. There are a lot of quotes!

Being the quote lover that I am, I pinned many of them at first. Then, one day I heard of this pin. The photographer of the picture commented that it was unauthorized use of her image and requested that the pin be taken down. The original pinner and at least one other person told her lighten up, and that if she didn’t want people to use her work she shouldn’t have put it on the internet.

The most frustrating thing about mean and stupid people is that they are unavoidable.

Honestly, it never occurred to me that many or some or even one of those quote-images used stolen photography. Never even crossed my mind, probably because it’s something I would never consider doing. I stopped pinning quotes after that unless I could verify the image wasn’t stolen. I’ve had to pass up on a lot of pretty pins.

That’s what some Sundays are going to be about around here. If I find a picture of mine I like that goes with a quote I like just as much, I’ll put them together. If I come up empty that week, so be it. It’s a semi-regular feature, and I already sneaked one in. It was a response to a minor freak out I had about fan fiction on facebook.

It’s part dedication to my mom, part opportunity for me to keep collecting the words I love so much. Of course, it’s okay for anyone to pin and share–just not sell. Not that anyone would want to sell my photos, but you know.


The letters pictured above are from my mom in 2001, shortly after I got married. I believe I was struggling/hating every minute of law school at the time. I framed them immediately and hung them in my office. They’re only in the laundry room because it’s prettier than our office, but I might change out the frames (12 years, it’s time) and hang them above my desk.

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  1. Thank you for doing this. It is so important to give credit where credit is due. Especially ironic is the idea that people acknowledge the person who made the quotation but feel free to use an image simply because it is on the internet. Telling photographers they shouldn’t put photos on the internet if they don’t want them used is like telling authors they should expect to be plagiarized since they wrote a book. I teach third and fourth grade and a lot of time is spent teaching them how to attribute photos they find through creative commons searches. If anyone understands fairness and wanting credit, it’s 8 and 9 year olds!

  2. I wanted to comment on your recent post where you mentioned being busy but I, ah, didn’t have time. But it still fits here! Partly due to stressed out behavior that should never be repeated, and with some William Morris inspiration from you, this year has been about finding a less busy place into head. So my mantra this year has been the quote by Socrates, “Beware the barrenness of a busy life.” I find myself wishing away the present, in search of that less busy future that would never come. Thanks for sharing yourself here.

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