The truth beyond the fetish’s glimmering mirage is the relationship of laborer to product; it is the social account of how that object came to be. In this view every commodity, beneath the mantle of its price tag, is a hieroglyph ripe for deciphering, a riddle whose solution lies in the story of the worker who made it and the conditions under which it was made.
― Leah Hager Cohen, Glass, Paper, Beans: Revolutions on the Nature and Value of Ordinary Things
I do understand that they fall when I’m least able to pay attention because poems fall not from a tree, really, but from the richly pollinated boughs of an ordinary life, buzzing, as lives do, with clamor and glory. They are easy to miss but everywhere: poetry just is, whether we revere it or try to put it in prison. It is elementary grace, communicated from one soul to another.
―Barbara Kingsolver, Small Wonder
As a photographer you have a deep love for light, life and yourself. You know that the eyes of love aren’t blind, they are wide open. Only when your eye, heart and soul shine brighter than the sun, you realize how ordinary it is to love the beautiful, and how beautiful it is to love the ordinary.
There needs be but so little to encourage beauty in our soul; so little to awaken the slumbering angels; or perhaps is there no need of awakening — it is enough that we lull them not to sleep. It requires more effort to fall, perhaps, than to rise. Can we, without putting constraint upon ourselves, confine our thoughts to everyday things at times when the sea stretches before us, and we are face to face with the night? And what soul is there but knows that it is ever confronting the sea, ever in presence of an eternal night? Did we but dread beauty less it would come about that nought else in life would be visible; for in reality it is beauty that underlies everything, it is beauty alone that exists.
―Maurice Maeterlinck, “The Inner Beauty”
There is a light in this world. A healing spirit more powerful than any darkness we may encounter. We sometime lose sight of this force when there is suffering, and too much pain. Then suddenly, the spirit will emerge through the lives of ordinary people who hear a call and answer in extraordinary ways.
Public Domain Image via the US Department of Agriculture
When my parents were liberated, four years before I was born, they found that the ordinary world outside the camp had been eradicated. There was no more simple meal, no thing was less than extraordinary: a fork, a mattress, a clean shirt, a book. Not to mention such things that can make one weep: an orange, meat and vegetables, hot water. There was no ordinariness to return to, no refuge from the blinding potency of things, an apple screaming its sweet juice.
― Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces
Core (Cored Sculpture), Isamu Noguchi, 1978 Noguchi Museum, Long Island City, Queens, New York, USA, Image by Katherine McDaniel
Take a commonplace, clean it and polish it, light it so that it produces the same effect of youth and freshness and originality and spontaneity as it did originally, and you have done a poet’s job. The rest is literature.
It’s a popular fact that 90 percent of the brain is not used and, like most popular facts, it is wrong. . . . It is used. One of its functions is to make the miraculous seem ordinary, to turn the unusual into the usual. Otherwise, human beings, faced with the daily wondrousness of everything, would go around wearing a stupid grin, saying “Wow,” a lot. Part of the brain exists to stop this from happening.