Jerry Spinelli quotes:

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  • I'm Sorry are two of the most powerful words in our language, especially when they are not flipped blithely over the shoulder but spoken from the heart. They help restore order, balance, harmony. They reduce pain. They heal broken friendship. If they were medecine, they'd be called a miracle.

  • I went to Gettysburg College, where the famous Civil War battle was fought. I majored in English. I would've liked to major in writing, but they didn't offer a major in that.

  • Did I ever tell you my pet peeve?' No,' I said. People who dress up their pets to look like Little Lord Fauntleroys or cowboys, clowns, ballerinas. As if it's not enough just to be a dog or cat or turtle.

  • Who are you if you lose your favorite person? Can you lose your favorite person without losing yourself? I reach for Stargirl and she's gone. I'm not me anymore.

  • She was elusive. She was today. She was tomorrow. She was the faintest scent of a cactus flower, the flitting shadow of an elf owl. We did not know what to make of her. In our minds we tried to pin her to a cork board like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew.

  • Just because so many conforming kids wake up every morning asking, 'What is everybody else going to wear today?' doesn't mean that they don't wish it were different. Peer pressure is just that: pressure.

  • I think I have a pretty goofy profile for a writer. It seems to me most writers were reading 'Little Women' when they were 6 months old. At the age of a lot of my readers, I wanted to be a major league baseball player. I didn't read much.

  • I played Little League in junior high and high school.

  • Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey.

  • When I was growing up, the first thing I wanted to be was a cowboy. That lasted till I was about ten. Then I wanted to be a baseball player. Preferably shortstop for the New York Yankees.

  • Usually it takes me about nine to 12 months to write a book.

  • When was the last time you used the words 'teach me'? Maybe not since you started first grade? Here's an irony about school: The daily grind of tests, homework, and pressures sometimes blunts rather than stimulates a thirst for knowledge.

  • Once, I was out of the house 93 days in a year. I was missing grandparents' days at schools and kids' birthdays and Valentine's Day, not to mention the fact that when you're on the road, you can't get anything done. I had to learn to say 'No,' cut back on travel.

  • Maybe it was the angle, but her fawn's eyes, looking up at me, seemed larger than ever. I had to make an effort to keep my balance lest I fall into them.

  • I did leave something behind with you: my heart. Of course, you didn't know it at the time. Maybe I didn't either. What have you done with my heart, Leo? Have you taken good care of it? Have you misplaced it?

  • It's a shame publishers send rejection slips. Writers should get something more substantial than a slip that amounts to a pile of confetti. Publishers should send something heavier. Editors should send out rejection bricks, so at the end of a lot of years, you would have something to show besides a wheelbarrow of rejection slips. Instead you could have enough bricks to build a house.

  • Kids still can be said to live in their own little world. Even if their parents are helicoptering around them, assigning play dates and so forth, I think they're still living in some sense of their own little perceptual worlds.

  • I've been writing since I was sixteen. At first, I wrote mostly short stories and poetry. The first thing I ever had published was a poem about a football game. It was printed in my local newspaper.

  • Write what you care about. If you do that, you stand the best chance of doing your best writing.

  • This was the start of a period that blurs as I try to recall it. Incidents seem to cascade and merge. Events become feelings, fellings become events. Head and heart are contrary historians.

  • She's alone, they kept telling themselves, and surely she danced in no one's arms, yet somehow that seemed to matter less and less. As the night went on, and clarinet and coyote call mingled beyond the lantern light, the magic of their own powder-blue jackets and orchids seemed to fade, and it came to them in small sensations that they were more alone than she was.

  • I was very naive, and I thought it was just a matter of writing my first book and sending it in, and for the rest of my life I would be writing books and collecting royalties. Nobody told me how hard it was going to be to get published.

  • Write about what you care about. If you do that, you're probably going to do your best writing, reach off the page and touch the reader. How are you going to make the reader care if you don't care yourself?

  • I seem to have a natural tendency to want to share my own observations and feelings with other people, and writing seems to be the way I'm best equipped to do that.

  • Sometimes I'm asked if I do research for my stories. The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first fifteen years of my life turned out to be one big research project.

  • The desert seems to be a brown wasteland of dry, prickly scrub whose only purpose is to serve as a setting for the majestic saguaros. Then, little by little, the plants of the desert begin to identify themselves: the porcupiny yucca, the beaver tail and prickly pear and barrel cacti, buckhorn and staghorn and devil's fingers, the tall, sky-reaching tendrils of the ocotillo.

  • Actually, between books is precisely when I do give myself vacations.

  • Tell me I didn't imagine it, Leo. Tell me that even though our bodies were in seperate states, our star selves shared an enchanted place. Tell me that right around noon today (eastern time) you had the strangest sensation: a tiny chill on your shoulder...a flutter in the heart...a shadow of strawberry-banana crossing your tongue...tell me you whispered my name.

  • Many girls have been romanced under the moon, and I don't mean to say moonlight is overrated, but few I think have known the magic of a sunrise kiss."

  • Where were we?" she saidGetting credit," I said."What about it?""Well, it's nice to get credit."The spokes of her rear wheel spun behind the curtain of her long skirt. She looked like a photograph from a hundred years ago. She turned her wide eyes on meIs it?" she said."

  • We long to be found, hoping our searchers have not given up and gone home.

  • Heart and head are contrary historians.

  • A strong relationship is an honest relationship, and no honest relationship is all peaches and cream. Love is the key. Where love abides, anger is but a passing visitor.

  • When you own nothing, it's easy to let things go.

  • Beware of solipsism Funny word. Sounds like it means "love of melons" or something. I looked it up. It means believing that "the self is the only reality." Am I solipsist?

  • You occupied my space. But because you were not in my present, when I looked into my future I saw . . . nothing. Isn't that sad? And stupid?

  • In every age there are plenty of people around to remind you what you cannot possibly do. Thank goodness, for these naysayers provide a priceless service: They spur...us to achieve great things.

  • No one's hurt is too small, no worry too removed, no blessing so elusive that it cannot be seen by the eyes in the back of the human heart.

  • In that moonlit hour, I acquired a sense of the otherness of things. I liked the feeling the moonlight gave me, as if it wasn't the opposite of day, but its underside, its private side, when the fabulous purred on my snow-white sheet like some dark cat come in from the desert.

  • Whom do I write for? I write for the story. Each story, it seems to me, knows best how it should be told. As I once put my ear to the railroad track, I listen now for the voice of my story.

  • It was the day of the worms. That first almost-warm, after-the-rainy-night day in April, when you bolt from your house to find yourself in a world of worms. They were as numerous here in the East End as they had been in the West. The sidewalks, the streets. The very places where they didn't belong. Forlorn, marooned on concrete and asphalt, no place to burrow, April's orphans.

  • You haven't lived until you've basked in the adoration of people.

  • Disagreement is not necessarily a reason to head for Splitsville. In fact, a relationship without disagreement is probably too brittle to last. Some of the best human bonds are forged in the fire of disagreement.

  • What she saw, she felt. Her eyes went straight to her heart.

  • if you learn to hate one or two persons... you'll soon hate millions of people.

  • If you start by hating one or two people, you won't be able to stop. Pretty soon you'll hate a hundred people.

  • So, I said, when does the enchantment start? We were sitting side by side, facing the mountains. "It started when the earth was born." Her eyes were closed. Her face was golden in the setting sun. "It never stops. It is, always. It's just here.

  • And the trouble with bad times is, you can't sleep through them.

  • She was bendable light: she shone around every corner of my day.

  • He tapped my chest. 'Happy is here.' He tapped his own chest. 'Here.'I looked down past my chin. 'Inside?''Inside.'It was getting crowded in there. First angel. Now happy. It seemed there was more to me than cabbage and turnips.

  • I felt alone on the planet, drifting through the cosmos. With both hands I reached out to the night. There was no answer. Or maybe I just couldn't hear it.

  • A baseball bat could not have hit me harder than that smile did. I was sixteen years old. In that time, how many thousands of smiles had been aimed at me? so why did this one feel like the first?

  • Nobody told me how hard it was going to be to get published. I wrote four novels that nobody wanted, sent them out all over, collected hundreds and hundreds of rejection slips.

  • Why fit in when you're born to stand out?

  • When a stargirl cries, she sheds not tears but light.

  • In our minds we tried to pin her to a corkboard like a butterfly, but the pin merely went through and away she flew

  • As we meandered, she said my name three times: "Stargirl?" "Yes?" "That was better than TV." "It was." "Stargirl?" "Yes?" "Does the sun do that everyday?" "Yes." "Stargirl?" "Yes?" "Everyday is sun day.

  • Stargirl began to improvise. She flung her arms to a make-believe crowd like a celebrity on parade. She waggled her fingers at the stars. She churned her fists like an egg-beater. Every action echoed down the line behind her. The three hops of the bunny became three struts of a vaudeville vamp. Then a penguin waddle. Then tippy-toed priss. Every new move brought new laughter from the line.

  • I faced the gaudy sunflower on her canvas bag -- it looked hand-painted and at last my eyes fell into hers. I said, 'Thanks for the card.' Her smile put the sunflower to shame. She walked off.

  • Her smile put the sunflower to shame.

  • Happy". I had not heard that word since Mr. Milgrom spoke it at the last Hanukkah. I asked him the question that had been on my mind since then. "Tata, what is happy?" He looked at me and at the ceiling and back to me. "Did you ever taste an orange?" he said.

  • I'm that way, goofy as it sounds. Sometimes I don't want things to happen-I'm talking about good things, even wonderful things-because once they happen, I can't look forward to them anymore. But there's an upside, too. Once a wonderful thing is over, I'm not all that sad because then I can start thinking about it, reliving and reliving it in the virtual world in my head.

  • Peer pressure is just that: pressure.

  • She dreams a lot. She dreams of Ondines and falling maidens and houses burning in the night. But search her dreams all you like and you'll never find Prince Charming. No knight on a white horse gallops into her dreams to carry her away. When she dreams of love, she dreams of smashed potatoes.

  • Where were we?" she said. "Getting credit," I said. "What about it?" "Well, it's nice to get credit." The spokes of her rear wheel spun behind the curtain of her long skirt. She looked like a photograph from a hundred years ago. She turned her wide eyes on me. "Is it?" she said.

  • Even including myself, my favorite author is Eileen Spinelli, who I happen to live with. She's a terrific writer and has written several of my all-time favorites.

  • In 'Hokey Pokey,' bikes are kind of more than bikes alone. They become mustangs; they become creatures that rip up the dust as they gallop across the Great Plains.

  • My first four books were not published because nobody wanted them. They were adult books, not kids' books.

  • More often than not, my reference point is not the kids or the grandkids but myself when I was that age. I remember the days at Hartranft Elementary and Stewart Junior High in Norristown.

  • I pointedly avoid doing sequels, since for the most part I find that a sequel rarely stands up to the original.

  • Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don't rent them out to tomorrow.

  • How much better might human communication be if words were as precious as diamonds? If each of us were allotted only 100 words per day?

  • Because life doesn't always happen according to a timetable or calendar. And feelings can't be scheduled.

  • Home is everything you can walk to.

  • Live today. Not yesterday. Not tomorrow. Just today. Inhabit your moments. Don't rent them out to tomorrow. Do you know what you're doing when you spend a moment wondering how things are going to turn out with Perry? You're cheating yourself out of today. Today is calling to you, trying to get your attention, but you're stuck on tomorrow, and today trickles away like water down a drain. You wake up the next morning and that today you wasted is gone forever. It's now yesterday. Some of those moments may have had wonderful things in store for you , but now you'll never know.

  • I feel like I'm playing chess underwater. The pieces keep floating away. I don't know where things are. I can't figure out tomorrow.

  • Friendship isn't always sunnyside up.

  • We wanted to define her, to wrap her up as we did each other, but we could not seem to get past "weird" and "strange" and "goofy." Her ways knocked us off balance.

  • Of course, all of their words for a thousand years could not fill the hole left by his mother, but they could raise a loving fence around it so he didn't keep falling in.

  • of all the unusual features of Stargirl, this struck me as the most remarkable. Bad things did not stick to her. Correction: her bad things did not stick to her. If we were hurt, if we were unhappy or otherwise victimized by life, she seemed to know about it, and to care, as soon as we did. But bad things falling on her -- unkind words, nasty stares, foot blisters -- she seemed unaware of. I never saw her look in a mirror, never heard her complain. All of her feelings, all of her attentions flowed outward. She had no ego.

  • She laughed, and the desert sang.

  • Letter from Mr. B: Why does a back scratch feel better coming from somebody else than if you do it yourself?

  • I had never realized how much I needed the attention of others to confirm my own presence.

  • Every day I hold my breath until I see her. Sometimes in class, sometimes in the hallway. I can't start breathing until I see her smile at me. She always does, but the next day I'm always afraid she won't. At lunch I'm afraid she'll smile more at BT than at me. I'm afraid she'll look at him in some way that she doesn't look at me. I'm afraid that when I go to bed at night I'll still be wondering. I'm always afraid. Is that what love is - fear?

  • We live in a silent explosion, Everything is flying away from everything else... flying away... flying away...

  • You are what you are" "Which is what? I wondered

  • Let's just be fabulously where we are and who we are. You be you and I'll be me, today and today and today, and let's trust the future to tomorrow.

  • I love surprises! That's what is great about reading. When you open a book, you never know what you'll find.

  • It was different with you, Leo. In the eyes and ears of my heart, you and the magic are one and the same.

  • I'm erased. I'm gone. I'm nothing. And then the world is free to flow into me like water into an empty bowl". And" I see. I hear. But not with eyes and ears. I'm not outside my world anymore, and I'm not really inside it either. The thing is, there's no difference between me and the universe. The boundary is gone. I am it and it is me. I am a stone, a cactus thorn. I am rain. I like that most of all, being rain.

  • The trouble with miracles is, they don't last long.

  • He doesn't think. He just does. A nonthinking doer.

  • He said even if it's too cloudy to see, the sun will still rise, it will still be there. "But that's the whole point," I said. "Seeing it." "Is it?" he said.

  • You liked me." I smiled. "You were smitten with me. You were speechless to behold my beauty. You had never met anyone so fascinating. You thought of me every waking minute. You dreamed about me. You couldn't stand it. You couldn't let such wonderfulness out of your sight. You had to follow me." I turned to Cinnamon. He licked my nose. "Don't give yourself so much credit. It was your rat I was after." She laughed, and the desert sang.

  • It (enchantment) started when the earth was born. It never stops. It is, always. It's just here.

  • And the more you love someone, the safer it is to be mad at them. Love can handle mad, no problem.

  • Angels and crows passed each other, one leaving, the other coming.

  • The golden rule of writing is to write what you care about. If you care about your topic, you'll do your best writing, and then you stand the best chance of really touching a reader in some way.

  • I became a children's author by accident.

  • I have a curious background for someone who turns out to be a writer.

  • In my mind, I'm writing for everybody.

  • Now I don't really write for adults or kids - I don't write for kids, I write about them. I think you need to do that, otherwise you end up preaching down.

  • I listen to the summer symphony outside my window. Truthfully, it's not a symphony at all. There's no tune, no melody, only the same notes over and over. Chirps and tweets and trills and burples. It's as if the insect orchestra is forever tuning its instruments, forever waiting for the maestro to tap his baton and bring them to order. I, for one, hope the maestro never comes. I love the music mess of it.

  • Events become feelings, feelings become events

  • We were awash in tiny attentions. Small gestures, words, empathies thought to be extinct came to life... We discovered the color of each other's eyes.

  • Throughout the day, Stargirl had been dropping money. She was the Johnny Appleseed of loose change: a penny here, a nickel there. Tossed to the sidewalk, laid on a shelf or bench. Even quarters. "I hate change," she said. "It's so . . . jangly." "Do you realize how much you must throw away in a year?" I said. "Did you ever see a little kid's face when he spots a penny on a sidewalk?

  • You are truly focused when you're so focused that you don't know you're focused.

  • I'll still be missing you as much as ever. I'l still smile at the memory of you. I'll still be - Okay, I'll say it again - loving you, but I won't abandon myseld for you. I cannot be faithful to you without being faithful to myself.

  • If we are destined to be together again, be happy to know you'll be getting the real me, not some blubbering half me.

  • She laughed when there was no joke. She danced when there was no music. She had no friends, yet she was the friendliest person in school.

  • Many girls have been romanced under the moon, and I don't mean to say moonlight is overrated, but few I think have known the magic of a sunrise kiss.

  • He's so cute, I can't help myself.

  • His smile was so wide he'd have had to break it into sections to fit it through a doorway

  • She taught me to revel. She taught me to wonder. She taught me to laugh. My sense of humor had always measured up to everyone else's; but timid introverted me, I showed it sparingly: I was a smiler. In her presence I threw back my head and laughed out loud for the first time in my life

  • I didn't realize we were being watched. We were all being watched

  • Or maybe you're merely uncomfortable with uncertainty. Like the rest of the human race.

  • Nobody has the time, the time cannot be owned. The time is free to everyone

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