Though these days the term wordmonger refers to "a writer or speaker who uses language pretentiously or carelessly," please join me in proposing a new meaning. A fishmonger appreciates and promotes fish, therefore, a wordmonger does the same for words.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

The Well

The Well

Last month I spent a glorious week at the Highlights Foundation, learning from the miraculous Patti Gauch. I can’t say enough about her dedication, gentleness, fierceness, knowledge, and vision.

One of her many bits of advice for the writers in attendance involved filling the well. The apparently unrelated quotes in this post, all connect to that magical week, all come from insightful women of note, & I hope they will make their way into your wells, bubble around in there, blend with what’s already there, mingle, fraternize, ferment, and grow.

“What a richly colored strong warm coat
is woven when love is the warp & work is the woof.”
-Marge Piercy

“Every bit of new truth discovered is revolutionary to what was believed before.”
-Margaret Lee Runbeck

“I think you should learn, of course, and some days you must learn a great deal. But you should also have days when you allow what is already in you to swell up inside of you until it touches everything. And you can feel it inside of you. If you never take time out to let that happen, then you just accumulate facts, and they begin to rattle around inside of you. You can make noise with them, but never really feel anything with them.”
-E.L. Konigsburg

“The greatest sign of success for a teacher…is to be able to say, “The children are now working as if I did not exist.”
-Maria Montessori

“If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom & disenchantment of later years, the sterile preoccupation with things that are artificial, the alienation from the sources of our strength.”
-Rachel Carson

Readers, I hope you’ll leave a note in the comments section regarding any of these that you’d like to pour into your well.

Big thanks to the folks at the Highlights Foundation, the unparalleled Patti Gauch, my fellow attendees, & this week’s source: Rosalie Maggio’s The New Beacon Book of Quotations by Women.


  1. "Filling the well" is something Julia Cameron talks about in The Artist's Way". It's why I don't believe in writing every day. You need time for your brain to "lie fallow" and just take in stuff, not always be putting it out. Walking by the bay, reading, talking with friends, listening to music. They all fill the well. And most of us need to do more of it.

    These are great well-filling quotes!

  2. Well said, Anne. Love that book and Cameron is so right. Sometimes you have to move away to see what's in front of you. Please don't anyone write that down. Sounds ridiculous but you know what I mean. On a side note I just re-read Bel Kaufman's ultimate guide to teaching, Up the Down Staircase, for the third or fourth time, and boy does it still ring true. Did you know she died at 103 and continued teaching a class at Hunter College until 92? Now that's a role model for teaching. Great inspirational quotes, Charlie.

  3. Ahoy Anne & Paul,
    Thanks for coming by. May your wells ferment in productive ways.

  4. "Filling the well", yes, good idea. My well is particularly dry just now. All of these quotes are wonderful. I especially like Rachel Carson. Thank you for an inspiring start to my Saturday.

  5. Hey Christine - I'm glad Ms Carson' thoughts might help fill your well. May other unexpected bits here & there contribute to your well, also.