The Aphorism Book

The summer before my junior year in high school, I was given a summer reading assignment and project that I had to complete as part of junior AP English. The assignment dealt with Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, in which Albom interviews Morrie as he is dying, and they discuss life and death and everything in between.

For the assignment, I had to collect aphorisms related to several topics (Children, Dating, Marriage, and Death were just a few), and I had to interview someone, as Albom interviewed Morrie, discuss each of the required topics, and then write a short paper from the interview.

That one assignment, given to me years and years ago, has stuck with me. I still have the notebook I created, and I will forever treasure the papers I wrote from the interviews with my mom. We conducted the interviews over several afternoons, with cups of tea and a tape recorder on the small side table between us, and had a blast discussing both serious and lighthearted topics.

When I got the idea for my wall plaques, my first stop was the “aphorism book,” as I call the 2-inch 3-ring binder that houses the assignment. The pages of that notebook are full of wonderful sayings – crystallized truths that are perfect for the inspirational wall art I seek to create. While I can’t say that the aphorism book “inspired” the idea of the wall plaques, my possession of it certainly made much easier the development of that product line. Because I’ve already sorted through hundreds of quotes and sayings to pull out the ones that touch me most deeply, my search for material for the wall plaques need go no further than my aphorism book.

Here are a few of my favorite aphorisms from that project so many years ago. All of these will one day become a JennJill Designs wall plaque:

You can complain because roses have thorns, or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.
(This one is already a wall plaque: Click here.)

A faithful friend is a strong defense; And he that hath found him hath found a treasure.
– Louisa May Alcott

Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.
– Nathaniel Hawthorne

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart.
– John Heywood

It is impossible to keep a straight face in the presence of one or more kittens.
– Cynthia E. Varnado

Unable are the loved to die, for Love is immortality.
– Emily Dickinson

Thanks, Mrs. Griffith (my junior AP English teacher)! I’m sure you never thought one assignment would still be impacting the life of one of your students nearly a decade later, but your influence was just that strong. You were a wonderful teacher, and I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to be your student.


About JennJill Designs

JennJill Designs provides the handcrafted goods of Jennifer Jill Araya. Visit to learn more.
This entry was posted in Design Process & Inspiration, Personal Thoughts, Quote of the Day and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Aphorism Book

  1. Many thanks for another excellent write-up. Where else can any person get that form of information in composed in such a crystal clear approach. I’ve a demonstration next week, and I had been searching for precisely the advice you have just presented me. Thanks a lot. – mein blog

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