Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Book of Qualities - By Ruth Gendler

Ruth Gendler wrote an incredible book called "The Book of Qualities" which holds endearing and touching character sketches of the qualities that make us most human. Whether she describes Wisdom as "Wisdom wears an indigo jacket. She takes long walks in the purple hills at twilight, pausing to meditate at an old temple near the crossroads. She was sick as a young child so she learned to be alone with herself at an early age..." or Imagination as "When Imagination walks, she writes letters to the earth. When she runs, her feet trace postcards to the sun. And when she dances, when she dances, she sends love letters to the stars..." Gendler's descriptions evoke a both a familiarity and a novelty that stir up inspiration.

Have you ever created a character sketch of some of your most familiar qualities?

Here are two that I wrote:


Some say that gratitude cannot be glimpsed for long. He is illusive, seeming to appear and disappear without warning, often leaving those he comes into contact with feeling either deep warmth of an inexplicable icy guilt. Some say that Gratitude lives with the fairies amongst the half-earthen creatures who are able to walk the boundary between reality and the dream world. Gratitude has often been seen holding hands with Bewilderment, but his true mate is Justice. Together they tiptoe atop the atmosphere, arriving unexpectedly beside the unsuspecting in the last moments between chance and loss. It is within Gratitude that appreciation was born; an egg wrapped tightly with many protective folds of purpose.

Love's favorite pastime is to wander through the Daffodil field behind her grandparents' ranch home. She collects flowers each day to share with the couple who live next door and fight with each other. Sometimes Love can hear their voices through the windows, and on these days she wraps the Daffodils with a purple ribbon to evoke serenity. Love has many friends, but mostly enjoys being alone with herself in the moments when she can become quiet enough to hear the secrets the clouds carry. Although Love has been accused of being naive and idealistic, many do not understand that the visions she is occupied with are real. Her cousins Faith, Despair, and Passion understand why Love is skeptical of the passerby who brings gifts. She was once tricked by a traveler with promises, and has never since paid much attention to Trickery. Love did, however, glance upon a stranger once who changed her reason for existing. Since this day she has been different; preferring to dance with the fire of her heart while also swimming in the depths of sapphire waters.

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