And I quote…

by Jennifer on February 11, 2008

Despite what you may think after reading my cursing post from a few days ago, I do have a deep and reverent appreciation for words, especially when they are put together in such a way that can make me say, Yes. That’s how it is. Someone went on ahead and figured this out for the rest of us.

For most of my life, I have been an ardent collector of quotes. The range of authors is broad, though I have a few favorites. From Thoreau to Rilke, Voltaire to Goethe to Chekhov, Oscar Wilde to Dorothy Parker. Rumi. Stevenson. Dickinson. I copied them into thin drugstore notebooks or fine leather-bound diaries, and sometimes just on bright yellow sticky notes (with apologies to the authors who deserved better). Once, in my early 20’s, I wrote out dozens of my favorites on decorative paper and covered a narrow wall in my (tiny) apartment kitchen with them. I liked seeing them there every day, and it motivated me to memorize a good number of them. I suppose some of my obsession comes from being a writer, but it may be a chicken-egg sort of puzzler. Do I collect these words, these capsules of another’s thoughts and talent, because I’m a writer? Or am I a writer because these smooth, round stones show me what a writer can do with the right words?

At its root, it may be nothing more than a need to know that another soul–yesterday or ten years or four hundred years ago–was able to identify and articulate some aspect of the human condition that I have felt. One way not to feel alone. A way to feel known, recognized, understood.

In any case, my collection of dear and loved quotes is like a box full of touchstones for me, each of them a talisman. They all found purchase, for some reason, in a corner of my soul, and many of them represent a particular circumstance or emotion that was highlighted or soothed by an elemental truth. In some cases, a quote is attached to a person or a memory, and will fly, true and sure, to the same spot every time I read it, as a masseuse is able to find a knot and loosen it with the right touch.

Several years ago, I found the work of Jeanine Payer, a jewelry designer who engraves quotes onto jewelry. What could be better, for a girl like me? I have bought just two of her pieces so far, but I am sure that I will sell my children to buy more add more over the years.

I’ve started a quotes page here on my site, and will add to it over time. I hope you’ll visit.

In the meantime, I thought I would invite you to share a favorite quote with me, to feed my greedy little appetite. Maybe you’ve read something and it changed you or assured you or gave you hope or strength. Or a good laugh. It can be anything, a line of prose or even a lyric that just won’t leave you. Of course, I invite your comments of any kind and hope you’ll check in to see what others have posted. I will read every one of them, and may even add them to my collection.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Brenda February 11, 2008 at 10:43 pm

I was reading the quotes to make sure I wasn’t going to list anything that was already there, and didn’t pay attention, thus putting my comment on the quote page. (You can delete that, but I don’t know how!) So here it is repeated:

I’ll have to get back to this later with some choice Dorothy Parker (who pretty much said nothing that I can’t appreciate), but I have two quotes I love and have been part of me for a very long time.

The first, I fear, is author unknown to me. I don’t even remember where I found it, where I was when I found it, what I was doing, how old I was, anything. So if you (or anyone else), knows who wrote or said this, please fill me in…..

“True heroes are not larger than life–they are larger than their own lives.”

Strangely, or maybe not so much, the second one is similar in theme:

“The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” William James

The last is not “inside me” as much as the first two, but I like it:

“I want first of all…to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life…. I want, in fact–to borrow from the language of the saints–to live ‘in grace’ as much of the time as possible.” Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

(Note: I realize this is incongruous with my comments on “The King’s English.” It says “as much of the time as possible.” It’s not possible all the time!)

Kellan February 11, 2008 at 11:43 pm

There is a quote I have on a my sidebar – “There are two kind of people – Those that enter a room saying , ‘Here I am,’ and those that enter a room saying, ‘Oh, there you are.” I love this quote and isn’t it the truth? I will certainly go over and check out your favorite quotes – I love a good quote. Take care Jennifer – see you later. Kellan

Angela February 12, 2008 at 12:37 am

I love quotes and I love to swear too. I think that one supports the other, actually. And that jewelry? Is beautiful.

flutter February 12, 2008 at 1:52 am

“I’m a blind man for a watchdog, I am prime for giving in”
Rob Thomas

HRH February 12, 2008 at 2:43 am

My favorite quote is at the bottom of my blog:

Felix Qui Potuit Rerum Cognoscere Causas
Happy is she who is able to know the cause of things.

I may have taken a little license with the “she”, but no one has complained yet…

I love the idea of a quote page and can’t wait to see how it materializes.

Slow Panic February 12, 2008 at 2:57 am

this is a quote from a famous blogger. feel free to add it to your quotes page:

“if you do not give me that dark chocolate right now i will kill you.”

marlee February 12, 2008 at 3:47 am

My current fave is:

“The race is not always to the swift, but to those who keep on running.” Author Unknown

But I might change it to Slow Panic’s quote just above… 😉

suburbancorrespondent February 12, 2008 at 4:26 am

Of course I have favorite quotes, and of course I cannot remember a single one of them right now. I’ll be back.

Melissa February 12, 2008 at 4:55 am

From one quote lover to another–how cool is it that I discovered your page today? The jewelry? Breathtaking. Your attitude about words and writing and reading? Simpatico!

I’m a huge fan of Thoreau’s Walden so I leave you with this:

Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails. Let us rise early and fast, or break fast, gently and without perturbation; let company come and let company go, let the bells ring and the children cry–determined to make a day of it.

cce February 12, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Time is the school in which we learn
~Delmore Schwartz (though I discovered it reading Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking.)

Emily February 12, 2008 at 4:17 pm

“More isn’t always better… Sometimes it’s just more” — Sabrina (yes, the movie)

“Ways lead onto ways” — Robert Frost

“A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds” — Emerson

“I am nobody, who are you? Are you nobody, too?” — E. Dickinson

“Much madness is divinest sense” — Dickinson again

“And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne ceaselessly back into the past.” — Fitzgerald

JCK February 12, 2008 at 5:39 pm

Your vision will become clear only when you look into your heart. Who looks outside, dreams. Who looks inside, awakens.

Carl Jung

Tootsie Farklepants February 13, 2008 at 7:26 am

“Never make someone a priority who considers you an option” I read it in a magazine a couple of years ago and wish I knew who to attribute it too. But it changed the way I view my relationships. For the better.

Meg February 13, 2008 at 1:17 pm

One of my all time favorites is by Dr. Phil….”We TEACH people how to treat us…”

we_be_toys February 13, 2008 at 2:51 pm

I’m a slacker and can only quote movies (sad, isn’t it?) But here a few of my favorites:

“No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzai

“Shhh!…you smell something?” – Ghostbusters

“Did you know that BEES can smell fear?” – Jerry Maguire

“What’s ‘taters, precious?” – LOTR The Two Towers

About the only literary quote that comes to mind is from Mark Twain, who says,
“Golf is a beautiful walk, spoiled by a little ball.”
Amen brother Samuel!

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