You see, I'm a quote junkie. Always have been. It's part of my writing. I'll spend the entire damned night looking for the right quote for a story or chapter. I've outlined stories using nothing but quotes from songs. A good part of my reading involves marking off things that will make pithy quotes later on.
Quotes are there when I need them. There's been many a day when a quote rescued me from becoming a sad pile of human wreckage hiding under the covers. They've been there to lend zip and zing to a whimsical day. They've been there to show me a new direction. And they've been there to say exactly what I want to say without having to take the blame.
Allow me to share with you some of my absolute favorites.
Profound and Perilous
There are some quotes that work like a punch to the gut. They may not be comfortable or comforting, but they do make you think.
It is true we have won all our wars, but we have paid for them. We don’t want victories anymore
The tragedy of life is what dies inside a man while he lives
The very bones of those you talk about have turned to dust. All that remains of them is their words.
You see this strong wall? Although it understands nothing, it too will disintegrate, it too will split. Disintegration has a logic of its own.
It is precisely because one act can balance ten thousand kind ones that we call it "evil."
-Steven Pinker, The Blank Slate
I found myself looking at the photos of combat, of wounded civillians, of people whose worlds had crumbled and fallen, without any sense of irony. These people were us. Whatever side they were on. They were us, and the images had a truth and an immediacy I couldn't have imagined until recently.
-Neil Gaiman, after viewing an exhibition of Robert Capa's war photographs after 9-11
A Stiff Shot of Encouragement
We could use some after the above, couldn't we?
Be strong, saith my heart; I am a soldier;
I have seen worse sights than this.
-Homer, The Iliad
We have to go into the despair and go beyond it, by working and doing for somebody else, by using it for something else.
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.
Heroism, the Caucasion moutaineers say, is endurance for one moment more.
The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. I love the man that can smile in trouble, that can gather strength from distress and grow brave by reflection.
There are some quotes that fill the mouth like wine, like honey, like life. They beg to be savored.
At poor peace I sing
to you strangers (though song
is a burning and crested act...)
-Dylan Thomas, Author’s Prologue
We do not regard what is before our feet; we all gaze at the stars.
It isn't "To be or not to be,"
Or "Cogito ergo sum" either;
The real business is to understand the inevitable:
The avalanche that cannot be stopped,
The stream that flows forever.
Thus should you think of all this fleeting world;
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud
A flickering lamp, a phantom and a dream.
Why don't you come
And help create the universe.
I can't do this all by myself.
It is not from space that I must seek my dignity, but from the government of my thought. I shall have no more if I possess worlds. By space the universe encompasses and swallows me up like an atom; by thought I comprehend the world.
-Blaise Pascal, Pensees
Wit and Whimsy
A sense of humor being essential to the full enjoyment of life, I think we should end this not with a bang, but a fullisade of whoopie cushions.
I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
It's just a job. Grass grows, birds fly, waves pound the sand. I beat people up.
Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything.
...No scientist on Earth knows how a planet might blow itself up, which is probably just as well.
-Carl Sagan, Cosmos
The fox knows many tricks, the hedgehog only one. One good one.
-Archilochus, Iambi et Elgi Graeci
Wonderful theory. Wrong species.
-E.O. Wilson (verdict on Marxism)
Under controlled experimental conditions of temperature, time, lighting, feeding, and training, the organism will behave as it damn well pleases.
-The Harvard Law of Animal Behavior
The heavens above do not equal one half of me.... In my glory, I have passed beyond the sky and the great earth... I will pick up the earth, and put it here or put it there.... Have I been drinking soma?
Your turn, my darlings. What are the words that lodge in your head and refuse to be budged?