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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Can I quote you on that?

I love quotes. Little nibblets of inspiration. Lessons. Advice. I write them on post-its and stick them to my monitor. I flag and dogear keeper books where a line surprised my heart. I rip chunks out of newspapers and magazines and pin them to my bulletin board.

At times my office resembles a Rose Parade float, it’s so covered in little flaps of paper.

There are so many I love…

Sometimes they remind of who I want to be when I grow up:

Carolyn See: “All writing, all art, maybe all of life—is exactly like dating. Write one charming note to a novelist, an editor, a journalist, a poet, a sculptor, even an agent whose professional work you admire, five days a weeks for the rest of your life.”

Sometimes they remind me of how good days feel:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez: “The writing became so fluid that I sometimes felt as if I were writing for the sheer pleasure of telling a story, which may be the human condition that most resembles levitation.”

Sometimes they remind me how to survive a hard day:

Samuel Beckett: “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail better.”

This one echoed for days after a recent trip to the theater:

Shakespeare: Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.

I took a trip recently and visited the Alhambra in Spain. 

It's a breathtaking old castle on the top of a mountain, built by Muslims over thousands of years. The Muslim faith restricts depicting certain artistic images and as a result they create amazing graphic displays of color and shape. 

And calligraphy...oh mama! they have some pretty handwriting.

It seemed to me as if the buildings of the Alhambra worshiped words. Thick tiles made of white marble are carved with swirling inscriptions and mounted along halls, or all the way around a room. 

At first, I didn't recognize I was looking at words, the shapes were so pretty. Now I can't get them out of my head. So much nicer than post-it notes!

If only I knew how to carve stone.... you save quotes?

I’d love to hear some of yours!


Helena said...

I'm bad at remembering quotations, but I've just read an interview with Deanna Raybourn which includes a lovely quote from Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing: "there was a star danc’d, and under that was I born."

Isn't the Alhambra fantastic! I love the smell of orange blossoms everywhere, the clever use of water, and the Lion Fountain in particular. I have to admit that I didn't really register that the decorations were words - I knew it in theory but didn't take in what it meant until you made the point.

Toni Anderson said...

Never, never, never quit--Winston Churchill. My CP gave it to me on a paperweight years ago and it's a reminder about not just the need to persevere, but that there are more important worries than writing. Lovely post :) And I Love Alhambra. Startlingly beautiful architecture. Oddly, the place it reminded me most of was the inside of Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland. The craftsmen who built this stuff seem almost magical.

Anne Marie Becker said...

J, you have such a beautiful way with words yourself - "where a line surprised my heart" and "as if the buildings of the Alhambra worshipped words" - so poetic!

I love inspirational quotes, but am notoriously bad at remembering them. I suppose the one that comes to mind when I'm struggling is Yoda's famous: "Do or do not. There is no try." Which I suppose became Nike's "Just do it." :)

J Wachowski said...

@ Helena. I'm bad at remembering too. That's why I stick them to post-its! & I know what you mean about the water fountains. They were amazing. I came home dreaming of ripping out the grass for water features! The DH isn't quite convinced.

@Toni. Yes! I have that one too! And I agree about the magic. Such a mysterious place. It also reminded me of the Taj Mahal, with just that hint of prison-tomb?

@Anne Marie. Awww, thanks! Another great quote. But you gotta say it with the "Yoda voice!"

Marcelle Dubé said...

I have one quote posted on my bulletin board above my computer: "Let them dig a bigger hole." I think originally it referred to not allowing yourself to be bound by other people's expectations, or something like that. Now when I look at it, it just reminds me that I should lose weight.

Stupid quote.

Clare London said...

ooops, you've been peering over my shoulder, I save quotes all the time! There's something great about a whole philosophy distilled into one apt sentence - and they can be great inspiration. :)

Elise Warner said...

I don't save quotes but I have those little sticky bits of paper all over the desk that holds my computer. Bits of dialogue, magazines to query, reminders of passwords. What would I do without those sticky bits?

J Wachowski said...

@Marcelle I didn't figure you for a Jay Z fan! Whaddup. That is a power quote, girl. Meaning your enemies will fall in a hole of their own making--wide and deep--while you survive. Peace.

@Clare--share! share! Philosophy twitter style, right? :)

@Elise--I'm laughing because I'm great at remembering lines but TERRIBLE at passwords. I confess to having passwords all over my desk as well. (DH keeps trying to get me to use Data Vault. The password to get in is sooooo long & weird I forgot it!)

Jean Harrington said...

How about this? It's one of my favorites

"Every great writer has an Iago."

By my DH, John Harrington. I've been wanting to work it into one of my mysteries--maybe some day.

Rita said...

Late again. I pick out a quote for each day. Some are serious some funny but I find each inspirational. Here are some recent ones
When you get to the point everyone else would quit –keep going. ~ Unknown.

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

People do not deserve to have good writing, as they are so pleased with bad.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

A person who publishes a book willfully appears before the populace with his pants down. ~Edna St. Vincent Millay

Dee J. said...

I'm terrible at remembering quotes. But I did win a quote contest years ago for this:
"Think It. Write It. Sell It."
Very apropos if you happen to be a writer. LOL.

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