Sunday, April 10, 2011

Discussion: Do you have any favorite quotes?


You've probably noticed from the bar toward the top of my page that I tend to collect quotes.

I've mentioned in a review or two that I once took a creative writing class. In this class one of our semester-long projects was to fill a notebook full of interesting quotes, words and descriptions we found in the books we read. We had to fill up one notebook in a semester. I filled up three. 

I learned, during this assignment, that I absolutely loved some of the wisdom I found buried deep in books. There are some great nuggets of truth and beauty in literature that non-readers miss out on. This assignment taught me that words are art. 

It also made me a devout quote-collecter. I have gained so much insight from this activity. I love the truth I find in books. It's quite amazing how much more I appreciate the simple artistry of the written word now that quote collecting has become a habit. Michelangelo had his sculpting and painting. Writers have their words and some writing can, in my mind, compete with Michelangelo's David in both truth and beauty. 

Here are some of my favorites: 

"Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts."  Patrick Rothfuss
"Children are dying." Lull nodded. "That's a succinct summary of humankind, I'd say. Who needs tomes and volumes of history? Children are dying. The injustices of the world hide in those three words."  Steven Erikson (Deadhouse Gates)
"Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."  George R. R. Martin (A Game of Thrones)

What are some of your favorite book quotes? 

8 comments:

  1. I have a 15,000 word file of quotations, and it's far from comprehensive. Some of my favorites (that are at most a paragraph or so):

    Herman Hesse: "Wisdom is not communicable."

    Steven Erikson: “Each soul begins with a single word. He’s written that word – on me. Identity is only a pattern. The beginning form. The world – life and experience – is Kadaspala etching the fine details. By life’s end, who can even make out that first word?”

    Thomas Ligotti: "And what was imparted to my witnessing mind was the vision of a world in a trance – a hypnotized parade of beings sleepwalking to the odious manipulations of their whispering masters, those hooded freaks *who were themselves hypnotized*."

    Thomas Ligotti: was the secret sanctuary of Victor Keirion, a votary of that wretched sect of souls who believe that the only value of this world lies in its power –at certain times – to suggest another.

    Lovecraft: "The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age."

    I think I should probably stop now...

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  2. This one stuck in my head

    in every age and every state, there has seldom if ever been a shortage of eager young males prepared to kill and die to preserve the security, comfort and prejudices of their elders, and what you call heroism is just an expression of this simple fact; there is never a scarcity of idiots
    - iain M. Banks, Use of Weapons

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  3. Two among many :

    Joel Shepherd (Breakaway) : "Truth. A most precious thing, truth. Never to be found, only to be sought, and then found in the seeking but never to be held in one's hand."

    Honoré de Balzac : « J'ai accompli de délicieux voyages, embarqué sur un mot... » which perhaps could translate as "I made the most delightful travels aboard a word".

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  4. Most of my favorites are from Tolkien. Here are a few:

    "I wish it need not have happened in my time," said Frodo.
    "So do I," said Gandalf, "and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us."

    "The world is full enough of hurts and mischances without wars to multiply them."

    "Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends."

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  5. “We like to think we live in daylight, but half the world is always dark; and fantasy, like poetry, speaks the language of the night.” - Ursula K. LeGuin

    "Q: Do you believe in happy endings?"
    A: Only in the way I believe in New Guinea; it exists, but it doesn't affect me much." - KJ Parker

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  6. "It's better to do a thing than to live with the fear of it." Logan Ninefingers (from Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie)

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  7. My favourite quote is probably this one by Mark Twain: “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

    Words to live by, if there ever were any.

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  8. One of my absolute favourite quotes is: "This I think I have learned: where there is love, the form does not matter, and the gods are pleased. This I have observed: what occurs in nature, comes by the hand of nature, and if the gods did not approve, it would not be there." (Magic's Pawn, by Mercedes Lackey)

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