write here write now / writing



QUOTE ME Quotability is an attribute of good writing. Each quote is a grain of truth that resonates with us. Photo credit: Eighteenth Century Journals Portal at Adam Matthew Digital

Today’s Daily Prompt from The Daily Post is called “Quote Me.”

Do you have a quote that you turn to again and again? What is it and why does it move you?

I’m a quote freak. It’s practically on every page of every publication I have so far handled, from magazines and newspapers and my book, Write Here Write Now: Standing at Attention Before My Imaginary Style Dictator, which is framed by the gems written and mouthed by my favorite authors, from practical quotes like William Strunk Jr.‘s “In a series of three or more items with a single conjunction, use a comma after each term except the last,” my slogan as a serial comma warrior, to whimsical quotes like Oscar Wilde‘s “It’s what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you can be when you can’t help it.”

I’m no fan of Samuel Johnson. I don’t think I am even familiar with his work. But a quote from the second volume of his biographical sketch Johnsonian Miscellanies is something I turn to every time writing overwhelms me. This quote gets me going like a spark to dying embers. It is fuel to my thirsty engine, a towtruck to my unmoving vehicle. I can’t say it’s my favorite quote, but as writing is never an easy affair, I turn to it again and again. Here it is.

“What is written without effort is in general read without pleasure.”

But I have a quote for every occasion. For my magazine Sense&Style, an ode to the woman in search of substance amid the fluff of modern life, I have a rich source of wisdom from history.

There’s Coco Chanel:

“There is no time for cut-and-dried monotony. There is time for work. And time for love. That leaves no other time.”

There is Diana Vreeland:

“Too much good taste can be boring.”

There’s Simone de Beauvoir:

“I am incapable of conceiving infinity, and yet I do not accept finity.”

Or even Madonna:

“I’m tough, I’m ambitious, and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay.”

My personal favorite at the moment is one that moves me for its sheer beauty and its sheer truthfulness. It is from Yann Martel‘s Life of Pi.

“Life is a peephole, a single tiny entry onto a vastness.”

And, of course, if you must indulge me, I have a favorite from my own book, from my own writing, from me:

“The heart is a repository of emotions — real, imagined, and invented, owned and borrowed, past, present, future — and there in your chest, operating at an average of eighty beats per minute at rest, is a heart that has stories to tell.”

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