One day in high school, I copied a sentence I liked into a blank book. Little did I know that it would launch a practice of collecting quotes whenever I encounter words that particularly grip me, somehow. The reasons vary: it may be the idea expressed, it may be the lyrical quality, it may be the emotional texture, it may be the unusual style, or it may be something quite indefinable. Whatever the case, when I come across such passages or sentences, I am compelled to go write them down. Not sure what good it does to collect them, but I can’t help myself. (Nowadays, of course, quotes are everywhere–as tweets and statuses and avatars and gifs–so it would seem that many of us are thus inclined. Huzzah!)
Here are some of my favorite quotes about books and writing.
“It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment?” — Vita Sackville-West
“The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.” — Vladimir Nabokov
“If you decide to enter the page, take a knife and some matches, and something that will float. Take something you can hold onto, and a prism to split the light and a talisman that works, which should be hung on a chain around your neck: that’s for getting back. It doesn’t matter what kind of shoes, but your hands should be bare. You should never go into the page with gloves on. Such decisions, needless to say, should not be made lightly.” — Margaret Atwood, “The Page”
“I brought, too, the little journal I wrote my poems in and, after a few weeks, admitted to him that I wanted to be a poet. He didn’t laugh or ask, as my mother always did when I confessed my ambitions, how I planned to make a living doing that. (What are you going to do? Open a poetry store?) Instead he looked at me for a long time, his dark brown eyes reflecting the silvery green of the olive trees, and asked, ’Why?’
‘To make something that lasts,’ I answered.” — Carol Goodman, The Sonnet Lover
Do you collect quotes, dear readers? What are some of yours?