One of the joys of reading is to come across a sentence that brings you a flash of recognition, connection,
and understanding. I’ve come to a complete stop (to hell with the plot and characters) and read a sentence over again several times. Then I’ll highlight it or mark it for re-reading, sort of like opening the refrigerator after a great meal to peek at leftovers. When I’m done reading the book, I’ll go back and re-read those saved goodies. Sometimes, I have no idea why I loved them. The memory they triggered is gone.
Ahhh, but sometimes, the sentences stay perfect. They hold a speck of wisdom like a drop of water sparkling in the sun after a rain. Unexpected. Special.
I collect quotes and sentences from books. I often use them to start a poem, or to use as a diving board to slice into a poem and not splash water all over the page. Words mean different things on different days. I’m surprised at what I find in myself.
Want to start keeping your own quote pages? I’ll help you get started. You can add even more by looking up any of the people you don’t know.
“How strange that the nature of life is change, yet the nature of human beings is to resist change. And how ironic that the difficult times we fear might ruin us are the very ones that can break us open and help us blossom into who we were meant to be.” — Elizabeth Lesser
“Stop comparing your insides to other people’s outsides. Remember, they’re doing the same thing.” —Martha Beck
“You know what? People can take a lot from you. They can take away everything except your mind and your heart. Those things you have to give away. I decided not to give them away, and neither should you.” — Nelson Mandela, explaining how he overcame his bitterness, hatred, and resentment
“We’re all just walking each other home.” –Ram Dass
“The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.” –Nelson Henderson
“To go in the dark with a light is to know the light.
To know the dark, go dark. Go without sight,
and find that the dark, too, blooms and sings,
and is traveled by dark feet and dark wings.”
–Wendell Berry, from To Know the Dark
—Quinn McDonald uses quotes from others as a diving board for her own poetry.