An Eye On Culture
You Can Quote Me On That
Published: Sunday, September 30, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01
I’ll let you in on a little secret that’s fit to print.
I have a little, black leather Moleskine journal that’s full of quotes. Not inspirational, cheesy “carpe diem” self-help quotes, but ones that really matter. They’re mostly lines from my favorite books, small snippets of lyrics from beautiful songs, or quippy sayings from great thinkers.
I guess you could say I’m slightly obsessed with quotes. I read Brainy Quote online when I’m bored, have websites of my favorite quoters bookmarked, and use Goodreads primarily for its extensive quotes section.
I remember exactly when this quote obsession started. First semester of my sophomore year, I took an English elective called Literary Monsters where we dove deep into the horror novel genre. While sitting outside and reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the third time (it’s one of my favorites), I was struck by a particular quote.
“No man knows till he has suffered from the night how sweet and dear to his heart and eye the morning can be.”
My jaw dropped then and there. I wondered how I could have forgotten this one beautiful, poignant sentence the first two times I had read the book. Usually I have a pretty good memory, but I was almost angry with myself for not remembering this gem.
Right then and there, I decided to make a change. I wasn’t going to let another beautiful, almost artistic life-altering quote slip through my fingers again. So began my slightly neurotic obsession. While I am undeniably picky with my quotes, I stumble upon ones I love pretty frequently. I somehow mark them or copy them down, and then transfer them by hand into the quote book. Something about writing them out makes them mine.
I’ve made a rule for myself that I don’t want to go seek out quotes to add to my little black book. Part of the beauty of this process is having them come to me naturally by reading a novel, through word of mouth, or seeing one randomly referenced somewhere. And I can’t just write down ones that are beautiful—they have to be beautiful and meaningful. I have to get that coveted jaw-dropping, wow feeling that I got while reading Dracula. Who knows why I became so emotionally and artistically awakened to quotes at this time in my life, but it happened.
Not to sound like a therapist, but I’ve found that the quotes people are drawn to can tell a lot about them. One friend of mine loves little inspirational motivators. Thanks to her they’re written in beautiful script in magnet-form on our fridge, and little ceramic tile signs in our bathroom that get us ready for the day ahead. I, on the other hand, seem to be drawn to the grimmer, but certainly not less beautiful, quote archetype. The most frequented quoters in my book are Sylvia Plath, Friedrich Nietzsche, and the one and only Anais Nin, my personal spirit animal. For days when I’m feeling particularly witty, I’m drawn to Oscar Wilde.
The beauty of a quote is that it can say so much, so powerfully, in such few words. Sometimes I flip through my quote book, read a quote I’ve forgotten about, and say, “Yes! That’s exactly how I feel, Simone de Beauvoir. You hit the nail right on the head.” The collection that I’ve compiled is not just an amalgamation of quotes, but one of feelings.
Some have really stuck with me. Here are some to chew on. Happy Monday.
“There comes a time when one asks, even of Shakespeare, even of Beethoven, ‘Is that all there is?’”- Jean Paul Sartre
“What do I care about the purring of one who cannot love, like the cat?” -Friedrich Nietzsche
“It is often hard to bear the tears that we ourselves have caused.” - Marcel Proust
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive.” -Anais Nin