Despite what you may think after reading my cursing post from a few days ago, I do have a deep and reverent appreciation for words, especially when they are put together in such a way that can make me say, Yes. That’s how it is. Someone went on ahead and figured this out for the rest of us.
For most of my life, I have been an ardent collector of quotes. The range of authors is broad, though I have a few favorites. From Thoreau to Rilke, Voltaire to Goethe to Chekhov, Oscar Wilde to Dorothy Parker. Rumi. Stevenson. Dickinson. I copied them into thin drugstore notebooks or fine leather-bound diaries, and sometimes just on bright yellow sticky notes (with apologies to the authors who deserved better). Once, in my early 20’s, I wrote out dozens of my favorites on decorative paper and covered a narrow wall in my (tiny) apartment kitchen with them. I liked seeing them there every day, and it motivated me to memorize a good number of them. I suppose some of my obsession comes from being a writer, but it may be a chicken-egg sort of puzzler. Do I collect these words, these capsules of another’s thoughts and talent, because I’m a writer? Or am I a writer because these smooth, round stones show me what a writer can do with the right words?
At its root, it may be nothing more than a need to know that another soul–yesterday or ten years or four hundred years ago–was able to identify and articulate some aspect of the human condition that I have felt. One way not to feel alone. A way to feel known, recognized, understood.
In any case, my collection of dear and loved quotes is like a box full of touchstones for me, each of them a talisman. They all found purchase, for some reason, in a corner of my soul, and many of them represent a particular circumstance or emotion that was highlighted or soothed by an elemental truth. In some cases, a quote is attached to a person or a memory, and will fly, true and sure, to the same spot every time I read it, as a masseuse is able to find a knot and loosen it with the right touch.
Several years ago, I found the work of Jeanine Payer, a jewelry designer who engraves quotes onto jewelry. What could be better, for a girl like me? I have bought just two of her pieces so far, but I am sure that I will
sell my children to buy more add more over the years.
I’ve started a quotes page here on my site, and will add to it over time. I hope you’ll visit.
In the meantime, I thought I would invite you to share a favorite quote with me, to feed my greedy little appetite. Maybe you’ve read something and it changed you or assured you or gave you hope or strength. Or a good laugh. It can be anything, a line of prose or even a lyric that just won’t leave you. Of course, I invite your comments of any kind and hope you’ll check in to see what others have posted. I will read every one of them, and may even add them to my collection.