Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Looking Back at a Book of Quotes



Like a lot of writers, I keep a 'quote book' where I scribble down anything that interests me. Inspirational quotes. Lines from books. A silly comment from a friend. Great advice. Something overheard. A part of a poem. etc. A few days ago, I found a quote book I started when I was 17!

When I read it, I looked for patterns. I wondered if my 17 yr-old self and the person I am now have anything in common. Was I drawn to themes that I now write about? I also looked for change and growth. I mean, it would be nice to think that I've learned something over the past few decades.

So here are some quotes that I gathered when I was a senior in high school and my first few years of college (with some commentary):

"It was in the middle of winter, I realized there was in me an invincible summer." A Camus. (Still a favorite! True confession here: I didn't find it by reading Camus. It was in the front of Paula Danzinger's amazing book The Pistachio Prescription.)

"There are only two or three human stories and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened." Willa Cather

"After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns." I Ching

"My dear, you must try Gestalt therapy" Overheard at a party.

"The more absolute death seems, the more authentic life becomes..." John Fowles (So much for saying I ever had a happy carefree nature)

"The human mind treats a new idea the way the body treats a strange protein; it rejects it." PB Medawar. (I love this quote. Any time I find that I'm resistant to change, I still think about this.)

"This is what happens when you stay friends with people you went to high school with." A high school friend -- it was probably said about 6 months after we graduated. (I'm still friends with many high school pals, including the one who said this.)

"Do I dare disturb the universe" TS Eliot

"We take our favorite mistake and make it over and over again." Favorite philosophy prof (Yep. This one might be true)

"A stone gathers no moss while rolling. It gains a high polish" Fortune cookie.

6 comments:

Joanna said...

These are some great quotes! I especially like "Do I dare disturb the universe". Awesome, thanks for sharing!

nanmarino said...

Joanna, it's one of my current favorite comments too.

MG Higgins said...

Your 17-year-old self was into some pretty profound stuff. Much more than I was at that age. Nice quotes!

nanmarino said...

There were lots of silly quotes from friends in there too.

S A Putnam said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
S A Putnam said...

I like your seventeen year old self, Nan!! I love the T S Eliot quote and the fortune cookie one