What are some of your favorite quotes?

Q&A With Shay Each Sunday

Many months ago I did a post on some of my favorite song lyrics, as well as if they have made appearances in my writing (here). I have just as much of a love for good quotes—I think it kind of comes with the territory of being a writer. As writers, we strive to weave words together in a way that brings tremendous and beautiful meaning into our lives. I also very much like a few of my own quotes from my books, poetry collection, and short stories. You can drive yourself a little insane trying to get the wording just right sometimes, as a writer, but as we see from what we quote everyday from others—it leaves an impact. As Mr. Twain says, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is the difference between the lightening bug and the lightening.” Truth.

Q: What are some of your favorite quotes, and have they made appearances in your writing?

A: I have incorporated a few quotes in my books—things a character might say, or post on Instagram, or have a poster of, etc. If I do introduce quotes I try to let them say something specific about that character, and maybe even build upon it to add further meaning. I don't incorporate them too often, similarly with song lyrics. I like my own writing to be quotable! The following are a pretty random collection of quotes that have stuck out to me over time; they aren’t really focused in any way. Maybe at a later date I’ll do more posts on specific quotes—like those from past literature, new literature, those that aren’t from writers, those that are simple in wording—or complex. Then there are those that are darker, or funnier, or witty. My favorite types of quotes probably deal with language and sensory imagery—using beautiful words that one can imagine and feel, but I also love the ones that speak to who we are as human beings and how we live.

Here are a few of my very random favorites, though I could list tons more, and will in the future.

“Here we are, trapped in the amber of the moment. There is no why.” –Kurt Vonnegut

“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” -Oscar Wilde

“I knew nothing but shadows and I thought them to be real.” -Oscar Wilde

“How do you run from what’s inside your head?” Lewis Carroll

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” Stephen King 

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.” Stephen King

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.” Martin Luther King Jr.

“Trust those who seek the truth but doubt those who say they have found it.” Andre Gide

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.” Karen Blixen aka Isak Dinesen

“Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority it is time to pause and reflect.” Mark Twain

“You forget what you want to remember, and you remember what you want to forget.” Cormac McCarthy

Then there’s a whole bunch by Einstein that I love, because, obviously:

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough.”

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”

“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

“Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.”

There is a quote I read recently in Kristiana Reed’s poetry book, Between the Trees, that I thought was amazing (a new school quote, if you will): “I am real; an open book with a pulse, intimidated by hands with the intention to close me.”

“He stayed all winter.” -Tarryn Fisher (another semi-new literary quote)

This is one of my favorites in terms of vivid wording, and what we strive for as writers, of course: “There is something about words. In expert hands, manipulated deftly, they take you prisoner. Wind themselves around your limbs like spider silk, and when you are enthralled you cannot move, they pierce your skin, enter your blood, numb your thoughts. Inside you they work their magic.” –Diane Setterfield

Even though it’s a song lyric, I love it so much that I have to include it again: “With the birds I’ll share this lonely view.” –Red Hot Chili Peppers

These are mainly older quotes from famous literature or like, geniuses, and Nobel Prize winners, but I see poems and quotes everyday that I find very profound. This would go on forever if I kept listing, so I’ll definitely break it down later into further categories and post on some new writers/ new minds favorite quotes. Maybe I’ll also delve in to some of the quotes from my own writing that I particularly like as well.

What are some of your favorite quotes throughout history? And do you ever include them in your books to tell the reader something about your characters?