I am obsessed with other people’s words. Passages from books, lines from movies, lyrics (Bob Dylan’s “Forever Young”!), sayings and proverbs; anything quotable (All The Jon Stewart All Of The Time!). I’m so obsessed, in fact, that there’s a category on this blog just for Words & Wisdom. So obsessed that I have a Pinterest board that currently holds 165 quotations I liked or enjoyed. I also have Word documents filled with lines from movies and TV shows because I always think I might be able to use them one day. For what, I honestly don’t know. Sometimes I think I am this much into what others have already said, rather than putting a thought into words myself, because English isn’t my first language. And I’m not very good at pinpointing the essence of a thought, anyway. Others will forever better express what I’m trying to say. Part of it is surely that I love reading and writing and words in general.
So naturally, I could never chose a single favorite quotation.
In high school they wanted everyone in the graduating class to put a quotation under their yearbook picture, and it took me a couple of months to decide. I ended up with: “Never look down on anybody, unless you’re helping them up.” Which is a nice sentiment, and probably a good general rule to live by. But it seems oddly specific, doesn’t it? I still feel proud not to have gone for “Every journey begins with a single step” because that seems to be everyone‘s favorite saying. Also in high school, my best friend at the time, whom I had sort of grown apart from in our final year or so, gave me a card that said “Good friends are like stars. You don’t always see them, but they are always there.” It’s a bit cheesy but it really meant a lot to me at the time.
If I had to pick an all-time favorite now, it would be a tie between Max Ehrmann’s Desiderata (read the whole thing, it’s lovely), especially the last part:
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.
… and these lines from the poem that Tolkien wrote for Lord of the Rings (although, again, the whole poem is great):
All that is gold does not glitter,
not all those who wander are lost.
I’m not sure that it’s such a good omen that I begin NaBloPoMo by telling you how much I prefer others’ words to my own. But I shall not give up just yet! I shall be happy and cheerful instead…
Do you have any favorite quotations?