When I was writing my first book, “View From the Sixth Floor: An Oswald Tale” I decided to start each chapter with a quote from a famous person. I have no idea why I did it. It certainly added time to the writing. I’d sit down to start a chapter knowing where it was going. Then I would try to find a quote that would get me moving. Needless to say I spent a lot of time doing research.
After the book was finished I went back and read it through. Amazingly every quote set up every chapter almost as though it had been written with the chapter in mind.
This made me realize there are times when I actually throw out a quote during a conversation. I have favorite quotes, some that can apply to a situation others that simply tickle my fancy. Thinking about books I have read, I began to make a list of quotes I just love. Not surprisingly the first one that came to mind was written by my favorite writer, Stephen King. It is from “The Stand”. Without giving anything away by revealing part of the story to the 1% of people who have not read the book, a young man is walking through a park and stops at a port-a-potty. Opening it he finds a decaying body. King refers to this treasure as a “dark, sweet treat”. Only King could come up with an image like that! King has a lot of pretty nifty quotes. Carrie White’s mother refers to a woman’s breasts as “dirty pillows”. (“Carrie”) And of course there is always the popular quote from “It”. “We all float down here!”
But I am not only attracted to quotes by Stephen King. My favorite book of all time was not written by Stephen King, it was written by Harper Lee. In my mind “To Kill a Mockingbird” is the all time American classic. “You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view … until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.” This is truly one of the most beautiful and brilliant lines ever written. Almost as good is “Before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself.” Atticus Finch represents the voice of reason in a town torn apart by lies and racism.
Perhaps the most misquoted line from a book is Rhett Butler’s in “Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell. We’ve all heard the famous “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” delivered by Clark Gable. However the book quote is slightly different and perhaps not as effective. In the book Butler tells Scarlett O’Hara, “My dear, I don’t give a damn.” It’s quite obvious Rhett is being frank.
Now I’ll bet I have you thinking about quotes you like; those lines that sometimes go through your head at unexpected moments. What are those words that pop up during conversations, sometimes spoken aloud, other times merely though in amusement?
I’d love to know what those quotes are. Maybe they are words said by a political figure. Is it President John Kennedy’s famous, “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Or perhaps it’s Winston Churchill’s, “Never in the history of mankind have so many owed so much to so few” or President Franklin Roosevelt’s “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.
Whatever your quote is, please add it to the comments and tell me why you like it, what makes it stick in your mind? Do you ever use it? And in what context would you find it useful? When would blurting it out make you laugh?
I can’t wait to read what you are going to share. So please don’t keep me waiting. After all, “Time and tide wait for no man.” Geoffrey Chaucer?