Top Ten Tuesday #16: A Bunch o’ Quotes

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic:

Top ten quotes I loved from books I read in the past year or so

This week’s topic is a quotey one and I’m excited for it. I love quotes. I created a whole page on my blog just for them. Here are a few from books I read (in no particular order):

“The three foundations of learning: see much, study much, suffer much.”

— from Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 3

Chinua Achebe quote

“People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.”

—Chinua Achebe, a Nigerian author who died on March 21, 2013. Achebe wrote several novels, including the popular Things Fall Apart.

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3 Days, 3 Quotes Challenge: Day 2

Cyril Connolly quote

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.”

—Cyril Connolly, an English literary critic and writer. He has written several books, including The Unquiet Grave: A Word Cycle by Palinurus and Enemies of Promise.

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thoughts on writing from Haruki Murakami

Haruki Murakami quote

“Writing is similar to trying to seduce a woman. A lot has to do with practice, but mostly it’s innate. Anyway, good luck.”

“….You have to be mindful when you’re writing something. I keep in mind to ‘not have the pen get too mighty’ when I write. I choose my words so the least amount of people get hurt, but that’s also hard to achieve. No matter what is written, there is a chance of someone getting hurt or offending someone. Keeping all that in mind, I try as much as I can to write something that will not hurt anyone. This is a moral every writer should follow.

But at the same time, when you need to fight a battle, you also need to reserve energy to be able to fight. Something like what you use to tighten your stomach. But that’s only when you really need to. If you recklessly make the pen mightier than the sword, you’re putting yourself in danger. That’s my personal opinion. Some may think otherwise.”

Haruki Murakami, from Vulture’s collection of the best advice Murakami posted in response to reader-submitted questions. The interaction took place on the author’s website, Mr. Murakami’s Place (Murakami-san no tokoro), most of which is in Japanese, but Vulture translated the ones included in its column. Murakami is a contemporary Japanese writer. His most recent novels are Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage and IQ84.

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some consolation on writing beginnings, from Maggie Shipstead

Beginnings quote by Shipstead

“These little moments of unlocking, of finding the key to the puzzle, often manifest as first sentences. The first sentence establishes so much as far as tone, verb tense, point of view, even rhythm.”

“Beginnings are a mystery, but to me they’re the most exciting part of writing, when potential seems limitless and all those terrible, thorny problems that will pop up down the line can’t even be imagined.”

—Maggie Shipstead, from Biographile’s Write Start post, Maggie Shipstead on Writers’ Little Moments of Unlocking. Shipstead is a graduate of Harvard University and the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. She is also a former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Her first novel, Seating Arrangements (2013), was a New York Times bestseller, and her second novel, Astonish Me (2014), is now in stores.

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a word on life’s small moments from Anthony Lane

Anthony Lane quote

“We happen upon ourselves when nothing much happens to us, and we are transformed in the process.”

—Anthony Lane, from his review of “Boyhood” that appeared in The New Yorker. Lane is a British journalist and film critic for The New Yorker. I enjoy reading his quip-filled reviews. He is quite entertaining.

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thoughts on Fiction Writing from Annie Weatherwax

quote from Annie Weatherwax

“I learned how to write fiction by understanding the language of visual art.”

“Fiction writing for me has much more to do with the disciplined skill of seeing than with the study of literature. Seeing has little to do with language. In fact, true seeing is forgetting the name of the thing one sees. It is looking at a piece of paper and seeing a tree, then seeing the man who chopped it down, his hands, his face, how he walks. Hidden inside those visual details is the story of his life.”

“Body language can reveal more about character than almost any other detail.”

“The process of finding a character in a hunk of clay is the same as finding a story on a blank page. You must work a piece from all angles and recognize the danger of focusing too quickly on details when the structure and form have not yet been fully established.”

—Annie Weatherwax, from her Op-Ed piece, “The Art of Fiction Writing,” in the Publisher’s Weekly’s Soapbox section. Weatherwax is a visual artist and writer. She spent most of her career sculpting superheroes and cartoon characters for Nickelodeon, DC Comics, Warner Bros., Pixar, and others. Her debut novel, All We Had, will be published by Scribner in August 2014. Visit her website to see her work.

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some insight on how bad moments influence our identity, from Andrew Solomon

Andrew Solomon TED quote

“We don’t seek the painful experiences that hew our identities, but we seek our identities in the wake of painful experiences.”

“Forge meaning and build identity: Forging meaning is about changing yourself; building identity is about changing the world.”

“We cannot bear a pointless torment, but we can endure great pain if we believe that it’s purposeful.”

“Ease makes less of an impression on us than struggle.”

“We could have been ourselves without our delights, but not without the misfortunes that drive our search for meaning.”

“Identity itself should be not a smug label or a gold medal but a revolution.”

Andrew Solomon, from his TED Talk, “How the Worst Moments In Our Lives Make Us Who We Are.” Solomon is a writer on politics, culture, and psychology. He is a regular contributor to NPR, The New York Times, The New Yorker, and other publications. His book, The Noonday Demon: An Atlas of Depression, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction in 2001 and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2002.

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some insight on the “near win” from Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis TED

“We thrive not when we’ve done it all, but when we still have more to do.”

“We build out of the unfinished idea, even if that idea is our former self.”

“Completion is a goal but we hope it is never the end.”

—Sarah Lewis, from her TED Talk, “Embrace the near win.” Lewis is a writer, art historian, and curator. Her debut book The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery analyzes the idea of failure focusing on case studies that reveal how setbacks can become a tool enabling us to master our destinies (TED Talks). 

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