“Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.”
~ Oscar Wilde
I pay attention to words. As a writer, I am encouraged to scrutinize my words — and everyone else’s.
And I have been known to give voice to animals, insects and inanimate objects purely because I am convinced they are trying to communicate. I will be their translator.
Oftentimes, it’s like converting African Khoisan clicking into Klingon and sprinkling it with a bit of Dothraki and Pig Latin. Yeah, that hodgepodge is probably not going to catch on.
Even though I have a nerdish penchant for individual words, and when asked for the title of my favorite book, I awkwardly admit it is Roget’s International Thesaurus, the next level up on my scale of linguistic admiration is that of the quote.
I am addicted to adages, transfixed by truisms and wild about witticisms. In my opinion, reading the words that express other people’s wisdom in bite-sized format is an appealing approach to acquiring needed knowledge. The quotes I’m drawn to are powerful pearls of astute insight that have experienced countless retweets in the grand scope of the overall twittering universe we inhabit. Some have taken off like wildfire, a quick strike of a match that hungrily spreads from one combustible source to another, and others are smoldering embers—words that have been around like the coals of a dampened fire in the hearth—ready to be repeatedly brought back to heat-giving life in the morning, yet will continue a slow, hourly seep through the house of many minds.
Look through any bathroom in my house. You’ll find most of the reading material is short and quippy. I don’t encourage anyone to hunker down in there, but if you find it unavoidable, I hope the words invite you to ponder.
I’ve even taken to painting quotes on the walls of bathrooms and bedrooms because they’ve moved me to feel they deserve permanence within my humble abode.
Three quotes I feel worthy of daily reflection are:
Anyone can count the seeds in an apple. ~ No one can count the apples in a seed.
Do not follow where the path may lead … go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
And most importantly,
If you didn’t see it with your own eyes, or hear it with your own ears, don’t invent it with your small mind and share it with your big mouth.
Okay, that last one is just another version of what was drilled in to me as a kid only in the less graceful form—You keep your nose out of other people’s business and they’ll keep their fist of your nose.
It worked for me.
As it is, everywhere I turn seems to sprout yet another worldly proverb or sagacious aphorism. Desperate to memorize these slick and savvy sayings, I’ve taken to writing them with a pen on my skin with the hopes that they’ll remain there long enough for the philosophy to penetrate before the ink departs.
If I went with the more indelible route–and tattooed myself with these many mottoes–I’d be a side show attraction at one of the county fairs. Plus, I’d rather not have small children run from me if I’m filled to the brim with all this wordy wisdom and no one to share it with.
I could start a Bookmobile that could rival my massive library system strictly with the number of volumes I possess that are only filled with the blunt, but brilliant quotes of others. They are everywhere around me: in my car, by my bedside, scattered across my desk, strapped to the belly of the dog for when we go take a walk and I’m in the mood to chew on a mouthful of metaphysics.
These quotes are at the bottom of people’s emailed notes, on the first pages of great novels, spray-painted across the arch of a bridge, on the tear sheets of all my calendars, etched onto my bars of soap—that one isn’t the most cunning use of marketing dollars, but oh well, I suppose the point is that the shower is a reflective place.
And of course, I find laudable quotations from the world’s greatest source for anonymous pithiness with a pen: the public bathroom stall.
I’m not fussed where all this acumen comes from, or indignant from Oscar Wilde’s slight that the majority of us will never realize an original idea and only spout those from the cool kids of the past.
I am prepared to receive the world’s collective enlightenment as it comes and from whichever direction it blows. There are an inordinate number of clever folks out there, adept at stringing together a sentence or two that have touched me to the very core.
I leave you with two last quotes and hope you might have one to share with me. The first I’m guessing might have been the rough draft of a speech somebody in Congress was about to deliver, but then ditched. The second is simply one I would have loved to have penned myself.
We, the unwilling,
led by the unknowing,
are doing the impossible
for the ungrateful.
We have done so much,
for so long,
with so little,
we are now qualified to do anything
Some people are like a slinky … not really good for anything, but you still can’t help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.
Don’t forget to check out what we’re cookin’ in the Scullery and what we all talked about down in the pub. Plus, you can see more of Robin Gott‘s humor–all from the only pen carved from a human funny bone.
- 10 Interesting facts about Oscar Wilde (http://www.irishcentral.com)
- Crackup Kid Quotes (http://www.rinkworks.com)
- 50 Beautiful Graffiti Artworks (http://www.smashingmagazine.com)