Quotation addiction

© Photo by Nancy Butts

© Photo by Nancy Butts

“You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.”
~Ray Bradbury

“All writers are lunatics.”
~The character Fenoglio—a writer himself—in Cornelia Funke’s Inkspell.

As you can tell, I am somewhat addicted to quotes, to the point where I’ve written them down in a silva rerum, the medieval Latin term used for the antiquated practice of keeping a commonplace book. But these first two quotes say something that I’m rather proud of, as a writer myself. Our tribe are all a little bit crazy. But I believe it’s precisely because we writers perceive and respond to the world in a  twisted fashion that we are able to see through to the heart of things, when others perhaps do not. At least I like to think so.

The first two are the epigraphs of my novels.
From Cheshire Moon: “Without silence, words lose their meaning.”
~Henri Nouwen
From The Door in the Lake: “Penetrating so many secrets, we cease to believe in the unknowable. But there it sits, nevertheless, calmly licking its chops.”
~HL Mencken

And more…

“Wicked people never have time for reading,” Dewey said. “It’s one of the reasons for their wickedness.”
~The character Dewey Denouement on p. 226 of Lemony Snicket’s [aka Daniel Handler] The Penultimate Peril.

“Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.”
~Hannah Arendt, historian

“Our species thinks in metaphors and learns through stories.”
~Mary Catherine Bateson, anthropologist

“The fact of storytelling hints at a fundamental human unease, hints at human imperfection. Where there is perfection there is no story to tell.”
~Ben Okri, Nigerian poet born 1959

“Human kind cannot bear very much reality.”
~TS Eliot, Murder in the Cathedral

Finally, here is the opening paragraph of a book that my father gave me when I was eleven. Jackson’s book scared the bejeezus out of me, but it also inspired me to write—because we all need to dream, and writers are the modern-day shamans who help us to do that.

“No live organism can continue for long to exist under conditions of absolute reality; even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream. Hill House, not sane, stood by itself against its hills, holding darkness within; it had stood so for eighty years and might stand for eighty more. Within, walls continued upright, bricks met neatly, floors were firm, and doors were sensibly shut; silence lay steadily against the wood and stone of Hill House, and whatever walked there, walked alone.”
~Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

 

© Photo by Nancy Butts

© Photo by Nancy Butts

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