A Drift of Quills are revealing their top 3 inspirational book quotes this month. What special words motivate us, and why? Where did those genius lines come from? The best book quotes have a way of sticking with us long after we’ve read a book, and they crop up when we least expect. Even better, finding a particular line or paragraph that strikes a chord within us is like finding a treasure…
I am a lemon in the book quotation collection department. Oh, I have accumulated scores of quotes, but mostly in the line of pithy truisms. Like, “All of us could take a lesson from the weather; it pays no attention to criticism.” Or “A ship in the harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” They are little reminders to myself that I need to buck up, knuckle down, stop being overly sensitive, work toward my goals, and remember to breathe. Those reminders get jotted down on post-it notes and stuck around my workspace. Bright, rich butterflies whispering directions I would otherwise forget.
In this strange country I’ve found myself traveling since my husband was diagnosed with ALS, quotes that remind me I am not the only one on such a road—or that I will make it through this darkness—particularly resonate.
“For a while they stood there, like men on the edge of a sleep where nightmare lurks, holding it off, though they know that they can only come to morning through the shadows.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers
There is another quote floating around the ether-space pointing out that in every end, there is also a beginning. There is hope there, despite the slough of sadness and apprehension in which I now stand.
“I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.”
― Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter
I am, I think, changed already. This road is already over a year long. (Sixteen months, if anyone is counting…) Some days—many days—I am less. I am fractured, insecure, overwhelmed, mourning. Such a weight could crush me if I let it, but then what would I be? For a fact, I am not the same person I was two years ago. There is a sense of expectation and even anticipation for what I might yet become.
The quotes I collect don’t all center on myself or my current circumstances. Many of them go into a folder or document dedicated to one of my own characters, and they’re usually passages I swipe rather than single lines.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”
― Frank Herbert, Dune
In The Mage’s Gift series, my character Sherakai finds himself in the hands of an antagonist with far more power and experience than he has. This passage describes him so perfectly! It captures his terror of losing himself and puts the power of survival, of victory, in his own hands. We could all use such a mantra, for we all face fear in its thousand different forms.
This brings me to a final, bonus quote:
“I love quotations because it is a joy to find thoughts one might have, beautifully expressed with much authority by someone recognized wiser than oneself.”
― Marlene Dietrich
Top 3 Inspirational Book Quotes From the Rest of the Quills
Author of The Unseen Chronicles
The quotes with the most meaning to me personally have come from within stories themselves, as opposed to quotes from an author or prominent individual. I think that’s because for me a quote can capture the essence a story–suddenly a snippet evokes an entire journey. The sentence is no longer a disassociated fragment, it has a context. It becomes the story itself, capturing some essential element that inspires me to consider, at least for a moment, the entire narrative from a single perspective.
Author of the Oathtaker Series
It’s interesting to consider those things that catch one’s attention. For my part, they are often obscure lines that most people likely pass by without a second thought. Occasionally when I find a gem tucked in amidst all the words surrounding it, I grasp it, then adopt it for my own for later use. No, I don’t mean that I copy and use it in my written works, I just say it from time to time. For example, back as a young adult, I read some of Robert A. Heinlein’s science fiction. From his works, one line stood out that I’ve revised—just a bit—and repeated many times over the years (giving Heinlein credit, of course). My version reads thusly…
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Have you got a quote or two that inspire you? Tell us about it in the comments below!