Quotables

This is a verbal gallery (in progress) of quotes related to the literary arts. I knew my weird quote collecting habit would come in handy some day. It’ll just take a while to upload them all, especially since the list keeps growing; so keep checking in and scrolling through. Who knows, you may find inspiration.

“Perhaps I shall never roll in wealth. That is not the point.” – Zora Neale Hurston, African American author

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“Jump at de sun. We might not land on the sun, but at least we’d get off the ground.” – Zora Neale Hurston, African American author

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“All sorrows can be borne if we put them in  a story or tell a story about them.” – Isak Dinesen (aka Baroness Karen Von Blixen Finecke), Danish author

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“We know what we are, but know not what we may be.” – William Shakespeare, British playwright, poet

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“Hold fast to dreams; for if dreams die, life is a broken-winged bird that cannot fly.” – Langston Hughes, African American author, poet

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“I do not weep at the world – I am too busy sharpening my oyster knife.” – Zora Neale Hurston, African American author

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“The writer – like the musician or painter – must be free to explore.” – Alice Walker, African America author

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“Shame is a chain around your mental heart…my greatest advice to anyone female, and especially the female writer, is lose shame.” – Jamaica Kincaid, Antiguan born writer

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“Not for money will I do anything but because I have something to do.” – Bob Marley, Jamacan reggae singer

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“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow that talent to the dark place where it leads.” – Erica Jong, Polish/Jewish-Russian American author

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“Beyond talent like all the usual words: discipline, love, luck – but most of all endurance” – James Baldwin, African American author

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“Writers are the ones who keep writing after all the others quit.” – Ann Lane Petry, African American author

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“It is wise to take the time to develop one’s own way of being.” – Maya Angelou, African American author, poet, performer, sage

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This one comes via a past winner, but originates with Joss Whedon creator of two shows I love (Buffy and Firefly), also of the highly enjoyable films Serenity and the Avengers: “I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters I am not but most importantly, I write to explore all the things I am afraid of.” I can relate to that; so, thanks for sharing, Ariel.

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“Believe in the power of stories. The more we are able to see ourselves in stories–which is why I write children’s books and adult fiction–the better we will be equipped to think through some of the vexing problems we face and perhaps see the beauty in our lives.” – Geoffrey Philp, Jamaican-American writer.

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“Writing both makes me crazy and keeps me sane. 90% of the time it feels like hard, hard work, but the other 10% of the time is so exciting I couldn’t do without it.” – Ashley Hope Pérez, teacher and writer of young adult fiction

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“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue. It is that they are incomplete.” – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, TED Talk on A Single Story.

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“Your fiction must have an atmosphere because without it your characters will be unable to breathe.” – Janet Burraway in her book Writing Fiction

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“You should never believe anything writers tell you for a living. We lie for a living.” – David Belbin (as quoted in Shoestring Press’ New Writing Poetry and Prose)

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“The willingness, the ardent desire even, to revise separates the poet from the person who sees poetry as therapy or self-expression. To revise is to improve, and I suspect that the desire to improve hints at a longing for perfection, which shows how related the formal and spiritual sides of poetry are. The impulse to improve is also a sign of humility… learning how to be worth one’s salt as a writer.” – American poet Richard Tillinghast

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“Free verse is not really free… it has to have a pulse” – Mervyn Morris at Nature Island Literary Festival poetry workshop (2012)

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“Being unhappy, even briefly helps, or being confused; sometimes people write to find out what they think” – Mervyn Morris at NILF workshop (2012)

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“The beginning is generally the end; (it) sets up the promise of what will unfold later.” – Maaza Mengiste, author of Beneath the Lion’s Gaze and one of my workshop leaders at the 2012 Callaloo Writers Workshop. Just something she said in session that’s sticking with me.

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“No one truly dies until no one remembers you” – African proverb

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“Keep human! See people, go places, drink if you feel like it. ” and other commandments from Henry Miller.

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“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.” – Anton Chekov.

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I like what this says about staying hungry (as opposed to getting bloated on arrogance): “Somehow I’m always still that kid who is trying to get the record deal.” – Lenny Kravitz (22nd December 2011 on Piers Morgan Tonight)

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“WE SHOULD seek to live our lives with as much courage, adventure and love as we possibly can.”- from Afri-Love’s interview with Antiguan and Barbudan activist Amina DohertyAmina-Doherty-She-Rox-Lox, blogger at She Rox Lox.

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“I COME from a part of the world that is often defined by the views of visitors to the region… I’ve come to appreciate the importance of being able to tell our own stories on our own terms.” – JV Radio Pictures’ interview with blogger at Caribbean Book Blog, Tony Williams

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” I WROTE eighty stories before I got one published, it’s persistence beats resistance.” – 2011 winner of the BBC National Short Story Award recipient, Canadian D. W. Wilson D W Wilson(lifted from http://www.commonwealthwriters.org/)

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Two gems from Guyanese and Caribbean great Martin CarterImage hosting by Photobucket, excerpted from his poetry:

“AND SO

If you see me

Looking at your hands

Listening when you speak

Marching in your ranks

You must know

I do not sleep to dream

but dream to change the world“*

and

“FROM THE nigger yard of yesterday

I come with my burden

To the world of tomorrow

I turn with my strength.”

*the area in bold actually hung on my wall during my UWI days, a time in which I actually did very little sleeping – actually that hasn’t changed much.

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