Good Narrative Principles

Collecting Quotes


Gotta wonder if collecting aphorisms is a variation on the petitioning the Lord with prayer theme?

Today a neighbor handed me this little chestnut — “every day is a gift because it’s the present”. There’s also a beautiful thought that Tim cut out and read to me “To love someone is to learn the song that is in their heart and to sing it to them when they have forgotten.”

There are quotes that I pin up around my office area. Here’s one “The world is a narrow bridge, a very narrow bridge, and the main thing is not to be afraid.”

And there are two quotes that I have to get up and read. They hover over my printer as if blessing it. Both capture the same idea of not hiding your light under a bush. (another saying) but in more beautiful and eloquent terms, and each time I read it I am inspired to continue writing in obscurity and not expect anything from what I do on a daily basis but merely to be content that I am here, and I am writing.

“That is enough” both quotes seem to say.

Finally, there is the quote by Charles Kinglsey. I mention his name just to give him his just desserts. It only seems fair after having whined about writing in relative obscurity. His quote is about freedom — “There are two freedoms, — the false where a man is free to do what he likes; the true, where he is free to do what he out.” This was supposed to be the spine, the theme of the screenplay I am currently rewriting for the upteenth time.

So the question is does it really work, this pinning of quotes around your space? It’s nice to keep these thoughts top of mind as you move through your life, but it is a bit pathetic. It strikes me that I don’t know enough about how to exist in the world, you have to take someone else’s wisdom that they’ve struggled to realize, and then graft that onto your life.

It reminds me a bit of reading a book like “A short history of time” and while thumbing through the pages (or watching the video) you get the concepts. But two hours later it’s all kind of vague.

Now if I were a physicist or at the very least mastered the fundamentals of physics in high school taught by a teacher who held you in his grip (I say “he” because it is always a guy) until the concepts settled in, then maybe the concepts conveyed in “A short history of Time” would stick with me.

Similarly if I were a master of living a satisfying life, then these quotes would resonate. But since I’m not, then the best they can do, these inspiring quotes, is light the way with a feeble candle.

And whisper, keep going.

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