Those of you who have read the monthly magazine ‘Readers’ Digest’ will know of a page devoted regularly for quotes. It is called ‘Quotable Quotes’. There are thousands upon thousands of quotes. This should not surprise you.
From the time the first words were spoken, people have said things to each other. Some of what has been said are commonly said by people all over the earth, in different languages of course. But there are things said that are so beautifully put or are so profound that they explain to us the unexplained or simply make us feel that life is sweeter than we thought it was or could be. They distill thousands of explanations and theories into a few words that shine with clarity. Such words are repeated. They become quotable quotes.
But remember that this world and all life are so complex that theories that work in one context may not in another. This is why it is said ‘The 50th quotable quote is a direct contradiction of the first’. Well, it may not the be the 50th of course but the point is clear. We say ‘absence makes the heart grow fonder’ even as we say ‘out of sight, out of mind’.
This is why you have to be careful when you use them. There are lots. You don’t need to subscribe to the Readers’ Digest to find them. You can type some word that describes a particular sentiment you want to express and add ‘quotes’ and google. You’ll get many websites. Each with dozens of quotes. You will find it tough to pick, there are so many. But you’ll find some amazing words. It can be quite intoxicating but remember that too much of it can stop you from thinking for yourself.
The world has heard a lot of words and yet, let us not forget, it has not made people silent. People keep talking. People keep saying new things. People keep saying old stories in new ways. And it is a good thing. Just imagine if all we did was toss quotes at each other. Would we be us or would we be echoes of people who said some nice lines hundreds of years ago?
The world can be seen differently by different eyes. It can be described in a thousand, no a million different ways. We use words that were made before we arrived on this earth and so we can’t help but draw from the ideas, thoughts and descriptions of those who came before. But this does not mean that we can’t be originals ourselves.
It is not too hard, actually. Look at something or close your eyes and think of a melody. Let a fragrance enter your heart and let it remind you of things far away that you’ve seen or a person you met or a conversation you had. Let those other things give you the words to then describe what you saw, the melody you remembered or the encounter that has come back to you.
There are lots of words. You can mix them any way you like. As long as it makes sense, of course! But try it. It is not only the poets who make poetry. There’s a poet inside everyone of us. If you wake that poet up, you’ll have all the quotes you need and no doubt others will re-quote them and maybe they’ll make into some ‘QUotable QUotes’ list one day. But if you want to wake the poet, you cannot do it by throwing old words or thoughts. The cold water of words that are used differently from the way they were used before will make the difference.
Be the poet that you are and not the recite of poetry that has come before. Quotes will take you far, but be wary. They can stop you at some point.