Initially, the genesis of my quote book was because I had too many blank journals and I needed to start using them up. But as I’ve had time this summer to get deeper into reading and writing, I’ve realized how appropriate it is to save and compile a collection of favorite sentences.
I think too often I get hung up on originality as the only way to become a successful writer. However, Tolkien borrowed from The Saga of the Volsungs, just as T.S. Elliot drew upon the Divine Comedy. Inspiration doesn’t just materialize in our minds. If artists were able to get along just using their inner aesthetic direction, they wouldn’t go to museums and spend hours sketching copies of the masters.
I’m only a few pages in, but below is my favorite quote so far. It captures the limbo that I felt as a new college student, who constantly had questions about the future that she desperately wanted answers to.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” ~ Rainer Maria Rilke
I first found this citation in a newspaper. With no idea who the author was– turns out he’s a 19th century Bohemian-Austrian poet and novelist– I felt thrilled to happen upon something stimulating, so unique, and not from any author I was already familiar with.
Since my little white notebook is hardly full, if you have a favorite quote, please feel free to comment with it below.