Gwnewch y pethau bychain

Quotes and contemplations

I keep a quotes file. I’ve kept a quotes file since I was in college, although my original one was in a notebook and got lost in the fire, so the one I have currently only dates back a few years. In it, I note things that strike me as either funny or profound. Some of them are from famous people, but many of them are just things that see in the course of reading Livejournal or Usenet or mailing lists or whatever i happen to be perusing.

Sometimes, I go through it to see what jumps out at me, and then I ponder that for a while. It’s a good way of focusing my mind, and sometimes I’ll find that something hits me with a different or deeper meaning than it did when I first selected it.

“Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
–Henry David Thoreau

“Love hurts. Not loving kills.”
–Mike Whitaker (fleetfootmike)

“Love never dies a natural death. It dies because we don’t know how to replenish its source. It dies of blindness and errors and betrayals. It dies of illness and wounds; it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”
–Anais Nin

“Love is something you do, not something you feel.”
–Gordon Atkinson (Real Live Preacher)

“It’s a dangerous life, and none of us gets out of it alive. I weigh my fears against my joys, and try to make sure the latter tip the balance.”
–Pat Kight (kightp)

“Living is a form of not being sure, not knowing what next or how. The moment you know how, you begin to die a little. The artist never entirely knows. We guess. We may be wrong, but we take leap after leap in the dark.”
–Agnes de Mille

“We live in a world where joy is possible, love is possible, happiness is possible; where all things are possible, if we’re willing to take the time, take a chance, take a breath and step off the edge of everything that is for the sake of everything that might be.”
–Seanan McGuire (cadhla)


Penny for the Guy and One for All!




  1. Cool. All of these speak to me. I’m going to paste them chez moi. Thank you for posting this 🙂

  2. I have another one for you

    I have recently been surfing a new webcomic and finding various strips I enjoyed. This is my favorite.

    • Re: I have another one for you

      Oddly enough, I discovered that strip some months ago, really fell in love with it, and somehow didn’t bookmark it. Earlier today, in another context, I came across it again, and so was quite amused that you chose to post this just now. 🙂

  3. More commentary … I keep meeting more people who read RLP that I wouldn’t necessarily have expected to read his blog. His writing has been very helpful to me this last year or so. His quote makes me remember a song I am very fond of, “Something that We Do”

    I have been thinking of starting an actual physical “commonplace book” and putting quotes I love into it. Sigh, it may, like various other projects, have to wait until I fully heal. Nice to see you are already doing something like that.

    • Real Live Preacher is one of the rare and wonderful people that you encounter that you can’t help but listen to, because he has a way of speaking directly to you in ways that compel you to listen.

      The current version of my file is really just a .txt file that I add to whenever something strikes me. It’s not overly elaborate (and since the fire, I’m loath to allow it to exist only in one physical place, anyway.)

  4. Thanks for posting these -- you made me go look at my quote wall again. (Of interesting quotes from philosophy readings. I put it up years ago and stopped adding to it awhile back. But it was good to go reread it.)

    • Quotes facinate me, for all that they are concentrated bits of wisdom. Even the funny stuff in my file usually reflects some notion that’s worth exploring, from time to time.

  5. “it dies of weariness, of witherings, of tarnishings.”

    Reality can be quite a stressor, can’t it. How people react says a bit about them.

    “take a breath and step off the edge”

    Why am I thinking of Indiana Jones confronting the chasm of the chalice? 🙂

    Ann O.

    • Reality can be quite a stressor, can’t it. How people react says a bit about them.

      “Well, I’ve wrestled with reality for 35 years, Doctor, and I’m happy to state I finally won out over it. “
      Elwood P. Dowd, Harvey

  6. Thank you… although… *cries*

    I’m not entirely sure that the RLP quote, on the other hand, doesn’t in some ways say the opposite to the others. It’s either in vehement agreement, or diametrically opposed, I think.

    • I don’ think it does. Of course, not all of these quotes are reflecting the same things. Nothing is binary, and everything has facets.

      Ultimately, though, I agree with Rev. Atkinson. Love is an action, not an emotion. Just feeling isn’t enough. You must put that feeling into motion, vest it in all your thoughts and deeds, or it doesn’t really *mean* anything.

      • 01011001011001010111001100100000011010010111010000100000011010010111001100100001

        Love is both a noun and a verb. As a feeling it’s a noun, a thing and as an action it’s a verb. And sometimes the only thing you can do with love is to keep it from the person loved because they would be hurt by it…

      • Having had a little time to myself to think while avoiding being around people this afternoon, it strikes me that love is both, really. But what if it’s there as an action, but without the emotion part? Not feeling in love, but still acting it out? Does that still constitute love, I wonder?

        And, of course, there’s then the reciprocal side of it. If someone still acts out (some of) the things they did out of love, should one feel loved? Even if the emotional part is absent?


  7. Hm. After a bit of contemplation, I’d have to go with a bit of polite disagreement with Agnes. I don’t buy that a bit of a personal clue is such a bad thing. Other than that, they are all quite suitably poetic 🙂

    • A bit of a clue is good. But what i’m taking from that quote is that there is no certainty. The future is always at least a bit of a mystery. Life is always about heading into the unknown, for, as Seanan put it, “the sake of everything that might be.”

      • *shrug* I can’t really read, “The moment you know, you die a little inside” as just “the future is a bit of a mystery”. I’ll just chalk that up to a difference in philosophy.

      • “A man cannot know what will happen; who can tell him what the future holds?” -- Ecclesiastes 10:14

        (And thank you for all of these.)

  8. --“Love hurts. Not loving kills.”

    “In that moment, he was aware not only of how much he loved his companions but of how fragile they were. Of how fragile all of them were, even himself, and of how terribly it would hurt to lose any of them. He saw the stark price of love more clearly in that instant than he ever had before.
    The price of loss. The knowledge that, in the end, he must lose anyone he loved, for only elves were immortal, and even elves died. Yet it wasn’t a depressing awareness, for the pain he would feel if he lost his loved ones was the other side of how much joy he took from their company. He could avoid the pain only by renouncing the joy and the trust and the knowledge that he was not alone, and building that sort of armor around his core would simply be a different sort of death.”
    David Weber -- The War God’s Own

    • He could avoid the pain only by renouncing the joy and the trust and the knowledge that he was not alone, and building that sort of armor around his core would simply be a different sort of death.”

      Thank you for that.

  9. Food for thought…thank you.

    More later

  10. I appreciate the inspiration. I too have a quote book. I’ve kept it since I was in high school. And your Thoreau quote I have on a magnet on my fridge…which is across from my bed so I see it every morning when I wake up. It’s a great way to start the day and remind myself how I want to live my life.

  11. “Love is something you do, not something you feel.”
    --Gordon Atkinson (Real Live Preacher)

    This is sooooooooooooooooooooooo true!

  12. I gotta compile my favorite quotes into a list. Some of my faves:

    “There is only one of you. Fearlessly be yourself!”
    -author unknown

    “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
    -Elbert Hubbard

    • “Do not take life too seriously. You will never get out of it alive.”
      -Elbert Hubbard

      “Don’t you go takin’ life so serious, son. It ain’t nohow permament!”
      --Walt Kelly (Pogo)

  13. Cage Of Freedom

    There’s a similar image from the Giorgio Moroder rock soundtrack to the colorized Metropolis remake.
    “‘Til every wall now touches the skin”. Oh how I love that song. The whole album, actually.

    Ann O.

    • Re: Cage Of Freedom

      Gah. This was meant to be a Comment on demoneyes Comment, specifically “that sort of armor around his core”.


  14. Going back to this again, I’m not sure love is a verb rather than a noun. The *expression* of love is a verb, certainly.

    And sometimes that expression of love lies in not expressing it.

  15. Oh yeah, and for sure, that may be the hardest of all. Been there, done that, wished I’d not waited quite so long. 🙁

  16. My quotes

    Here is one of my own quotes, and a great question that I saw on a coffee cup, that I use as a “check” to see how I am doing. Both quotes help me take hard look at my work and goals, to make sure I am doing what I *want* not the safe *shoulds.*

    “A goal is a dream with a deadline.”

    “What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

    Both quotes are why I am a freelance business writer 🙂

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