I love quotes. I have a million of ’em.
Funny enough, even with the nearly photographic quality of my memory, it is things that I hear that stick with me more than things I read.
Don’t get me wrong. I can still go right to the page on which Alessan says to Catriana, “You are the harbor of my soul’s journeying,” in my well-worn copy of “Tigana” by Guy Gavriel Kay. (Seriously, how come men don’t talk like that in real life?)
But most of the quotes that spring to my lips are from movies or television. “Seinfeld.” “Friends.” “The Princess Bride,” which simply has to be the most quotable film of all time:
“I do not think that word means what you think it means.”
“As you wish.”
“Unless I am wrong… and I am never wrong…”
“What I wouldn’t give for a wheelbarrow.” (followed by, “Where did we leave that wheelbarrow?” “On top of the albino, I think.”)
I could go on, but I won’t.
Instead, I’m going to focus on a quote that actually means something in my life.
It’s from The Professor, J.R.R. Tolkien, and he wrote:
I have long ceased to invent… I wait till I seem to know what really happened. Or till it writes itself.
Now, friends, I am no Tolkien, but I will admit that many times in my writing journey I have had that feeling of merely being an observer of the stories that play out in my head. Of finding something that was there all the time like an archaeologist, or of uncovering someone else’s treasure like a pirate. My characters have their own lives and their own reasons for doing things that they do not always choose to reveal to me. Sometimes, when the writing is flowing just right, it feels like it’s been done for you. Or, sometimes, it feels like the characters are doing something entirely their own — living out “what really happened” — and just now letting you in on it.
Please share a quote with me in the comments. I’d love to hear what moves you.