It has been far, far too long since I’ve done a quotes post. For those who are newer here, you should know that I am a collector of quotes. I love stories and I love words and I love when they resonate with me, change me. So today, here some of my favorite quotes from recent fiction reads. (One book gets two quotes because it’s impossible to pick just one from it.) I also did something a little different this time and included my own brief thoughts about each quote. I hope you enjoy them, and I can’t wait to chat about them with you in the comments.
“The whole life of the swimmer is one of courage and adventure. All of it builds to the climax and the end. When the swimmer dies he has spent himself completely for the end for which he was made, and this is not sadness. It is triumph.”
~ I Heard the Owl Call My Name, Margaret Craven
The character here is talking about salmon, but of course it can apply to our human lives as well. I love the idea of spending myself completely for the end for which I was made. I want to be able to say that I did that when I die. I want my end to be not sadness but triumph.
He looked at the oaken staff leaning in the chimney-corner, remembering the radiance of it that had burned out evil from the dark, and he yearned to stay with Ogion, to go wandering through the forests with him, long and far, learning how to be silent. Yet other cravings were in him that would not be stilled, the wish for glory, the will to act. Ogion’s seemed a long road towards mastery, a slow bypath to follow, when he might go sailing before the seawinds straight to the Inmost Sea, to the Isle of the Wise, where the air was bright with enchantments and the Archmage walked amidst wonders.
~ A Wizard of Earthsea, Ursula K. Le Guin
The wish for glory and the will to act versus learning how to be silent and the long road towards mastery—I relate to this struggle. I want to review the way my life is going not as being stuck or left behind while everyone else progresses, but as that long road towards mastery. I want to remember that the slow, silent path still contains growth and still leads to great things.
I think of leaping after a high throw and that wonderful collaboration of the whole body with itself and that wonderful certainty and amazement when you know the glove is just where it should be. Oh, I will miss the world!
~ Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
One of my favorite things about this book is how it celebrates both spiritual mysteries and the physical joys of this world. I have experienced moments like the one in this quote, the glory of physical exertion and of your body performing some activity perfectly. I know I tend focus on the immaterial over the material so I need to remember the blessing and beauty of being a physical creation as well.
Now that I look back, it seems to me that in all that deep darkness a miracle was preparing. So I am right to remember it as a blessed time, and myself as waiting in confidence, even if I had no idea what I was waiting for.
~ Gilead, Marilynne Robinson
This quote, like so many from this book, made me cry. It describes my life right now and it was a grace beyond words to read a book about someone (it doesn’t matter that he’s fictional) who came out from a time like that and can look back on it as a blessing. I want to spend these days waiting in confidence even though I have no idea what I’m waiting for.
There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily.
~ Barchester Towers, Anthony Trollope
A good reminder for all of us writers. Sometimes I get annoyed or surprised when writing is difficult, like I expected it all to just flow out of me and land on the page in instant perfection. I need a reality check. Thanks, Anthony.
And I know now that all the time I was trying to get
out of the dust,
the fact is,
what I am,
I am because of the dust.
And what I am is good enough.
Even for me.
~ Out of the Dust, Karen Hesse
What I am, I am because of the dust. I love that so much. What we are, we are because of our trials. They said the fight would break us / but the struggle help to make / who we are. Also, ugh, those last two lines. I needed them. ❤
“But surely you don’t think a man who struggles against a temptation into which he falls at last, as bad as the man who never struggles at all?”
“No, my boy, I pity him, in proportion to his struggles, for they foreshadow the inward suffering which is the worst form of Nemesis. Consequences are unpitying. Our deeds carry their terrible consequences, quite apart from any fluctuations that went before––consequences that are hardly ever confined to ourselves. And it is best to fix our minds on that certainty, instead of considering what may be the elements of excuse for us.”
~ Adam Bede, George Eliot
Um, so this is super convicting?? I know sometimes when I struggle with a temptation and then ultimately give in, I pat myself on the back that at least I didn’t give in right away. But that’s not really a triumph is it? There’s no excusing sin. Consequences will follow––and not just on ourselves––regardless of whether we tried to say no. Not a fun quote, but one I need to remember.
Basketball Rule #9
When the game is on
Grab the ball.
to the hoop.
~ The Crossover, Kwame Alexander
I had the hardest time deciding which basketball rule to include. They’re all so good. I never knew a book about some middle schoolers playing basketball could, first of all, be written in great poetry, and second, teach me so much about life.
Also, I’ve been writing reviews of every book I read on goodreads, so if you want more book talk or book recommendation, head there (I’m at Aberdeen on there). =)