I like quotes. I am not sure why, but a good quote that fits the moment always takes precedence in my mind over something I myself may have been able to come up with. I own several quote books that I reference on a regular basis, and I have a small journal that I record my favorites in. This love for quotes was actually quite a recent development that was brought about by my search for something witty to put on the back of the letters that I wrote to friends. (Yes, I still write the odd letter. Very old fashioned but it makes getting the mail more interesting.)
I think there are two reasons why I like quotes so much. First off, they are by definition, short, succinct, and to the point. I am very much like this myself. My unconscious modus operandi is to be as clear, precise and abbreviated as possible. For example, in a conversation I often have to make a point of expressing what my brain has done with certain topics. If I do not, I will blurt out some random conclusion that makes perfect sense in context to what I have been thinking, but has no bearing whatsoever on the direction that the topic took in the real discussion. Quotes therefore are the sort of thing that I naturally gravitate towards and are similar to the way that I often express myself. They are designed to make a point in a few words and then let the receiver think about how you got there and decide for themselves whether your statement is valid or not.
The second reason I think that I like quotes is that they are often on the clever and sometimes profound side. (I grant that Multitudes are not profound, but I would hazard a guess that the slim majority is on the profound side. Nothing is backing up that statement except my limited personal experience.) I am very appreciative of clever writing and also of the profound. I think that this has a great deal to do with the nature of my upbringing. My dad is very funny, and has played a major part in the development of my sense of humor, while my mom is a fairly profound person herself, and unintentionally provokes thought on a regular basis. (She likes wit as well, but is much more selective in what she would consider truly clever than most people I know.)
While there are many people that have written excellent quotes, I think that my all time favorite author of quotes has to be Mark Twain. While I don’t always agree with the view he takes, I always like his turn of phrase. He is very sarcastic, which probably a major part of why I like him, as I am a relatively sarcastic person; but he also has some very revealing insights into human nature. As an example, here is a quote of his I ran across:
“Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.”
This is a good example of what I meant when I said that I don’t always agree with the view he takes, but appreciate his incite on human nature. Why does the kid who does well in school get made fun of? Is it not because his or her good example of study makes us feel bad if we aren’t trying our best? Why does the kid who always does the right thing get labeled a goody-two-shoes and is avoided? Because they make us look bad and that is not what we desire. In reality we should be inspired by good examples, but as he points out, more often than not our reaction is to take the easier road and try to ignore those on the high one.
So, that is why so many of my posts begin with quotes. Now you know. Ironically enough, as you may have noticed, this of all posts didn’t start with one. Try as I might, I couldn’t find a quote about quotes within the time frame I had given myself. So there you have it. I’m quoteless on quotes. (If any of you can amend this deficiency it would be appreciated. :-))