Last month, I had so much fun sharing some of my favorite quotes with you, I decided it might be fun to share a few each month. This time, I have five quotes I want to share, and I’ve made them into little square images so you can save them if you want.
I like to keep an entire file in my Notes app full of quotes, but it was getting difficult to navigate, so I created several more, all broken down by topic. I also have several albums on my camera reel full of quotes. Needless to say, words make my heart sing. I collect them, much like one might collect pretty things to put on shelves.
I don’t know, I’m not much for trinkets that require dusting, one of the most dreaded chores of all time, but words… They are the exception to my policy. I hang words on walls, and hope they don’t fall down when I dust them. I store them in books, files, notebooks, planners, albums, on stickers, and random scraps of paper. So, here I am offering you some words that, if they make your heart sing, you can save, too.
This quote made me squeal aloud the first time I read it. It might have been on social media or a random website, I really can’t remember. What I do remember was feeling like the author understood me. Completely. They grasped the depth and breadth of words, and how completely wonderful– or powerful they can be just by lining them up in the right order.
My excitement and delight was so high that day, I sent the quote out via text message with the words, “See, this is why I love words so much!” I’m not so sure the recipients understood how much joy that small quote brought me, but they placated me with smiles and love hearts and clapping hands.
Have I ever mentioned how much I love the Narnia series? I have memories of my own parents reading the series aloud to us. Then the dutiful taping of the old movies when they arrived on the BBC. And then a reread of the series on long hot summer days when time was best spent sprawled on the floor with a fan blowing across you, and someone reading a delightful story to whisk you away to a land where it was always winter, but never Christmas.
Eventually, I read them to my own children. My copies have slick pages and colorful illustrations inside. We even own a read aloud version of The Lion The Witch & The Wardrobe, which is fully illustrated and just as beautiful to look at as it is to read.
There are many quotes by Lewis that are wonderful and worth having in my store pile. Some hang on the walls, some in my heart, and others buried in notebooks and files. But this one, this one gets to see the light of day this week. As I was looking through quotes and pulling ones that spoke to me, this one hit the tip of my writer’s heart.
Ink, or at least words, are the greatest cure for all that ails me. Most of the time. When my heart is heavy, I write about it. When my heart is joyful, I write about it. When my heart is tired, I write about it. Simply put, I write about all the things, because, as another quote I have says, “I don’t know how I feel until I write about it.” Which is partly true.
I know when I’m feeling sad, hurt, rejected, lost, angry, happy, joyful. But sometimes it’s the act of writing it out that makes me realize why. It’s the part that heals that aching emotion, or the one that says, “I’m rejoicing with you too.”
Oh, this quote. Would it shock you much to learn it resided on my writer’s desk for a year or so? Then, I finally went out to the tool dresser, grabbed a hammer, and hung it amongst my Writing Word Wall. It was one of those quotes, that when I first stumbled on it I didn’t hesitate to print it out, frame it, and read it each day.
It, much like the Lewis quote above, hit the emotional vein of my writing heart. I won’t lie, I cry.
Sometimes I make myself cry with what I write. There was this time, I was writing a backstory for one of my characters. It wasn’t enough to just know it, I wanted to commit it all to paper to reflect back on as I worked. And so, I wrote, and wrote and wrote. The room’s cheery summer glow faded to dusk, and when I finally surfaced with puffy eyes and stooped shoulders, someone asked about dinner. My response caused a ripple effect of laughter.
“Dinner? You can’t expect me to make dinner right now. I’m still processing everything I wrote!”
“What did you write?”
“But you wrote it.”
“It still hurt.”
This quote doesn’t mean that writer’s are emotionless, it means that we pour a little bit of ourselves into everything we write. We always say “a little bit”, but in reality we pour a lot of ourselves into what we write. We befriend our characters, we make ourselves comfortable in their worlds. We hurt with them, we rejoice with them. But, we also process our own lives through words, and sometimes that can feel a whole lot like bleeding on paper.
This quote stumbled across my path a few years ago. It was typed up on an old library due date card. I clutched the card to myself, and eventually framed it and hung it up amongst the other writing quotes on my wall. It’s not that I want to write bad things about anyone in particular.
It’s more that we write what we know. And sometimes our stories are also about the things we’ve endured, the places we’ve been, the journeys we’ve made. And that means, at least for myself, that sometimes there’s not just a bit of myself in what I write, but a bit of other people I know, or have met along the way, in what I write, too.
I never write to shame someone, to drag their name through mud, to challenge their character or their personality. But there are times, when the hurt one experiences can certainly seep into what we write. I have a project I’ve been working on, very slowly, for years about our adventures on The Island. And this is a quote I fall back onto when there are difficult parts to write. Parts where we don’t want to hurt someone’s feelings, even though they behaved rather poorly.
While this quote doesn’t have an author on it, I’d like to make it very clear that I did not come up with these words. I can resonate with them. I can smile as I read them. They are in my collection, but I did not write them. One thing I know for sure is that the first line of that quote is evident in the rest of the words spoken.
While working on my first manuscript, I dodged around a few difficult scenes. Scenes where the characters had to do or say things that were very much not me. And I resisted. I fought back, I refused to hear what my characters were saying, and so they stopped talking to me.
One day, I was talking with a friend and explaining the dilemma I was in. She reminded me that my characters are not me, but their stories are still worth telling. Despite the dirty, despite the hard, despite the aspects that are not me. And when I sat down to tackle those scenes again, they went from being some of my weakest to some of the strongest, and ones I was most proud of.
It can be hard for some people to realize that the writer is not the character that they write. Just like it can be hard for people to remember that the actor is not the character they play. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it means that it was written so well that it was hard to know where one ended and the other began.
Either way, it’s the ending of that quote that gets me every time. That makes me sigh happily, and close my eyes for a minute. Every story I write has a bit of truth to it, my truth. And while it might only be one tiny fragment of the whole story, I know it’s there. Again, it’s not the character, because I am not those I write about, but there’s an element of truth to even the most fictional of stories.
I hope you won’t go back and read some of the short stories I’ve shared and look for real people in them, or for me. They aren’t there. The bits of me, the bits of truth, in the stories I write might just be wishes and dreams, or they might be a single real experience I had. Someday, I might tell which one is which, but for today let’s just enjoy the quotes.