The Quote Garden
 “I dig old books.”
 Est. 1998

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Terri's Favorite Quotations

Related Quotes      Nature      Wise Words      Attitude      Simplicity      Labor

NOTE:  Some of the quotes on this page were submitted to me by visitors, and not all have been verified for original source or wording. I'm working hard to confirm everything, but in the meantime please be aware of the possibility for errors.   —ღ Terri, March 2021

A horse loves freedom, and the weariest old work horse will roll on the ground or break into a lumbering gallop when he is turned loose in the open. ~Gerald Raftery, Snow Cloud, 1951

You're not going to make me have a bad day. If there's oxygen on earth and I'm breathing, it's going to be a good day. ~Cotton Fitzsimmons

Dwell not upon thy weariness, thy strength shall be according to the measure of thy desire. ~Arab proverb

We carry our burden on and on, until one day, suddenly, we laugh and set it down upon the ground. ~Muriel Strode (1875–1964), My Little Book of Life, 1912

She is leading what she calls "an ideal life," — painting, music, love, and the world shut out. ~Louisa May Alcott, journal, February 1879, of May Alcott Nieriker

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it. ~J. M. Barrie, The Little Minister, 1891

Driving down the wrong road and knowing it,
The fork years behind, how many have thought
To pull up on the shoulder and leave the car
Empty, strike out across the fields; and how many
Are still mazed among dock and thistle,
Seeking the road they should have taken?
~Damon Knight, The Man in the Tree, 1984

You've got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you're not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice. ~Steven D. Woodhull

Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be. ~Thomas à Kempis, Imitation of Christ, c.1420

How strange to use "You only live once" as an excuse to throw it away. ~Bill Copeland, unverified

The robb'd that smiles steals something from the thief... ~William Shakespeare, Othello, c.1604  [I, 3, Duke of Venice]

The human story does not always unfold like a mathematical calculation on the principle that two and two make four. Sometimes in life they make five or minus three; and sometimes the blackboard topples down in the middle of the sum and leaves the class in disorder and the pedagogue with a black eye. ~Winston Churchill

The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor: he took my measure anew every time he saw me, whilst all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me. ~Bernard Shaw

Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. ~M. Kathleen Casey, as quoted in Karen Casey and Martha Vanceburg, The Promise of a New Day, 1983

Some people like my advice so much that they frame it upon the wall instead of using it. ~Gordon R. Dickson, unverified

I knew it, too, but my resolve was taken, the world was wide, and I would not waste my life in friction when it could be turned into momentum. ~Frances E. Willard, Glimpses of Fifty Years: The Autobiography of an American Woman, 1889

If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day. ~E.B. White, quoted in Israel Shenker, "E.B. White: Notes and Comment by Author," New York Times, 1969 July 11th

If you want to be happy, be happy. ~South African proverb

Happiness is always a by-product. It never comes to those who concentrate on securing it... It always comes as a result of something else. The pursuit of noble things, the things essentially worth while... As a man goes on life's journey, with a brave heart, doing the best he can... he often hears the faint flutter of invisible wings, he feels a presence, a companion. It is Happiness. ~Chicago Herald, c. 1917

Why be saddled with this thing called life expectancy? Of what relevance to an individual is such a statistic? Am I to concern myself with an allotment of days I never had and was never promised? Must I check off each day of my life as if I am subtracting from this imaginary hoard? No, on the contrary, I will add each day of my life to my treasure of days lived. And with each day, my treasure will grow, not diminish. ~Robert Brault

I can't complain, but sometimes I still do. ~Joe Walsh

What is to give light must endure burning. ~Anton Wildgans (1881–1932), quoted by Viktor Frankl

For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin — real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way. Something to be got through first, some unfinished business; time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life could begin. At last it had dawned on me that these obstacles were my life. I was always rolling these stones from my grave. ~Bette Howland, W-3, 1974

Life is a mixed blessing, which we vainly try to unmix. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic's Notebook, 1966, © Thomas Paine McLaughlin

Let none be offended or surprised at this piping and dancing. Eccentricity belongs to genius; the most ardent soul requires relaxation from severe studies; and our author has a mind both mighty and playful, skipping like the unicorn. ~Review of Mr. William Huntington's Literary and Religious Curiosity, c.1802

Maybe we should develop a Crayola bomb as our next secret weapon. A happiness weapon. A Beauty Bomb. And every time a crisis developed, we would launch one. It would explode high in the air — explode softly — and send thousands, millions, of little parachutes into the air. Floating down to earth — boxes of Crayolas. And we wouldn't go cheap, either — not little boxes of eight. Boxes of sixty-four, with the sharpener built right in. With silver and gold and copper, magenta and peach and lime, amber and umber and all the rest. And people would smile and get a little funny look on their faces and cover the world with imagination. ~Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, 1986

We're fools whether or not we dance, so we may as well dance. ~Author unknown

You cannot be anything if you want to be everything. But if you are content to be something, you may by analogy be many things. ~Israel Zangwill, The Principle of Nationalities, 1917

Anyone can carry his burden, however hard, until nightfall. Anyone can do his work, however hard, for one day. Anyone can live sweetly, patiently, lovingly, purely, till the sun goes down. And this is all life really means. ~Robert Louis Stevenson

Seek freedom and become captive of your desires. Seek discipline and find your liberty. ~Frank Herbert

He read and read and read, and when he didn't have his nose stuck in a book, he wrote and wrote and wrote. ~Paul Magrs (b.1969), "The Godfather," 2000

Wanna fly, you got to give up the shit that weighs you down. ~Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon, 1977

Try not. Do or do not. There is no try. ~Yoda

The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. ~Joseph Campbell

I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things... I still listen to instinctual urges. I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. I never water my garden without soaking myself. It has been after such times of joy that I have achieved my greatest creativity and produced my best work. ~Leo Buscaglia, Bus 9 to Paradise: A Loving Voyage, 1986

Happiness is having a dream you cannot let go of and a partner who would never ask you to. ~Robert Brault

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.
~Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things"

Life is a vale of tears in which there are moments you just can't stop giggling. ~Robert Brault

Maybe you don't like your job, maybe you didn't get enough sleep, well nobody likes their job, nobody got enough sleep. Maybe you just had the worst day of your life, but you know, there's no escape, there's no excuse, so just suck up and be nice. ~Ani Difranco

When you own your breath, nobody can steal your peace. ~Author unknown

You are never alone or helpless. The force that guides the stars guides you too. ~Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar

I don't rent space to anyone in my head. ~Anonymous man on Candid Camera, answering Allen Funt's question about why he had not gotten upset

What a miserable thing life is: you're living in clover, only the clover isn't good enough. ~Bertolt Brecht, Jungle of Cities, 1923, translated by Anselm Hollo, 1965  [Shlink —tg]

If malice or envy were tangible and had a shape, it would be the shape of a boomerang. ~Charley Reese

Anticipate the day as if it was your birthday and you are turning six again. ~Mike Dolan

I teach you to know the wonder and the mystery of existence — not to analyse it but to enjoy it, not to make a theory out of it but to make a dance out of it. The whole existence is dancing, except men. They have become a big graveyard. I am calling you to come out of your graves. ~Osho (1931–1990), The Sword and the Lotus: Talks in the Himalayas

The most trying hours in life are between four o'clock and the evening meal. A cup of tea at this time adds a lot of comfort and happiness. ~Royal S. Copeland

Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day. ~Author unknown

Every one should keep a mental wastepaper basket and the older he grows the more things he will consign to it — torn up to irrecoverable tatters. ~Samuel Butler

No mourning can heal the wound of neverness. ~Dr. Idel Dreimer,

Let everyone sweep in front of his own door and the whole world will be clean. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Don't waste yourself in rejection, nor bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is always some specific moment when we become aware that our youth is gone; but, years after, we know it was much later. ~Mignon McLaughlin

A simple definition of life: The chance you've been waiting for. ~Robert Brault

If a small thing has the power to make you angry, does that not indicate something about your size? ~Sydney J. Harris

Up to a point a man's life is shaped by environment, heredity, and movements and changes in the world about him. Then there comes a time when it lies within his grasp to shape the clay of his life into the sort of thing he wishes to be. Only the weak blame parents, their race, their times, lack of good fortune, or the quirks of fate. Everyone has it within his power to say, "This I am today; that I will be tomorrow." ~Louis L'Amour

The only man who is really free is the one who can turn down an invitation to dinner without giving an excuse. ~Jules Renard

I would prefer not to. ~Herman Melville, "Bartleby, the Scrivener"

Rule #1: Use your good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules. ~Nordstrom's Employee Handbook

Quotology disdains no quotations whatsoever, a duty it bears stoutly, with bloodshot eyes and sagging shelves. ~Willis Goth Regier

The only care
      That I shall share
      Shall be the care of others,
      And on the road
      I'll halve the load
      Of overburdened brothers.
I rather guess
      It's selfishness
      That drives me to such actions,
      For in this plan
      I find I can
      Forget my own distractions.
~John Kendrick Bangs (1862-1922), "A Useful Whim" (October Eighteenth), The Cheery Way: A Bit of Verse For Every Day, 1920

Heaven is on the other side of that feeling you get when you're sitting on the couch and you get up and make a triple-decker sandwich. It's on the other side of that, when you don't make the sandwich. It's about sacrifice.... It's about giving up the things that basically keep you from feeling. That's what I believe, anyway. I'm always asking, "What am I going to give up next?" Because I want to feel. ~Jim Carrey

You can have your cake and eat it. But my God, it will go rotten inside you. ~D.H. Lawrence

Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude to the whole cosmos—the trees, the clouds, everything. ~Thích Nhất Hạnh

Take love as a sober man takes wine; do not become a drunkard. If your mistress is sincere and faithful, love her for that; but if she is not, if she is merely young and beautiful, love her for that; if she is agreeable and spirituelle, love her for that; if she is none of these things but merely loves you, love her for that. Love does not come to us every day. ~Alfred de Musset

I am so tired — so tired.
I see too many people,
Read too many books.
Do too many things.
I hate the theaters,
I hate my work,
I want you, — only you....
Come to me between the cool sheets
And let me burrow my head in your shoulder....
~Pauline Cohn, "Rest"

In a soulmate we find not company but a completed solitude. ~Robert Brault

What we find in a soulmate is not something wild to tame but something wild to run with. ~Robert Brault

You will not find a soulmate in the quiet of your room. You must go to a noisy place and look in the quiet corners. ~Robert Brault

Mr. Choate would always shut the door between his two offices, shutting himself up in his inner sanctum, and there untiringly he worked, worked, worked. He had his pen in his hand always. It was his weapon of warfare. He had a high stand-up desk, and in front of it a queer high chair, made so that a person could slightly sit upon it while yet standing up; probably something like the contrivance on which Queen Victoria half sits and half leans upon the royal reception days.... There was a table in the office, but I never once saw him sit down to it. He never sat down anywhere if he could conveniently help it. He always stood up or lay down.... [H]e was a fixture at his desk with pigeonholes full of papers in front of it, and a broad background of the books in buff behind him. Nothing distracted him from these labors, but business, or a talk about books, or some philosophical or historic theme. ~Edward G. Parker, Reminiscences of Rufus Choate, the Great American Advocate, 1859

If God had wanted to be a big secret, He would not have created babbling brooks and whispering pines. ~Robert Brault

Occasionally ask, "What is the connection between what I want most in life and anything I plan to do today?" ~Robert Brault

You need not think
It's vanity that makes me prink,
And take much care
To keep myself both fit and fair.
'Tis not false pride or vain conceit
That keeps me trying to be neat,
But just the plain and simple truth
That I have held to since my youth
That this old frame in which I dwell
Is nothing more than the hotel
In which my Soul and Hopes must stay
Until I'm called to move away,
And for their dwelling-place I plan
To give them quite the best I can,
And keep the place up spick and span.
~John Kendrick Bangs

Keep your head high, your standards high, and your heels high. ~Author Unknown

May I never be complete. May I never be content. May I never be perfect. Deliver me, Tyler, from being perfect and complete. ~Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club, 1996

No fear. No distractions. The ability to let that which does not matter truly slide. ~Fight Club, 1999, screenplay by Jim Uhls, based on the novel by Chuck Palahniuk

The richness of the rain made me feel safe and protected; I have always considered the rain to be healing—a blanket—the comfort of a friend. Without at least some rain in any given day, or at least a cloud or two on the horizon, I feel overwhelmed by the information of sunlight and yearn for the vital, muffling gift of falling water. ~Douglas Coupland, Life After God, 1994

A man must have something to cling to. Without that he is as a pea vine sprawling in search of a trellis.... I was all asprawl, clinging to Beauty, which is a very restless trellis. ~E.B. White

I've decided that the stuff falling through the cracks is confetti and I'm having a party! ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

Life is a series of tasks that you absolutely must get done before they don't matter any more. ~Robert Brault

Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. ~Lin Yutang

I got the blues thinking of the future, so I left off and made some marmalade. It's amazing how it cheers one up to shred oranges or scrub the floor. ~ D.H. Lawrence

Anthony Trollope went to his work as the journeyman grocer takes down the shutters; the interest of his life lay elsewhere. And therefore his style is detestable, his chapters end wearisomely; you feel he laid down his pen with relief, his pulse beating as calmly as when he began; no thrill, no sense of melody, no cadence in his words. Charles Kingsley, who wrote a good style, when he took time to prune it, would grow so excited as he wrote that he had to leave his standing desk, and rush into the open air to pace his garden and to smoke, before he could calm himself down again to the mere act of writing, so much did his own words interest and move him. ~C. Kegan Paul, "On English Prose Style," a lecture delivered in London, at the Bedford College for Ladies, on the 10th of October, 1888, wording slightly altered

Put on your big girl panties and deal with it. ~Author Unknown

After all, when a thought takes one's breath away, a lesson on grammar seems an impertinence. As Ruskin wrote in his earlier and better days, "No weight nor mass nor beauty of execution can outweigh one grain or fragment of thought." ~Thomas Wentworth Higginson

As is invariably noted at the beginning of positively all literary biographies, the little boy was a glutton for books.... For his first writing exercise he painstakingly reproduced: "Obey your sovereign, honor him and submit to his laws," and the compressed ball of his index finger thus remained ink-stained forever. Now the thirties are over and the forties have begun. ~Vladimir Nabokov

Let go or be dragged. ~Author unknown

It is very strange, this domination of our intellect by our digestive organs. We cannot work, we cannot think, unless our stomach wills so. It dictates to us our emotions, our passions.... We are but the veriest, sorriest slaves of our stomach. Reach not after morality and righteousness, my friends; watch vigilantly your stomach, and diet it with care and judgment. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart, unsought by any effort of your own; and you will be a good citizen, a loving husband, and a tender father—a noble, pious man. ~Jerome K. Jerome

It's not what you eat, it's who you are when you eat it. ~Author unknown

I'm not a dull speaker, I'm a bad speaker, I'm a wretched speaker. The tape of my unprepared speech differs from my written prose as much as the worm differs from the perfect insect — or, as I once put it, I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, and I speak like a child.... My hemmings and hawings over the telephone cause long-distance callers to switch from their native English to pathetic French. At parties, if I attempt to entertain people with a good story, I have to go back to every other sentence for oral erasures and inserts. Even the dream I describe to my wife across the breakfast table is only a first draft. In these circumstances nobody should ask me to submit to an interview if by "interview" a chat between two normal human beings is implied. ~Vladimir Nabokov

I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter. ~Walt Disney

      I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story.
      From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn't quite make out.
      I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn't make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet. ~Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963

And suddenly you know... It's time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings. ~Author Unknown

"What would you like to do? What is your desire, really?" I said, "Doctor, I don't think you're going to find this very healthy and clear, but I really would like to stop working forever—never work again, never do anything like the kind of work I'm doing now—and do nothing but write poetry and have leisure to spend the day outdoors and go to museums and see friends.... And I'd like to keep living with someone—maybe even a man—and explore relationships that way. And cultivate my perceptions, cultivate the visionary thing in me. Just a literary and quiet city-hermit existence." Then he said, "Well, why don't you?" It was the last thing I expected him to say. I asked him what the American Psychoanalytic Association would say about that, and he said, "There's no party line, no red book on how people are supposed to live. If that is what you really feel would please you, what in the world is stopping you from doing it?" So I said that the only thing stopping me was my being in psychoanalysis and feeling that that kind of screwy thinking wasn't exactly contributing toward my general development, and he said that it obviously was contributing toward something, if it was what I wanted to do with my life. ~Allen Ginsberg

To have a bonafide psychiatrist say, "Sure, go ahead, be as crazy as you want if it makes you happy," was like having a note from God to skip school. ~Jay Stevens, "Pushing the Envelope: Starving, Hysterical, Naked," Storming Heaven: LSD and the American Dream, 1987

In several interviews Ginsberg discusses this encounter, mythologizing it into The Great Breakthrough that allowed him to start a new life. ~Lewis Hyde, On the Poetry of Allen Ginsberg, 1984

Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray. ~Rumi

Breaking out
is following your bliss pattern,
quitting the old place,
starting your hero journey,
following your bliss.
You throw off yesterday
as the snake sheds its skin.
~Joseph Campbell

      Now that a great wish of my life has been fulfilled, and I can boast of a Garden Room of my own, a retreat where I can work, and scatter leaves, and thoughts, and flowers, at will, I have made up my mind to keep a Kalendar of my own, and write therein what comes to me with flowers, and song of birds, and treasures I find in books which fill shelves on the green walls. Old books, with musty covers, and time-worn pages. I like the words and expressions of “olden-day” writers....
      I have spent hours, days, weeks, in searching among books which are rare, and not easily read, so that to those who have not time, nor inclination to search for themselves, I may reveal hidden delights and buried joys.... In my study I have learnt much; it is a labour of love, and ungrudgingly I give it to the world.
      ~Helen Rose Anne Milman Crofton, My Kalendar of Country Delights, “Prelude,” 1903

Guy Darrell resumed the thread of solitary life... with a calm which was deeper in its gloom than it had been before.... Five years nearer to death, and the last hope that had flitted across the narrowing passage to the grave, fallen like a faithless torch from his own hand, and trodden out by his own foot.... Ambition halted now, baffled and despairing. Childless, his line would perish with himself—himself, who had so vaunted its restoration in the land!... By toil he had amassed ample wealth; by talent he had achieved a splendid reputation. But the reputation was as perishable as the wealth. Let a half-century pass over his tomb, and nothing would be left to speak of... save... perhaps, at most, quotations of eloquent sentences... shreds and fragments of a great intellect, which another half-century would sink without a bubble into the depths of Time.... Some with a tithe of his abilities have the luck to fasten their names to things that endure.... They have written volumes out of which a couplet of verse, a period in prose, may cling to the rock of ages, as a shell that survives a deluge.... Then... the idea that he might yet reappear in active life, and do something which the world would not willingly let die, had softened the face of that tranquil Nature from which he must soon now pass out of reach and sight. On the tree of Time he was a leaf already sear upon the bough—not an inscription graven into the rind. Ever slow to yield to weak regrets—ever seeking to combat his own enemies within—Darrell said to himself one night, while Fairthorn's flute was breathing an air of romance through the melancholy walls: "Is it too late yet to employ this still busy brain upon works that will live when I am dust, and make Posterity supply the heir that fails to my house?"... Youth flings the reins to genius, and dashes into the ranks of Fame... ~Pisistratus Caxton

      Let me ask you, O, you men of the time, who are bent upon pleasure... I beg of you, if by some chance this obscure book falls into your hands, do not smile with noble disdain, do not shrug your shoulders; do not be too sure that I complain of an imaginary evil; do not be too sure that human reason is the most beautiful of faculties, that there is nothing real here below but quotations on the Bourse, gambling in the salon, wine on the table, a healthy body, indifference toward others, and the orgies which come with the night.
      For some day, across your stagnant life, a gust of wind will blow. Those beautiful trees that you water with the stream of oblivion, Providence will destroy; you will be reduced to despair.... in short I tell you, all frozen as you are, you are capable of loving something; some fiber of your being will be torn and you will give vent to a cry that will resemble a moan of pain. Some day, wandering about the muddy streets, when daily material joys shall have failed, you will find yourself seated disconsolately on a deserted bench at midnight.
      O! men of marble, sublime egoists, inimitable reasoners who have never given way to despair or made a mistake in arithmetic, if this ever happens to you, at the hour of your ruin you will remember Abelard when he lost Heloise....
      Believe me, when in your distress you think of Abelard you will not look with the same eye... you will feel that the human reason can cure illusions but not sorrows; that God has use for Reason but He has not made her the sister of Charity.... You will look about you for something like hope, you will shake the doors of churches to see if they still swing, but you will find them walled up... destiny will mock at you and for reply give you a bottle of wine.... ~Alfred de Musset, The Confession of a Child of the Century/La Confession d'un enfant du siècle, 1836, translated from French by Kendall Warren

While describing the furniture of his study, I must not forget the standing desk. P.F.T. almost invariably wrote standing, surrounded by his authorities, and attired in a robe de chambre. It was pleasant to be in the room with him, and to witness the enthusiasm with which he flitted from one book to another. ~J.W. Burgon, The Portrait of a Christian Gentleman: A Memoir of Patrick Fraser Tytler, 1859

So our student will flit like a busy bee through the entire garden of literature, light on every blossom, collect a little nectar from each, and carry it to his hive... ~Desiderius Erasmus

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