I’ve always been a quote-collector. I’ve carried around many a pocket-sized notebook over the years, and scattered throughout their pages (between the to-do lists and the indecipherable scribbles of comic ideas) are little smarty word gems by little smart wordy people. Some of them I copy down to maybe use in Broken Lines or in an Optimist strip, but most I copy down simply in hope of remembering them for a little while. There are some good ones on writing, a few make me laugh, and others just sound cool in an awesome-metal-song sorta way. Anyway, they’re just gathering dust over here, so I might as well dump ‘em all into one post. I’ve got plenty more; this is just me sifting through the latest handful of notebooks.
“Be weaker, be water, be characterless, be cheaply persuadable.” – Mark Twain
“Getting people to care about the products of your imagination is a profound and infinitely complex task that will absorb as much attention as you give it.” – Cory Doctorow
“At Northampton they do rest tonight.” – Shakespeare, King Richard III
“The difficulty with humorists is that they will mix what they believe with what they don’t – whichever seems likelier to win an effect.” - John Updike, Rabbit, Run
“A man can become so accustomed to the thought of his own faults that he will begin to cherish them as charming little ‘personal characteristics.’” - Helen Rowland
“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” – Sophia Loren
“If this is coffee please bring me some tea; but if this is tea please bring me some coffee.” – Abraham Lincoln
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.” – Oscar Wilde
“A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” – G.K. Chesterton (English author & mystery novelist 1874 – 1936)
“The wheel can’t help but turn.” – Nick Flynn, Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
“Behold I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” – Matthew 10:16
“You hit him so hard he’s got an afro now.” – The Venture Bros.
“It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me, but it can stop him from lynching me and i think that that’s pretty important.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
“When angry, count four; when very angry, swear.” – Mark Twain
“Act so that your maxim might be the object of universal law.” – Immanuel Kant
“The boundary of self-interest is someone else’s self-interest and the universal self-interest of every free person.” – paraphrased from Adam Smith
“The graves stood tenantless and the sheeted dead did squeak and gibber in the roman streets.” – Shakespeare, Hamlet
“What we are all really after is not individuality, it is distinction. And distinction is achieved not by being different, but by being different in a way that makes us recognizable as members of an exclusive club.” – Nation of Rebels: Why Counterculture Became Consumer Culture
“Anything that doesn’t take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.” – Cormac McCarthy
“Corporations are people, my friend…” – Mitt Romney
“If you choose the path of bloodshed,
then climb to the very pinnacle of evil
if you choose to build a mountain of corpses,
build its summit as high as you dare.
If you will make blood flow,
let it be a river, no, an ocean of blood.” – Throne of Blood
“He’s ghost riding the jib!” – Donald Glover, Community
“This disreputable ball” – HL Mencken, referring to planet Earth
“Envy, ambition, and dejection were still ravaging what few invisible good qualities he might have been born with.” – Joseph Heller, Good As Gold
Craig Ferguson’s three questions to ask yourself before posting something on the internet:
1. Does this need to be said?
2. Does this need to be said by me?
3. Does this need to be said by me right now?
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” – Abraham Lincoln
“I would much rather be writing than drawing.” – Matt Groening
“It is necessary to meditate early and often on the art of dying to succeed later in doing it properly just once.” – Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before
“In the sleepy west / of the woody East / is a valley full / o’ pioneers.” – PIXIES
“But the crows were masters of the wry outlook they knew the secret of black that it could not be made blacker.” – Ken Kesey, Sometimes a Great Notion
“I don’t want a robot to run over me.” – President Barack Obama