Miscellaneous Notes and Quotes — Writing Prompts?

“Always do right. This will gratify some people, and astonish the rest.”
— Mark Twain

I’ve been on another cleaning jag in my home office. In the process I found envelopes filled with scraps of paper containing notes, quotes and observations.

As anyone who knows me will attest, I enjoy collecting and sharing quotes. I have card catalogs full of quotes from 40 years ago, and on my bookshelf a notebook that I purchased in Mexico in which I’ve collected quotes from my readings.

This week I wrote a brief defense of this habit of collecting and using quotes which was published here at A Philosopher’s Stone. It begins, unsurprisingly, with a quote… from Montaigne.

All this is lead in to these scribblings and scratches which I found in those envelopes parked in a shoebox. This is hardly all, but it’s a start.

Much was pretty worthless and here’s why. Some scraps had an idea but the idea wasn’t sufficiently fleshed, therefore I can’t recall — 40 years later — what prompted it.

TIP FOR WRITERS: If you are a writer and you have an idea that strikes you in a profound way, don’t write, “Story Idea: The Rings of Saturn.” This is not a story idea. It was a note that may have been triggered by a story idea, but it’s going to be useless three or four decades later unless you include more details.

I know that some of these were probably written down from dialogue in a film, I can’t take credit for all of them as my own (especially the best ones). Nevertheless, they can still be used as writing prompts. Or as a starting point for a discussion. Or…

Is efficiency always better?

“A man needs the truth at least once before he dies.”

“He didn’t need the truth. He needed comfort.”

“You speak so eloquently, yet you say such appalling things.”

“That’s been the story of my life. Everybody appreciates the form but is frightened of the content.”

The history of the world is a history of people doing improbable, even impossible, things.

The Temple of Doubt

Skepticism and two kinds of questioning: to mock or to know.

A man who needs nothing can afford to risk everything.

“A wavering mind cannot produce a stable life.”

“Indecision binds even a strong man.”

“No one can lower his standards without reducing himself as well.”

“It is better to be drawn by a vision than to be driven by ambition.”

Diary of a Water Bug
Today two boy humans spent half an hour bombarding me with missiles.

What are some ways people signal their need for help? How can we become better at recognizing these signals and what can we do about it?

For what it’s worth, there so many great websites that collect quotes. One of the more comprehensive now is Wiki Quotes. (It even has quotes from every season of Seinfeld.) I like it because it identifies the sources and doesn’t select what some person or committee has decided were the 23 Best Quotes by >INSERT FAMOUS NAME HERE<

I’ve been listening to an audiobook of 50 Philosophy Classics and if one wanted, they could go to Wikiquotes and bone up on the ideas of each person they just read about. (Which I have been doing in a piecemal fashion.)

Looks like it’s time to close off… with a two more quotes, observations by Nobel Laureate Andre Gide

“It is better to be hated for what you are than to be loved for what you are not.”

“The artist who is after success lets himself be influenced by the public. Generally such an artist contributes nothing new, for the public acclaims only what it already knows, what it recognizes.”

Related Links

Writing Prompts at Reddit
365 Creative Writing Prompts

Originally published at pioneerproductions.blogspot.com on April 12, 2019.

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj

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