Friday, June 14, 2013

The Quote on Your Desk


Ariel’s lyrical, compelling post on Monday set a high standard for our week here on NovelMatters. And then Patti vaulted over that bar with the announcement that her new book, Goodness and Mercy, is free on Kindle through today.

You want a hint about what those two have in common?  They are both terrific, unusual, unforgettable writing.

I come to you as the street sweeper after the big parade. After a considerable time not writing on a full-length fiction project, I’m back working on an unusual (aren’t all of our NovelMatters projects unusual? That’s why you come here, right?) co-written project. Something I’m not yet ready to talk about.

But I come to the writing of it changed. The period in which I did not write altered me.

During a recent move I misplaced a little framed saying that always sat on my desk.  When I found it this week, it explained something to me.




Here is what it says:

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil us. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake or sleep, we grown strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become.”

This quote by Brooke Foss Westcott served as a warning to me for years. It serves now as an explanation.

It probably hasn’t escaped your notice that the quote on this writer’s desk has nothing to do with writing.

Or does it?

What written words do you keep on your desk? If it is a quote you have had for a long time, has your perception of, or reaction to, it changed over time?


14 comments:

Carla Olson Gade said...

Blessings on your new project! Thanks for sharing the quote on your desk. Mine has been there for at least 15 years. Though the words are the same, the meaning has evolved according to my goals (some of which have been happily achieved).

If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau

wanderer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
wanderer said...

"Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle." -Jon Acuff

(Never read his books or heard him speak, by the way, just love the quote.)

Anonymous said...

I have a wall filled with images, and a few different quotes. The two most important ones for me are scriptures that guide me on the writing journey: one explaining how I should write, and the other what, and why.
The first is from Galatians 6:4-5 (The Message):
Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and sink yourself into that. Don't be impressed with yourself. Don't compare yourself with others. Each of you should take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

And Proverbs 31:8:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.

Latayne C Scott said...

Carla, I had never heard that quote by Thoreau. I see why a writer would need a reminder of the importance of putting structure and foundation beneath our ephemeral thoughts.

Wanderer, I have thought a lot about Acuff's quote. If I had adopted that attitude lately, I think I would have been less discouraged by comparing myself to anyone else's successes. And of course, many people's middles are in a place I wouldn't want to go. I mean, can you imagine going into eternity known as the person who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey?

Anyonymous, I LOVE the Galatians version that mentions creativity. Thank you.

In fact, thank you to all three of you for what you said today.

Susie Finkbeiner said...

I have several quotes hanging next to my desk. The one that most speaks to me at the moment is from Helen Keller.

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence."

Latayne C Scott said...

Susie, cool quote!

Henrietta Frankensee said...

'Knees that are knelt on don't knock'

'A creative mess is better than an idle tidiness.'

I have no desk, I write wherever the Muse catches me but these sayings hang in my kitchen.

Latayne C Scott said...

I like those quotes, Henrietta!

Sharon K Souza said...

"God's silence is not an accurate way to measure what he is doing. It's easy to forget he often does his best work when, so far as we can tell, he doesn't seem to be doing anything at all. But looking back on those long agonizing stretches of God's silence, most of us will say those were the times in our relationship with God when he was doing the most."

Sharon K Souza said...

Sorry to say, I don't know who the quote is from.

Patti Hill said...

"The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet."
Frederick Buecher
and
"Write only what you can see through me." Anne Lamott (in a teeny tiny frame)
and
"How do you become a writer? Solitude and prayer. And go on from there." Carl Sandburg
It takes more than the usual amount of inspiration to get this writer going.

Bridgette said...

On the wall beside my desk, I have several quotes that inspire me, but two that I constantly go to are:

All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move - Arabic Proverb

The other is from C.S. Lewis:
"Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become."

When I'm working on artwork, I usually go to Winston Churchill's quote:
"Without tradition, art is a flock of sheep without a shepherd. Without innovation, it is a corpse."

I need to add Prov. 31:8 to my list of quotes. It fits the novels I'm currently writing that deal with human trafficking and dark periods in our faith walk.

Latayne C Scott said...

Sharon and Patti, I love you dearest. Thank you for your quotes.

Bridgette, those are really good ones.

You guys are making me want to frame some more. But then if I type them all up and get them framed, I won't be writing. Rats.