Saturday, November 16, 2013

Tears & giggles

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

Friday, August 24, 2012


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

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Quotations about quotations

Recently I've been reading some fascinating books on the history and genre of quotations (most notably: Quotology by Willis Goth Regier and The Words of Others by Gary Saul Morson). I've also spent hundreds of hours improving the accuracy and depth of my "Quotations about Quotations" page by tracing down original works for verification and culling several dozen new items not yet posted on any other website, both from the long-lost treasures on Google Books and from my own collection of dusty books. I am still waiting for permission to post several of the modern quotations, but already my online collection of quotations about quotations now totals nearly 400 entries and includes many brilliant works from centuries past. I am guessing I've accumulated over the past 25 years what is the world's largest collection of quotes about quotes. If not, it is certainly the most accessible large collection.

I found it exciting to learn that people have been taking delight in quotationsand struggling with misquotationfor centuries. Quotation anthologies have been around for ages, but according to W.G. Regier, "The watershed for compendia was in the mid-1850s." Imagine how much more abundant the watershedor how much earlierhad the internet been around back in the day!

While researching the origin and context of the quotations, I frequently got sidetracked reading antique gems of books and authors, stumbling onto some of the most amazing writing that is still sparkling and relevant up to this very day. I'd like to share one of my finds with you all. I was trying to locate the origin of this quote:

"Shake was a dramatist of note;
He lived by writing things to quote..."

Thanks to Google Books, I was able to determine the author as V. Hugo Dusenbury. The full poem was posted in the January 28, 1880 edition of Puck, and it is so awesome I resurrect it here 132 years later for your reading pleasure {click image to view full-size}. The entire Puck periodical, in fact, was brimming with cleverness and I spent quite a happy time perusing it.

So anyway, if you'd care to take a gander at the new and improved page of quotations about quotations, you can find it here:  My most heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the ancient and modern persons who have pointed the way and left behind clues for where to focus my searches over the years which have led me to all these glorious "choice flowers, culled from the gardens of Poesy" (H.G. Adams) and prose.

"We who are quotatious are never truly alone, but always hear the cheerful flow of remarks made by dead writers so much more intelligent than we." ~Joseph Epstein, "Quotatious," A Line Out for a Walk: Familiar Essays, 1991, p.107

Saturday, May 28, 2011

My kind of fashion

Check out this fantastic purse made from the book cover to Bartlett's Familiar Quotations. Now that is just my style of accessory! For years I've been saying that quotes are always in fashion, but this is the first time I've meant it literally. It is the creation of Linda Sienkiewicz of Rokki Fashion Handbags. Visit her website at for more book and album cover purses.

"Far more seemly were it for thee to have thy study full of books, than thy purse full of money." ~John Lyly

Friday, May 13, 2011

Short history of grammar: quotemarks

A few months ago I found this cute cartoon drawn by Eric (a.k.a. Odysseus) titled "Short history of grammar: quotemarks" and being the quote addict that I am, I of course loved it! Graciously, his works are under the Free Art License which grants the right to freely copy, distribute, and transform creative works without infringing the author's rights. Click the image below to view in full size. You can visit Eric at his new website, an introduction to free software for beginners (in French, but Google Translate is helpful)!

Quotemarks by Eric

"Collecting quotations is an insidious, even embarrassing habit, like ragpicking or hoarding rocks or trying on other people's laundry. I got into it originally while trying to break an addiction to candy. I kicked candy and now seem to be stuck with quotations, which are attacking my brain instead of my teeth." ~Robert Byrne

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An addendum to games with quotes

An addendum to my games with quotes posting from last year: I found this book on called Quote-doku by Henry Hook. The description is "Now, puzzle fans can get their sudoku fun and their word fix, too! A quote-doku begins with a sudoku grid where solvers enter numbers into cells, some with small letters in them. When all the cells are filled correctly, the anagramming begins - and the sweet payoff is an amusing quotation." I've never played sudoku but I have friends who do; looks like an interesting and creative book for puzzle and quote lovers!

"Our whole life is solving puzzles." ~Erno Rubik

Thursday, January 13, 2011


I tried tai chi this morning for the first time, and it helped me start the day much calmer than usual. Still feeling grounded and peaceful just an hour or two later, coincidentally someone shared this quote with me. It's too long to tweet so thought I would post it here.

"Calmness is a huge gift. And once you master it, you will be able to respond in a useful way to every difficult situation that decides to walk into your heart." ~Geri Larkin

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Some thoughts are life-altering

"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

Happy new year, one and all!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A snapdragon in December

I am a

What Flower
Are You?

"Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made, and forgot to put a soul into." ~Henry Beecher

"Earth laughs in flowers." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

"Flowers seem intended for the solace of ordinary humanity." ~John Ruskin

"Where flowers bloom so does hope." ~Lady Bird Johnson

"Each flower is a soul opening out to nature." ~Gerald De Nerval

"There came a time when the risk to remain tight in the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom." ~Anais Nin

"It is at the edge of a petal that love waits." ~William Carlos Williams

"Flowers are not made by singing 'Oh, how beautiful,' and sitting in the shade." ~Rudyard Kipling

"If seeds in the black earth can turn into such beautiful roses, what might not the heart of man become in its long journey toward the stars?" ~G.K. Chesterton

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

May the chance often befall you

"Be the master of your fate, be the captain of your soul, but do not hesitate, should the chance befall you, to be the slave of your heart." ~Robert Brault

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Your heart knows

I love doing these Twitter quote contests. I really enjoy reading all the entries. This past week I did one for "Your heart knows..." Read the winning entry and lots of other terrific submissions here:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Sages and Time

"Sometimes, perhaps, we are allowed to get lost that we may find the right person to ask directions of." ~Robert Brault

"You are the sky. Everything else - it's just the weather." ~Pema Chödrön

"Live each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influences of each." ~Henry David Thoreau

"The basic paradox: everything is a mess yet all is well." ~Ezra Bayda

"A life without change is not a life; it is a stagnant pool. To change your mind frivolously is a cop-out. To change your mind under the direction of the wisdom of the heart is a brush stroke on the masterpiece you are delivering to the world." ~Alan Cohen

"Don't pray for rain if you are going to complain about the mud." ~Proverb

"What is to give light must endure burning." ~Viktor Frankl

"To decide is to walk facing forward with nary a crick in your neck from looking back at the crossroads." ~Betsy Cañas Garmon

"Flowers don't worry about how they're going to bloom. They just open up and turn toward the light and that makes them beautiful." ~Jim Carrey

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tiny things like context

Does it bother me when people use quotes out of context? Depends. If it's blatantly or harmfully, then yes. Otherwise it depends on the situation. I realize I probably have at least a few quotes on my site that are removed from their original context in a way that changes the meaning. And if I knew exactly which those were I'd correct them right away (which is one reason I'm so grateful to visitors who bring errors to my attention).

I started collecting quotes at age thirteen and in my teens I wasn't always very careful about attributions and context, especially if I was in a hurry to record the quote. And back then I had no idea that later I would be sharing my collection with the world. If I had extra hours in the day I would go back and research all the quotes for accuracy but after collecting obsessively and non-stop for 23 years it might take a lifetime to complete a project like that. For now I'll have to be content with fixing them as I find them, or more likely, as my wonderful visitors find them for me.

Here's an interesting tidbit regarding context:

"It was the tiniest thing I ever decided to put my whole life into." It's probably my most famous quote... but it's not about a baby. I wrote it in my journal when I was 14 years old, and it's about a tiny sick bird I was trying to nurse back to health at the time.

It seems the quote is always used in reference to babies but it doesn't bother me, as it certainly applies quite well to the subject. I think for a while I even moved it onto my baby congrats page because that's how everyone was using it.

Context is always important, but sometimes it's everything and sometimes it can be more flexible. If I intentionally use a quote out of its original context, I make a note in the attribution. For example, on the Arizona page, I have a couple of quotes about the hot weather "here." The authors were not referring to Arizona, but the sentiment applied to our weather as well so after the author's name I noted that.

As always, remember to practice safe and responsible quoting!

"The art of quotation requires more delicacy in the practice than those conceive who can see nothing more in a quotation than an extract." ~Benjamin Disraeli

Friday, April 30, 2010


"True silence is the rest of the mind; it is to the spirit what sleep is to the body, nourishment and refreshment." ~William Penn

"An inability to stay quiet is one of the most conspicuous failings of mankind." ~Walter Bagehot

"Silence is a source of great strength." ~Lao Tzu

"You can hear the footsteps of God when silence reigns in the mind." ~Sri Sathya Sai Baba

"Soon silence will have passed into legend. Man has turned his back on silence. Day after day he invents machines and devices that increase noise and distract humanity from the essence of life..." ~Jean Arp

"Let us be silent, that we may hear the whispers of the gods." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

plaque from Ross Dress for Less that hangs on my bedroom wall; author is unknown

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Retiring with Rumi

You sit here for days saying,
This is strange business.
You're the strange business. You have the energy of the sun in you, but you keep knotting it up at the base of your spine.
You're some weird kind of gold that wants to stay melted in the furnace, so you won't have to become coins.

So don't be timid.
Load the ship and set out.
No one knows for certain whether the vessel will sink or reach the harbor.
Just don't be one of those merchants who won't risk the ocean!

Work in the invisible world at least as hard as you do in the visible.

Keep walking, though there's no place to get to. Don't try to see through the distances. That's not for human beings. Move within, but don't move the way fear makes you move.

This talk is like stamping new coins. They pile up, while the real work is being done outside by someone digging in the ground.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Games with quotes

I more than anyone know that quotes are everywhere. But in recent years it seems they're really everywhere. Now I've learned that quotes are even in crossword puzzles and other games. That doesn't surprise me, I've just not known about it until now because I'm not much into that type of thing.

Victor Fleming, a judge and author from Arkansas, and Bonnie Gentry, a crossword puzzle creator from Arizona, recently published a crossword puzzle with one of my quotes in it. It's cool, the entire quotation is actually written into the puzzle answers. Looking through the book, Simon & Schuster Mega Crossword Puzzle Book #7, I see a couple other puzzles with quotes as themes.

So I did an internet search and found some books that sound interesting:

  • The Everything Crosswords & Puzzles for Quote Lovers Book: Over 400 Encrypted, Scrambled, and Hidden Quotes for Word Game Fans by Charles Timmerman
  • Not Your Typical Large-Print Crosswords #3: Quotes, Quips, & Proverbs by Crossword Corner
  • And this one looks fascinating but it would drive me crazy: Quotable Cryptograms: 500 Famous Quotes to Decipher by Terry Stickels
  • There's also a Don't Quote Me board game

Let the wordplay begin!

"Egotism, n: Doing the New York Times crossword puzzle with a pen." ~Author Unknown

"Do I rue a life wasted doing crosswords? Yes, but I do know the three-letter-word for regret." ~Robert Brault

"It is one of man's curious idiosyncrasies to create difficulties for the pleasure of resolving them." ~Joseph de Maistre

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Waking up with Rumi

Who gets up early to discover the moment the light begins?

What was whispered to the rose to break it open last night was whispered to my heart.

You've gotten drunk on so many kinds of wine. Taste this. It won't make you wild. It's fire. Give up, if you don't understand by this time that your living is firewood.

Set your life on fire.
Seek those who fan your flames.

The lamps are different,
But the Light is the same.

To change, a person must face the dragon of his appetites with another dragon, the life-energy of the soul.

What is the body? That shadow of a shadow
of your love, that somehow contains
the entire universe.

This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and attend them all! Even if they're a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, still, treat each guest honorably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, and invite them in.

Sorrows are the rags of old clothes and jackets that serve to cover, and then are taken off. That undressing, and the beautiful naked body underneath, is the sweetness that comes after grief.

You haven't dared yet lose faith - so how can faith grow in you?

Gamble everything for love, if you're a true human being.

If these poems repeat themselves, then so does Spring.

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Fear cannot

I am already too familiar with what fear can do. For me personally, fear can trick me into overeating. It can lead me to stress out, lose my balance, neglect my body's needs, and spend my energy worrying instead of doing something positive. Sometimes fears come true; lots of times they don't. What I am more interested in knowing is what fear can't do. That's why the prompt for the most recent create your own quote contest on Twitter was Fear cannot... Thanks everyone for lots of great entries, here are some of the highlights:

"Fear cannot take what you do not give it." ~Christopher Coan, @Wisetree63 (winner!)

"Fear cannot destroy your dreams, only you can." ~Michelle Kurka, @mnkurka

"Fear cannot solve problems, but it can make it difficult to find solutions." ~Ruby, @TheRuubster

"Fear cannot give us the adrenaline to push forward until we realize it is the fear in us that holds us back." ~J Beard, @promoterofpeace

"Fear cannot stifle true faith." ~Sara Farnum Alviz, @runningveganmom

"Fear cannot be unless you let it be!" ~Anu Ewebiyi, @anuewe