Why I Collect Quotes
I’ve been actively collecting quotes for almost ten years. This practice has evolved considerably over the years, and I currently have an effective system which helps me acquire new quotes. No doubt I’ll continue to refine this system; nonetheless, it helps me in my quest to capture and share the words of others with my family, friends, and readers on HubPages.
My current quote collection contains thousands of quotes I’ve collected from innumerable sources ranging from bumper stickers, books, other people, the internet, and posters. Occasionally I’ll consider limiting my collecting of quotes. For better or worse, this resolution typically falls by the wayside within a day once I start reading an excellent article in The New Yorker full of tempting potential quotes.
I’m uncertain exactly why I began collecting quotes, yet I am aware of a what is currently motivating me in this area.
I greatly enjoy sharing quotes with family and friends. Most letters I write contain quotes, and often they contain four or more quotes specifically chosen for the person I am writing. My method for selecting quotes includes remember which authors this particular person favors, or if they have a favorite subject or subjects. I’ve several friends who adore canines as much as I do, and naturally I’ve shared quotes about dogs with them. Similarly, I have shared quotes from Ann Voskamp with my sister because I know how much she likes her writing style. I recognize my approach to sharing quotes isn’t fail proof. It’s possible and probable I’m sharing quotes which inspired me with those who find the same words cliché, redundant, or even offensive. It’s an inexact science, yet I find it worth the effort if even one quote out of a hundred I share “hits the mark” and lingers with one of my friends or family members long after they read them.
Not surprisingly, I collect quotes because I want to revisit these words and expressions. I generally try to read books from the library, and the fact I don’t own these volumes is another reason I collect quotes from them. Certain books I’ve found dozens of quotes from, and it’s startling how much I can remember from the entire volume by reading one quote from it.
Which of these writers would you prefer to read a quote from?
At times I’ve also found it necessary to share quotes from books with friends to help them see why I was so enraptured over a particular novel or memoir. My friend NPR recommended J.R. Moehringer’s deliciously-written memoir The Tender Bar to me, and, once I had typed up the quotes I found worth copying out of this volume, I emailed a copy of them to him in appreciation.
My love affair with words is one of the main reasons I collect quotes. In fact, I find it almost impossible to resist recording the thoughts of another which express what I’ve always believed or felt but never managed to put into words. In other words, reading their words brings me the comfort of knowing I am not alone in my experiences. The opposite of this is true, and I find myself frequently attracted to quotes I am affronted or disquieted by. It’s a good sign if a quote makes me slightly uncomfortable, and there are many quotes in my collection which have been added for this reason.
I also collect quotes to use for special occasions. This can mean anything from providing a newlywed couple with my favorite quotes about love to finding quotes about children to send to a friend who recently had a baby. Many years ago I sent a quote about grief to a newly widowed woman I knew in college, and I can only hope these words from Po Bronson helped her.
Many people in my life know I collect quotes, and for this reason I have been given quotes in letters, on magnets, and beyond. My friends also aren’t terribly surprised when I rush off to write down the C.S. Lewis quote on a plaque in their bathroom. I’ve been known to gather quotes from bumper stickers, Good Earth original tea bags, and, of course, the internet. I’m drawn to quotes the way young children gravitate toward muddy puddles, and I wonder if I will ever fully escape the gravitational pull they have on me. Perhaps I don’t want to. After all, collecting quotes costs less than collecting shot glasses, thimbles, or Precious Moments figurines. They are also easier and cheaper to share than many other things I could collect.
I’ll close with this story. Last autumn I was recommended a book I didn’t particularly care for. However, the hours I spent reading it weren’t wasted because this book contained many wonderful quotes I immediately added to my collection. What can I say? In 2013 a friend called me a “quotologist,” and I am guilty as charged.