Don’t quote me


They have been at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.
from Love’s Labour’s Lost – Shakespeare

Advice I am ignoring: Read widely.

According to literary pundits, reading widely will make me a better writer. However, if you work full time and have a few kids to raise, and take seriously the other pundit proclamation that to be a good writer you must write – a lot – what’s a body to do?


  • walking the dog
  • making dinner or supervising dinner making
  • going to the grocery store to buy missing ingredients for dinner
  • supervising the post-dinner clean-up
  • listening to job-hunting rant of 22 year old
  • listening to French essay of 16 year old
  • listening to World Cup of Hockey Championship stats spouting from 19 year old fanatic fan (Canada rules – again)
  • doing mandated 30 minutes physio routine to enable body to sit without shooting pain in hips
  • picking up/driving/giving driving lessons, or all three
  • procuring feminine hygiene products at 8:30 p.m. because we’re out

should I read or write between nine and ten at night before I go to bed for the recommended 7.5 hours of sleep?

Solution: Read narrowly – read quotes. Yes! Reading quotes and quoting the quotes you read has many benefits but first a disclaimer: I have a limited ability to remember quotes. The ones I haul up from the memory cave are those that drip-drip-drip constantly from the word stalactites formed at an early age. Fragments of poetry, like

When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils

come to mind every spring when daffodil gangs grow.  Or

They also serve who only stand and wait

because my grade 12 English teacher thought this was a lesson I needed to learn. (FYI, Mr. Randall, I’m still waiting.)

And In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo

is a trilling ear-worm couplet that sings out when I happen to be in an art gallery.

Benefits of reading quotes

  1. Read quotes and use them on your blog to wow and cow your readers. You will be esteemed. How smart! How deep! How wise!
  2. Mount your newly discovered quote on a photo of pink under-lit clouds at sunset or on a golden prairie landscape and slap it up on Facebook, Tweet it, or turn it into a Snapchat streak, or Instagram it or PinIt and chances are you’ll be liked and reliked and re-re-reliked. Who wouldn’t like that?
  1. Save time. There’s no need to read Shakespeare. I found a nifty book at the library called “Shakespeare’s Insults – Educating your wit”. Here’s a sample from Midsummer Night’s Dream: “You juggler! You canker-blossom!”Image result for shakespeare's insults educating your wit
  1. Save shelf space and dusting time by reading quotes on the internet site “Brainy Quotes”. Minimize clutter. Ditch the books. Rebel against mega stores Chapters/Indigo/Barnes and Noble/Amazon! Make your home an Ikea catalogue page.
  1. Save money. Get a library card. Pretend to read widely. Leave stacks of books on your desk at work folded open to famous poems.
  1. Get 7.5 hours of sleep. Shut the lights. Pull the shade. Put down the complete works of Wordsworth or W.H. Auden before you hurt yourself.
  1. More time to write or write about writing and search the internet for quotes about writing.
  1. No more reading pressure. Knowing nothing is the new knowing everything. (Ask Donald J. Trump.)
  1. Use the remaining books in the house to write erasure poetry.*** Or light the Christmas Yule log. Use Dylan Thomas’* “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” for this purpose.
  1. Avoid discomfort. The really good stuff in books is sometimes hard to read and requires thought. Pause. Reflection. Take, for instance, David Foster Wallace* – not that I’ve read him, just read about him – who Zadie Smith* says can’t be read at speed “…any more than I can get the hang of the Goldberg Variations** over a weekend.” As Wallace apparently said, and I quote:

     “…in real life true pleasure is usually a by-product of hard work and discomfort.

Image result for zadie smith changing my mind


*Note to self: Write a blog post on literary name-dropping.
**Further note to self: Write a blog post on classical music I know nothing about. Consider: How to do this since I know naught about any genre beyond 1970’s disco and Blue Rodeo’s “Five days in July” album.
***Ultimate note to self: Research and write post on modern poetic forms that no one will read.




26 thoughts on “Don’t quote me

  1. Cynthia Jobin September 30, 2016 / 1:24 pm

    You remind me of a time in my life when I was overwhelmed with more responsibilities than there were hours in the day to accomplish them, and a friend said to me: you must lower your standards.

    Not very helpful, but neither are these two conflicting quotes, though they’re short and can be reflected upon while you’re doing something else:

    “Nothing great is ever accomplished by following standards.”
    —– Geoffroy Birtz

    “As with marathon runs and lengths of toilet paper, there must be standards to measure up to.”
    —– Haruki Murakami

    Liked by 2 people

    • Susanne September 30, 2016 / 1:30 pm

      If my standards get any lower, Cynthia, I will be a worm. At the moment, all I aspire to is an occasional blog post and some weeks even that seems beyond my reach. Such yin and yang quotes to ponder as I beetle off to my next thing. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cynthia Jobin October 1, 2016 / 2:56 pm

        FYI The STANDARD length (and width) of a sheet of toilet paper in the US was 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches. However it has been decreasing since 1999 (probably due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s concern about climate change). Now it’s 3.7 inches long and 4.1 inches wide. Soon there may be hidden cameras in public privies checking out how many sheets you use….


      • Susanne October 1, 2016 / 4:48 pm

        When I visited China many moons ago, there were bathroom attendants in the finer loos who would give patrons 3 thin sheets per visit. Coming from a country where paper products are free and easy to come by, this was quite a shock, as is your knowledge of t.p. standards!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Susanne September 30, 2016 / 1:26 pm

    Reblogged this on wuthering bites and commented:
    This is the last post for a quote challenge and I’ve elected to use a different blog to finish off. Apologies, Sharon, for not adding more bloggers. Time got away from me like beads from a broken necklace.


  3. thecontentedcrafter September 30, 2016 / 1:51 pm

    I never remember quotes – I have a notebook stuffed full of them which I rarely remember to open and look at, though I just made it a pretty cover…….. Nowadays I tend to make up my own quotes and dish them out – and which everyone ignores any way. Finding time to post on ones blog is hard to find, even without your impressive list of deterrents!! 🙂 Nice to see you back.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne September 30, 2016 / 2:15 pm

      That’s so funny, Pauline, that you write down the quotes and then forget to look at them. It sounds like something I would do except that I forget even to write them down. i read them and think – oooh good quote. I’ll write that down but then I continue reading….

      The blog break was not intentional. Time truly got away from me!


  4. insearchofitall September 30, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    I just have to warn you, it doesn’t get easier when you are retired. Somehow, there are still never enough hours in the day for everything you want to do. I collect quotes I save the pretty pictured quotes and set them to cycle on my start page or whatever that is. I have reams of quotes. I do read a great deal but there are so many good books that they are stacked to the ceilings so I have no time to write. Lucky to get a post every two weeks. In the summer, less. I don’t know how you do this with a job, a family and all the other stuff. I write stories in my head that never make it to paper. Does that count. You have a good sense of humor about it though. I’ve popped over to read a few of your posts. Have to make the print bigger so it takes me awhile. I took a blog break this summer because I was working so hard there was no brain left. It would have been pure drivel. Like now. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne October 1, 2016 / 10:45 am

      You should take those stories out of your head and put them on paper or blog them. I thoroughly enjoyed your CNF posts and think you have a facility with storytelling. And if you think your comment is drivel, well you’re welcome to drivel here any ol’ time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • insearchofitall October 1, 2016 / 11:36 am

        Thank you so much Susanne, for the vote of confidence and for the follow. I have a good 10 years on you and still never have enough hours in the day to do everything on my list. With summer over, I hope to have more time for writing. Appreciate the encouragement.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Bruce Goodman October 1, 2016 / 2:43 am

    OMG – we just talked about all this over dinner tonight. How nigh impossible it would be to become an expert in just one year of Byzantine (or anything) history. I’m such a bad reader… Your post has inspired me to try and get more disciplined. Yeah right. I haven’t even finished reading all the Enid Blyton and Beatrix Potter books from childhood. I have to start… I have to start… An inspired posting Susanne.


    • Susanne October 1, 2016 / 10:42 am

      I have finished Beatrix Potter but only because I have children and read them aloud. I, too, try to be disciplined but often as not collapse half way through 9-10 at night and fall asleep with a book over my nose. Too bad we can’t sniff our way to being well-read, eh? And might I just say how delightful it is to have you pop up from time to time. Just like the old-days.


  6. derrickjknight October 1, 2016 / 5:36 am

    This will make me even more grateful for your reading of my posts.


  7. Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner October 1, 2016 / 5:49 pm

    You certainly rose higher than a satellite to the quote challenge. Great job. I don’t know where the time goes either. Probably to some parallel universe where they complain they have too much of it. I’ll meet you there for a cup of tea, or better yet, something stronger. Enjoy!


    • Susanne October 1, 2016 / 7:06 pm

      I’ll meet you in that parallel universe pronto. I have a few things to get done tonight but unless I have more time they’re not gonna happen! What we need is that time-turner thingy that Hermione had in The Prisoner of Azkaban. That would come in handy!


  8. Andrea Stephenson October 3, 2016 / 9:47 am

    If we had the time to put into practice all the writing advice, we’d have time to write a hundred books…all you can do is what works for you 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ellen Morris Prewitt October 3, 2016 / 12:01 pm

    Oh, quotes pop into my head at thematic moments, too, many of them from the Rime of the Ancient Mariner cause my mother quoted it all the time when we were growing up then we had to memorize pieces in school. And Pogo–we might be the only family that extensively quotes Pogo. Thx for an enjoyable post


    • Susanne October 3, 2016 / 9:01 pm

      Didn’t you once do a post on Pogo? I had to Google and when I saw the cartoon I thought it looked vaguely familiar.


  10. jbbluesman October 3, 2016 / 1:12 pm

    Wow where do you get the energy!!! I couldn’t do half of what you do and still find it in me to learn a piece of music, let alone come up with something original! Cu-toes to you Sue. as for Quotes I’m having breakfast and the only one I can come up with is “nothing is better for the than me” Mr. Quaker Oats!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Susanne October 3, 2016 / 8:55 pm

      The best way to start the day is with a Quaker!


  11. jbbluesman October 3, 2016 / 1:14 pm

    feel free to correct my spelling lol!


  12. Luanne October 9, 2016 / 7:48 pm

    I love the quotes I love, if that makes sense. I like to find them myself, for the most part. Like the quote from a song from Wicked when Galinda gives Elphaba a pointed witch hat: “I thought you
    Might want to wear this hat to the party tonight!
    It’s really, uh, sharp, don’t you think?
    You know black – is this year’s pink
    You deserve each other
    This hat and you
    You’re both so.. Smart!
    You deserve each other
    So here, out of the goodness of my
    That is how weird I am with quotes.
    Not that this has much to do with your post, but you do that to me!!! Send me off down weed-infested lanes.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. exiledprospero October 11, 2016 / 7:07 pm

    To read, like most four letter words, is overrated. Best not avoided entirely, if only to avoid gossip.


  14. D. Wallace Peach October 14, 2016 / 11:12 am

    I like quotes but can’t remember them either.You do way better than I do. Reading time is hard to find when life is pulled in so many directions. We need four more hours a day at least. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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