Wednesday, May 13, 2009

All Things are ready if our minds be so

"All things are ready if our minds be so." I've loved this quote since I was a teenager. William Shakespeare wrote these words in the play Henry V over five hundred years ago and they still relate to us today.

I'm a quote person. A collector of quotes really. I find them in books and on the Internet. I copy them down, type them out, incorporate them into artwork even. I also regularly post them neatly on the bulletin boards hanging over my office desk so that I can look at them daily.

I decided to count them as I sat in my chair writing this post and realized, for the first time, that I have fifty-two quotes hanging in author alphabetical order on the left hand side of the board. (I am exceedingly compulsive if you haven't already guessed)
I've also realized that quotes are universally useful bits of human artistry with so much to offer.
They can make us smile - I've been in more laps than a napkin - Mae West.
They can make us sigh - The heart has reasons that reason does not understand - Jacques Benigne Bossuel
They can make us root for the underdog - Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get - Forrest Gump.
They can make us think - By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail - Benjamin Franklin.
They can urge us into action - We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope - Martin Luther King.
And they can help us conquer uncertainty - Do the thing you fear the most and the death of fear is certain - Mark twain.

I love my collection of quotes and the variety of feelings they evoke, but I think my favorites are the ones that motivate. This conclusion brings me back to the one that heads up my office wall list - All things are ready if our minds be so - William Shakespeare. (That's the only quote I've allowed to be out of author alphabetical order by the way)
When Henry V said these words to Salisbury and Westmoreland in Act Four, Scene three of Shakespeare's play, I believe the stoic English King meant that we can do anything as long as we truly believe we can.

We writers are too often easily discouraged. Some of us doubt our ability to construct compelling plots, heartfelt emotion and unforgettable characters. Am I good enough? Am I fooling myself? Will I ever get published?

Others of us worry about the market - what are editors looking for, what's hot now, what'll be hot in three years, can I still write a fresh vampire novel? Is chic-lit really passe'? How does Nora write so many damn best sellers?

I like to think that every writer, good or great, published or unpublished has felt moments of self doubt now and then.
But what sets the successful writer apart from the unsuccessful writer is her ability to recognize self deprecating behavior, process it and then reverse it.
A friendly critique group can aid in setting our heads straight. Joining a group like Georgia Romance Writers is also a move in the right mental direction, but sometimes, something as simple as a quote hanging on the wall can help us remember that we can do anything. No matter if it's climbing the K2 or writing a romance novel. Just remember, All things are ready if our minds be so.

I'd love to hear some of your favorite quotes. And if you don't mind, I might add a few of them to my growing collection.

Happy writing to all. Have a brilliant Wednesday,



Sally Kilpatrick said...

Thanks for the inspiration, and kudos for referring to Shakespeare. My new favorite is from Woody Allen: "Eighty percent of success is showing up." I think I like it because showing up sounds so much easier than writing a novel.

The next quotation that I use frequently is anonymous I believe: "No experience is wasted if you learn something from it." To be quite honest, I think I got it out of one of those calendars that people used to give out as promo, but I remind myself of that frequently.

Great food for thought--sorry I couldn't be more profound today.

Sally Kilpatrick said...

Oh, I forgot about Phyllis Diller. She is one of my favorite comedians. My favorite from her:

Housework can't kill you, but why take a chance?

Cyrano said...

Sally, I laughed out loud when I read your Phyllis Diller quote. It's definitely going on my wall.
Here's another Mae West quote that I like too, "I never worry about diets, the only carrots that interest me are the number you get in a diamond."
Thanks for stopping by today.
Have a productive morning,

Linsey Lanier said...

Great post, Tamara! I'm a quote nut, too, but not as well-organized as you. I never would have guessed you were so anal. LOL.

I like all the quotes in your post. Love the one from Forrest Gump. And I used to have Sally's Woody Allen quote around somewhere . . .

One I have at the side of my computer now: "The first and most important step toward success is the feeling that we can succeed." Nelson Boswell.

Speaking of showing up, I'd better run off to work!

Great job.


Cyrano said...

Love that quote Linsey!
And yes, I'm incredibly anal. In stores, when the front desk has pamphlets or fliers sitting on a stack next to the register, I always, always straighten them. I usually get funny looks from the employees. I also straighten paintings in stores, doctors offices, friends homes. I have my collection of shoes in my closet in alphabetical order according to designer, color, style and height too. My daughter tries on my shoes all the time and once she put back a pair of Vivian Westwood peep toes on the Calvin Klein shelf by accident. The poor kid never heard the end of it.
I need professional help.
Thanks for the comment!
Have a great morning,

Carol Burnside said...

I Love quotes! I keep a file of them in my computer and refer to it often, especially when I feel the need for a little motivation. :) I'd intended to share 3, but the Phyllis Diller quote reminded me of another, so I'll make it 4.

My all time favorite (because I think we, as women, tend to downplay our strengths and accomplishments) is a quote from Marianne Williamson and was used by Nelson Mandella in one of his speeches.:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~ Marianne WilliamsonAnd as a reminder to avoid mediocrity:
'Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much, because they live in a gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.' --Theodore RooseveltOne that originated here on this blog:
'Remember—people who seem to move through life with confidence aren’t confident about the outcome of a decision; they’re confident that they can deal with the outcome, good or bad.' ~ Stephanie Bond'And this one, which makes me smile:
I'm not going to vacuum 'til Sears makes one you can ride on.'
-Roseanne BarrEnjoy!

Carol Burnside said...

Hmm. That was supposed to have more paragraph divisions in it. Hope you can decipher it.

Cyrano said...

I can desipher it perfectly Carol and I'm so, so glad you shared these quotes with us. I loved the Marianne Williamson quote. Oh it was so wonderful I cut and pasted it onto a document so that I can add it to my collection. I intend on looking up more of her words of wisdom too.
Believe it or not I don't have a single Teddy Roosevelt quote on my wall. He was an amazing historical figure so I intend on looking up his words of wisdom too while I'm at it.
Thank you so much for visiting today.
Have a productive morning,

Debbie Kaufman said...

Great post. Needed a reminder about the self-doubt after getting a critique on one of my chapters yesterday...

One of my favorite restaurants is an Oyster House in Mobile, AL that covers all their walls with quotes.

Gannon Carr said...

Oh, I love quotes! So many great ones shared here today. This is one of my favorites. In fact, I use it as my signature on my e-mails:

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

B.J. Anderson said...

Thanks for the quotes!! I'm now inspired to write today! :)

Cyrano said...

a dissapointing critique will get me every time. But as they say, Pick yourself up, dust yoiurself off and try all over again. I'm not sure who said that, but I like it. And I'd love to see that restaurant you mentioned. It seems to have 2 of my favorite things, seafood and quotes.
Thanks for stopping by and for your help earlier.

Gannon Carr,
I have that quote on my wall. I adore it. Using a
quote as a signiture is a great idea. I'm gonna have to look into that.
have a great day,

B.J Anderson,
If I inspired at least one person to write today, well then I'm thrilled.
May your fingers fly over the keys!

Pamela Varnado said...

I also am a quote person. I found my favorite one while shopping at Ross Dress for Less (I did). The quote is printed on an ivory colored plaque and reads NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP. It's sits at eyelevel on my desk to remind me how important it is to be persistent and unwavering in my belief that I will become published.

Maxine Davis said...


So many wonderful quotes in your post and in the comments. I love and collect quotes. I guess the one I use a lot now is:

Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.
Gene Fowler

Thanks for the wonderful post!

Tami Brothers said...

Great idea, Tamara. I've already printed several for my wall and even for my little cubical at work. The best on is from the Yoga instructor. Who knew they were so thoughtful (that was suppose to be funny...grin...).

My favorite quote is on my website on my profile page and I have to remind myself of it often...

"It does not due to dwell on dreams and forget to live, remember that."
-Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
written by J.K. Rowling.

It's very easy to shoot for that future goal that seems just out of reach (all the time) and forget to take pleasure in the here and now. Maybe that's just me.

Have a great day and I love the idea of alphabetizing shoes... I just need to get a few pairs so I can do that!!!


Cyrano said...

Never, never give up is perfect, short and sweet, but very powerful.

Maxine I intend on adding your quote (which I love by the way) to my wall. What a great saying!

I never read any of the Harry Potter books (please don't shoot me) but i loved the movies and Dumbledore is one of my favorites. Love that quote!

ladies, thanks so much for commenting and thanks for the quotes.
Have a brilliantly productive afternoon,

Susan May said...

I can't say that I have a favorite quote. I have a number of them on my website though. For a writer one of the best is "Never, never give up." by a coach that had cancer.

Nicki Salcedo said...

Thanks, Tamara. These are all great. I love random quotes that have little or no real world application. One of my favorites is from Terminator II. "I know now why you cry, but it is something I can never do." I say this to my monsters sometimes and they look at my like I'm crazy.

My favorite romance quote is from Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez: "After much thought he risked a white rose, which he liked less than the others because it was insipid and mute: it did not say anything."

Thanks for the inspiring words.

Cyrano said...

I love that quote too and so does my critique partner, Pam Varnado. It's four wonderful words.

Nicki, not only do I have 52 quotes with real world application, but on the right side of that cork board I have 72 movie quotes which I love just as much. My favorites are from Star Wars - "I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner; now *I* am the master." - Darth Vader.
"Wonderful girl. Either I'm going to kill her or I'm beginning to like her." - Han Solo
Chewbacca: Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrgh
C-3PO: He made a fair move. Screaming about it can't help you.
Han Solo: Let him have it. It's not wise to upset a Wookiee.
C-3PO: But sir, nobody worries about upsetting a droid.
Han Solo: That's 'cause droids don't pull people's arms out of their sockets when they lose. Wookiees are known to do that.
And something they say in all six movies at some point : I have a bad feeling about this.
I'm not only compulsive, but a huge, HUGE Star Wars Geek.
Thanks so much for the comments ladies. Have a relaxing evening,

CiCi Barnes said...

I'm a little late, but I love this post. Quotes are one of my favorite things too. I used to tear out the page of Quotable Quotes from the Reader's Digest and everyday at school, I would write one of them on the board. My students loved them. After a while, they started asking if they could bring in quotes too. Theirs were amazing.

And now I've gained a few more.

A great writing quote to explain the "show don't tell" mantra:

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Thanks for an inspiring post.


Cyrano said...

How wonderful that you shared your love of quotes with your students. I bet if you forgot to write one down they would ask what happened, huh?
And I plan on stealing your quote for my wall. It's one of the best I've heard.
Have a pleasant evening,

Marilyn Baron said...

I love all your quotes. You know that we feature quotes in The Galley each issue so send me some quotes we can use for the next issue. You really made me laugh.

I have a tent card in my office that doesn't feature a quote but I like it.

It says:

Writer At Work
Do Not Disturb

Note: Will Make Exceptions for Those Bearing Contracts, Chocolates or margaritas.

I think I got it at an RWR conference from Shirley Jump.


Cyrano said...

You made me laugh too, Marilyn. Like Nicki mentioned earlier, not all quotes need to be earth shatteringly profound. And sayings like yours are funny while still getting a message across.
I will definitely bring some of my quotes for the Galley this Saturday. I'd be honored to see them there.
hope you had a wonderful day,

Cinthia Hamer said...

Great quotes, ladies!

Sorry I'm jumping in her so late...had a looong day yesterday.

I have a few quotes that I love. The first isn't by anyone famous. They were words spoken by my cousin's wife: "Never let perfection get in the way of good enough". That resonates with me as a writer because so often, we strive so hard for perfection that we end up with nothing more than sterile words...with no flavor, no life, no spice. It's only when we allow ourselves to write freely and joyfully that our words come to life.

The second is a hybrid of Mark Twain and Jimmy Buffett: "Be good and you will be lonesome. Be lonesome and you will be free. Live a lie and live to regret it."

To me this means that we, as writers and as human beings should remember to always be true to ourselves. Don't compromise your values, your beliefs and your stories so much that your words and actions cause you to be something you're not.

Cyrano said...

I don't mind a late comment at all Cynthia. Glad you stopped by and hope you're able to relax now after a long day.
I loved these two quotes you sent. They resonate so clearly with the writer in me. And I'm sure they ring true to others as well.
I enjoyed your comment.
Have a wonderful Thursday,