The Value of Sage Quotes

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Jon Westenberg (@Jonwestenberg) posted a cool piece on the importance of quotations. More specifically, he spent a year writing down 100 quotes a month – by hand! Mon Dieu! The brashness of using a writing instrument to better understand and remember some of the most “useful, inspiring or just plain interesting” things that men and women around the world have said over the years in myriad fields. (Shaking head) That’s just crazy.

Or is it?

As readers of this blog may know, I enjoy contributing a Quote of the Day once in a while. There was a time, many years ago (when “I was young and unafraid/And dreams were made and used and wasted/There was no ransom to be paid/No song unsung, no wine untasted”) that I would keep a notebook and pen with me whenever I read a book. If I stumbled upon a nugget of literary gold, I’d write it down, carefully, knowing that even if I could not write as well as that author, I had at least benefited from their wisdom.

Then I got older, a little lazier, and after buying my first laptop I stopped writing down the quotes altogether. I miss it, not the quotes of course, as I still type them out and read them online or in books, but the process of painstakingly writing out each letter, each word, each sentence. It’s therapeutic in some ways, a feeling not totally dissimilar for me to spending time in an empty cathedral or a rural temple.

In any event, I laud Mr. Westenberg’s efforts to do something as “archaic” as write and something as “pretentious” as to quote quotes. (See how I threw those quotes around words that aren’t even quoting anyone! That was fun!) But if you enjoy learning from the enlightened words of others, I encourage you to read the above piece, which is so aptly titled “I’ve copied out almost 100 quotes by hand every single month for the past year: It’s not a bad habit to get into,” because in it you will find a treasure trove of quotes from across the centuries.


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