Tag Archives: #quoteoftheday

Quote of the Day

“When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.”

Unknown monk, c. 12th century

I’ve always loved the above quote and for reasons unbeknownst to myself, thought of this morning in conjunction with another one of my favourite quotes from a movie about a woman who is pretty:

Vivian: “Tell me one person who it’s worked out for.”

Kit: “What, you want me to name someone? You want like a name? Oh, God, the pressure of a name… I got it. Cindafuckin’rella”

Ha ha ha.

How are those two quotes connected? Beats me. But I like ’em both and don’t have to apologize for nuttin’, honey!

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Quote of the Day

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“Heaven opened and the water hammered down, reviving the reluctant old well, greenmossing the pigless pigsty, carpet bombing still, tea-colored puddles the way memory bombs still, tea-colored minds.”

Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things

It’s raining out today. Therefore, I am thinking about rain. Actually, this sentence jumped out at me, and I very much enjoyed the Booker Prize-winning novel The God of Small Things, so what the heck! I figure anytime you have to double-take a single sentence a couple of times because it’s so full of vivid imagery, you’ve got a winner on your hands.

In case you haven’t heard, Ms. Roy has a (relatively) new novel out, The Ministry of Utmost Happiness, which, according to the book’s blurb, “takes us on an intimate journey of many years across the Indian subcontinent – from the cramped neighborhoods of Old Delhi and the roads of the new city to the mountains and valleys of Kashmir and beyond, where war is peace and peace is war.”

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Quote of the Day


“… “That at a certain point in our lives, we lose control of what´s happening to us, and our lives become controlled by fate. That´s the world´s greatest lie.”

– The Alchemist, Paulo Cohelo

Indeed, Willy S. would agree with Mr. Coelho: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.”

And like Bill the Bard, I have a mixed relationship with Paulo Coelho; with the former he confuses the freckles out of me (my shortfall as a reader, my dearth of freckles a slight problem), but with the latter he’s too preachy most of the time.

That being said, what Coelho does excel at – and by virtue his translator as well – is writing witty, memorable lines/passages. The above quote is but one shining example. And, to be fair, The Alchemist was for me an enjoyable read in much the same way The Little Prince was a good read and, to a lesser extent, The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared.

Finally, I have to admit that one of my favourite Coelho quotes is also the perfect ending to the Quote of the Day and comes from the same book:

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”


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Quote of the Day

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“Fashion has two purposes: comfort and love. Beauty comes when fashion succeeds.” Coco Chanel

Ostensibly this is a site about books and literature and other blah blah blah interesting things. But every once in a while, I’ve got to just run with the ball, all the way out of the stadium like an F. Gump on ‘roids, and somehow make it work.

Earlier, while searching my Vic 20’s extensive catalogue of memorable things that even more memorable people have uttered over the ages, I stumbled upon fashion (always my secret weapon), and was amazed to learn that pretty much every quote was not only on the mark, but eloquently stated (irony/destiny?).

So without further ado, here are some old and new classics on the subject…

Never use the word ‘cheap’. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.”
Karl Lagerfeld

“Every generation laughs at the old fashions, but follows religiously the new.”
Henry David Thoreau

“He’s always asking: ‘Is that new? I haven’t seen that before.’ It’s like, Why don’t you mind your own business? Solve world hunger. Get out of my closet.”
Michelle Obama

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” 
Yves Saint-Laurent

“[how can anyone] be silly enough to think himself better than other people, because his clothes are made of finer woolen thread than theirs. After all, those fine clothes were once worn by a sheep, and they never turned it into anything better than a sheep.” 
Thomas More, Utopia   

“A girl’s got to use what she’s given and I’m not going to make a guy drool the way a Britney video does. So I take it to extremes. I don’t say I dress sexily on stage – what I do is so extreme. It’s meant to make guys think: ‘I don’t know if this is sexy or just weird.” 
Lady Gaga

“There is one other reason for dressing well, namely that dogs respect it, and will not attack you in good clothes.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Speed eliminates all doubt. Am I smart enough? Will people like me? Do I really look all right in this plastic jumpsuit?”
David Sedaris

“You can never be overdressed or overeducated.”
Oscar Wilde

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Quote of the Day

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“How silly then to imagine that the human mind, which is formed of the same elements as divine beings, objects to movement and change of abode, while the divine nature finds delight and even self-preservation in continual and very rapid change.”

— Seneca

No, Seneca. You were wrong. Moving sucks. Like, sucks the big one. Hardcore.

Sorry, but after yet another move today (so, so, so glad I keep so many freaking books), my muscles in need of some East German speed skater hands to massage over them, I vehemently and diametrically oppose the notion that it’s “silly” to object to changing abodes.

Seriously, look at that Polaroid above! That was taken back when the dude was tutoring Nero on how to fiddle with the best of ’em when your city/empire is burning to the ground. Does that look like a guy who’s happy to move? No, it does not. That’s the look that says Thank you very much, but I would prefer to live in my present godforsaken hellhole than to move into a sweeter, phatter pad by the Coliseum.

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Quote of the Day

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“I myself, as I’m writing, don’t know who did it. The readers and I are on the same ground. When I start to write a story, I don’t know the conclusion at all and I don’t know what’s going to happen next. If there is a murder case as the first thing, I don’t know who the killer is. I write the book because I would like to find out. If I know who the killer is, there’s no purpose to writing the story.”
Haruki Murakami

Expect the unexpected. That’s today’s theme. Just when fit looks like it’s about to hit the shan – with everything nicely falling apart on the way – life has a Ha-Ha-Ha-funny way of swooping in and providing a much-needed set of paddles and life jacket (remember, ’cause you’re up a river and all).

Alternatively, just when things look all la-dee-da, peaches and freaking cream, rainbows sprouting out of frigging manholes, you get whacked over the head by a 2×4.

Boom! Eat it!

Even novelists, the grand puppeteers of the world, don’t understand how everything will unfold in their made-up universes of Plato-like, cave-dwelling prisoners. Theirs is to observe the flames on the wall, take their cues from human nature, and then pen the next sentence. Then a paragraph. And then a page and chapter and – if they’re lucky – a full-length story. If they’re really lucky, they’ll still be conscious and breathing when the last word is down on paper, all the answers (hopefully) answered somewhere along the way.

When the unexpected does – not if – happens, keep in mind something that the great Joseph Conrad once wrote: “Life has no meaning. Each of us has meaning and we bring it to life. It is a waste to be asking the question when you are the answer.”


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Quote of the Day


“No wonder we cannot appreciate the really central Kafka joke: that the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from the horrific struggle. That our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.”

David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays

David Foster Wallace is one of those towering figures of American literature whose legacy is as profound as his persona remains enigmatic, at least to many of us on the outside.

While he wrote both fiction and non-fiction – and with his non-fiction he wrote the gamut, from tennis and tornadoes to politics and pornography – today he is most widely remembered for his prose fiction, specifically Infinite Jest, which is seen by many as his magnum opus.

Set between an addicts’ halfway house and a tennis academy, Infinite Jest is a modern-day A Confederacy of Dunces, a reality where communists and pinkos and blockhead detectives are no longer the bad guys; it’s the entertainment industry as a whole, the shallow nature of television, and how “irony and ridicule are entertaining and effective, and that, at the same time, they are agents of a great despair and stasis in U.S. culture…”

A man of many interests and proclivities, Wallace has been described as someone who “wanted to progress beyond the irony and the metafiction associated with postmodernism.” Early in his career he was compared to writers such as Thomas Pynchon and John Irving, but the list expanded as the years passed – as did the many authors whose careers he would influence.

According to his father, Wallace suffered from depression for at least two decades. Sadly, another part of Wallace’s life would be compared to that of John Kennedy Toole at the very end, when David Foster Wallace took his own life in 2008. He was 46.

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Gord Downie: Quote of the Day


“Poetry is a voice that characterizes a nation. We should become a nation of poets rather than America-hater. It’s certainly more interesting.”

— Gord Downie, Canada’s rock-poet laureate

Canada is a nation in mourning. Tributes and farewells and love letters will continue to pour in, but we will never have him again. He has returned to that eternal and ethereal place among the stars where the brightest among us shine in perpetuity.

For reasons so many of us contemplated on nights filled with loud music, excessive drinking and cloud-filled rooms, the Hip never made it big in the States like Alanis Morissette, Rush, Shania Twain, Justin Bieber, Bryan Adams, Celine Dion, Avril Lavigne – the list goes on and on of Canadians who’ve made it mega-huge south of the border.

So why not The Tragically Hip? we asked on these now-fuzzy nights that memory has relegated to dark, hard-to-reach corners of our post-addled minds. How is there justice in this world if the Hip can’t be recognized for their talent and Gord Downie for his sheer brilliance?

That – not the current political climate – was all the proof we needed that something was awry not in Denmark, but across the 49th.

And then as we – and the Hip – grew older, we became more circumspect. We donned suits and ties, secured jobs and started families. We worried about mortgages and sicknesses. We quit smoking, drank less, and only smoked pot at get-togethers preceded by “10th” or “20th” or “25th.”

We didn’t listen to music as much. Hip album covers, which were once so reverentially  removed from the CD cover and read between friends, thick as thieves with this musical treatise in our hands, were bygone items replaced by screenshots and digital pics. We’d visit a website from time to time, read a thing or two about someone, but it wasn’t the same because we were alone when we did this. It just wasn’t the same as it used to be.

Today, so poetic that Gord has faded with the last of our season’s dying embers, we prepare for the cold, biting winds and relentless chill to the early mornings/late nights, and what feels like – to us Canadians, at least –  terminal darkness.

Or, as a contemporary of Gord Downie still sings so “full of grace”:

the winter here’s cold, and bitter

it’s chilled us to the bone

we haven’t seen the sun for weeks

too long too far from home

I feel just like I’m sinking

and I claw for solid ground

I’m pulled down by the undertow

I never thought I could feel so low

oh darkness I feel like letting go

But the darkness, of course, is not eternal. The light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it, and all. It will ebb and flow, and when we emerge on the other side, slightly worse for wear, we will still have him. That is our gift.

In short, Gord was right. We don’t need to be a nation of America-haters or begrudge their inability to venerate the Hip. We have them, all to ourselves, forevermore.

“The place of honor that Mr. Downie occupies in Canada’s national imagination has no parallel in the United States. Imagine Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Michael Stipe combined into one sensitive, oblique poet-philosopher, and you’re getting close.”

In the end, his poetry won out. That’s what we remember. That’s what we’ll take with us, as individuals and as a country, as we continue our journeys into the vast unknown, a place occupied by Wheat Kings and heavenly lyricists.

P.S. To read more of Gord Downie’s writing, check out Gord Downie Writing.

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Quote of the Day


“Laughter is unfound prayer and the only time a person is completely unguarded.”

— Erin Harris

That’s me momz! Famous? Check. Gifted writer? You bet. Awesomeness factor? Off the charts.

This a real quote because (a) she said it, and (b) the time she did say these words – many, many moons ago, when tigers smoked – I actually wrote them down.

Today, when not coming up with magic like above, she gives of her time at the Older Women’s Network (OWN), a volunteer organization that has, among other things over the years:

•    worked for the expansion of opportunities for older women in the work force

•    pressed governments for economic security for older women, many of whom were left penniless after divorce

•    advocated for affordable housing

•    supported government initiatives to develop long-term care and aging-at-home projects

•    combated ageism and sexism in the media and in government programs

•    continued the process of consciousness-raising through the study of feminist literature and its application to the lives of women

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Quote of the Day

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“It was a time when telling fantasies to oneself as well as others, and believing them, was practiced to an incredible degree…A large part of the population was swept into this confused, crazy world. ‘Self-deception while deceiving others’ (zi-qi-qi-ren) gripped the nation.”

Jung Chang, Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China

I know what you’re thinking: How on Buddha’s still-somewhat-green Earth could Jung Chang have presaged all the way back in 1991 through her book Wild Swans what would happen to the U-nited States of America in 2017? The answer, of course, is that she didn’t; she was writing about growing up in China before, during and after one of the most sinister leaders of the 20th century, Mao Zedong.

Kind of ironic (READ: scare the quills off a porcupine’s balls) that you can read the above passage and say to yourself, Wow! That so captures life today under Donnie T., Spicy Spice and the Grim Reaper.

Lest we forget, though, Jung Chang did a mind-blowing job of capturing 20th-century Chinese history from the perspective of three generations of females in a narrative that is at once memoir, social critique and eyewitness account to one of the most tumultuous eras in modern history.

Mao’s Reign of Terror, which was masked by such euphemistic banners as Cultural Revolution and Great Leap Forward, was in fact on the same sub-human level as the French Revolution’s real la Terreur, Lenin’s Bolshevik Revolution, Pol Pot’s Killing Fields, and Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, to name but a few of the blemishes on civilization’s track record over the last couple of hundred years.

Along with Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn’s China Wakes: The Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, Wild Swans should be mandatory reading for anyone trying to get a handle on where China has come from and where it’s heading in the future.

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