While scrolling through Facebook yesterday I came across a Twitter screenshot of a quote attributed to some random internet chick. Never mind the fact that I had that same quote on an AOL homepage when she was a toddler. I had an entire page with my favorite quotes, and I was always sure to give credit when I knew who said them. Otherwise I stated that they were “anonymous.” I am going to put aside this obvious issue of credit where credit is due and look into something else: our love of quotations.
Why do we love other people’s words? Is it the inspiration they give us? Is it their ability to say what we cannot? Is it that you can find the perfect quote for any situation? Yes, yes, and yes.
I was in high school when I started collecting the quotes I liked in my purple poetry book that was always on my person. When it came time for us to choose our senior quotes for the yearbook, many friends borrowed that book in hopes of finding the perfect one. I myself had already picked my quotes, and was happy to assist. I was disappointed however when my favorite one for the yearbook was not published. “That’s your dream out, now.”-Frank McCourt
I think the yearbook staff thought it was improper grammar.
Looking back, I hate the quotes that ended up in my yearbook and am always angry that one didn’t, as it was most relative to my high school experience. In the end it doesn’t really matter, as the only person looking at my yearbooks these days is K, who loves having me point out my old friends.
When the internet officially became a thing I had AOL, as did most of us, and with that came a profile and a homepage, and my first foray into website building. Mostly I just had a page with other people’s quotes. Our AOL profiles asked for our favorite quotes. When I graduated to Myspace, then Facebook, they also asked for quotes on your profile. It became customary to express yourself through the words of others.
Now, as a writer, you would think I would have a problem with that, but I don’t. While strictly against plagiarism, I can say that I have found inspiration from various quotations, and I think that is the purpose they serve. Everyone has a favorite quote, and the encouragement we can gather from it is what moves us forward. The words of others stay with us long after we are gone.
PS- if you look up my name + quotes you end up here and I’d really like to know which of us dozen or so BH’s came up with those because it was not me. Perhaps the most famous Brigid, a freedom fighter from Belfast who lived to be 94? I’m curious.