Category Archives: Quote

Welcome Autumn!

Now we move into the shades of autumn…
“Smoke hangs like haze over harvested fields,
The gold of stubble, the brown of turned earth
And you walk under the red light of autumn
The scent of fallen apples, the dust of threshed grain
The sharp, gentle chill of autumn…”

– Edith Holden

Art – Eugene Grasset

What are the most unusual characters in famous novels?

Uriah Heep from David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

“I am well aware that I am the umblest person going,” said Uriah Heep modestly, “let the other be where he may. My mother is likewise a very umble person. We live in an umble abode, Master Copperfield, but have much to be thankful for. My father’s former calling was umble; he was a sexton.”

His name has become synonymous with sycophancy.

Captain Ahab from Moby Dick Charles Melville

“Human madness is oftentimes a cunning and most feline thing. When you think it fled, it may have but become transfigured into some still subtler form.”

“All my means are sane, my motive and my object mad.”

“Swerve me? The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run. Over unsounded gorges, through the rifled hearts of mountains, under torrents’ beds, unerringly I rush! Naught’s an obstacle, naught’s an angle to the iron way!”

(From his object mad I extracted the question “Who is your white whale?”, question I ask my customers.)

Miss Havisham from Great Expectations Charles Dickens (a forger of astounding characters)

“I stole her heart away and put ice in its place.”

“Break their hearts my pride and hope, break their hearts and have no mercy.”

I’ll tell you,” said she, in the same hurried passionate whisper, “what real love it. It is blind devotion, unquestioning self-humiliation, utter submission, trust and belief against yourself and against the whole world, giving up your whole heart and soul to the smiter – as I did!”

“Love her, love her, love her! If she favours you, love her. If she wounds you, love her. If she tears your heart to pieces – and as it gets older and stronger, it will tear deeper – love her, love her, love her!”

Berenice from Berenice – short story by Edgar Allan Poe

“Berenice and I were cousins, and we grew up together in my paternal halls. Yet differently we grew –I ill of health, and buried in gloom –she agile, graceful, and overflowing with energy; hers the ramble on the hill-side –mine the studies of the cloister –I living within my own heart, and addicted body and soul to the most intense and painful meditation –she roaming carelessly through life with no thought of the shadows in her path, or the silent flight of the raven-winged hours. Berenice! –I call upon her name –Berenice! –and from the gray ruins of memory a thousand tumultuous recollections are startled at the sound! Ah! vividly is her image before me now, as in the early days of her light-heartedness and joy! Oh! gorgeous yet fantastic beauty! Oh! sylph amid the shrubberies of Arnheim! –Oh! Naiad among its fountains! –and then –then all is mystery and terror, and a tale which should not be told.”

Art – Uriah Heep by Fred Barnard

Also featured at Quora.com.

What’s the most epic book ever written?

The Story of San Michele by Axel Munthe

“A man can stand a lot as long as he can stand himself. He can live without hope, without friends, without books, even without music, as long as he can listen to his own thoughts.”

“We know that we are going to die, in fact it is the only thing we know of what is in store for us. All the rest is mere guesswork, and most of the time we guess wrong. Like children in the trackless forest we grope our way through our lives in blissful ignorance of what is going to happen to us from one day to another, what hardships we may have to face, what more or less thrilling adventures we may encounter before the great adventure, the most thrilling of all, the Adventure of Death.”

“Happiness we can only find in ourselves, it is a waste of time to seek for it from others, few have any to spare. Sorrow we have to bear alone as best we can, it is not fair to try to shift it on others, be they men or women. We have to fight our own battles and strike as hard as we can, born fighters as we are.”

“To my amazement, I have heard that there are people who have never seen a gnome. I can’t help pitying these people. I am certain there must be something wrong with their eyesight.”

Answer featured in Quora Digest.

What are some good short stories?

I have answered this at Quora.

The Snows of Kilimanjaro
by Ernest Hemingway.

“The cot the man lay on was in the wide shade of a mimosa tree and as he looked out past the shade onto the glare of the plain there were three of the big birds squatted obscenely, while in the sky a dozen more sailed, making quick-moving shadows as they passed.”

“Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. Well, he would not have to fail at trying to write them either. Maybe you could never write them, and that was why you put them off and delayed the starting. Well he would never know, now.”

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d

When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d
by WALT WHITMAN

When lilacs last in the dooryard bloom’d,
And the great star early droop’d in the western sky in the night,
I mourn’d, and yet shall mourn with ever-returning spring.

Ever-returning spring, trinity sure to me you bring,
Lilac blooming perennial and drooping star in the west,
And thought of him I love.

O powerful western fallen star!
O shades of night—O moody, tearful night!
O great star disappear’d—O the black murk that hides the star!
O cruel hands that hold me powerless—O helpless soul of me!
O harsh surrounding cloud that will not free my soul.
…………………………………………….

Also posted on Quora.

Becoming a Redwood

Becoming a Redwood by Dana Gioia

Unimaginable the redwoods on the far hill,
rooted for centuries, the living wood grown tall
and thickened with a hundred thousand days of light.

The old windmill creaks in perfect time
to the wind shaking the miles of pasture grass,
and the last farmhouse light goes off.

Something moves nearby. Coyotes hunt
these hills and packs of feral dogs.
But standing here at night accepts all that.

You are your own pale shadow in the quarter moon,
moving more slowly than the crippled stars,
part of the moonlight as the moonlight falls,

Part of the grass that answers the wind,
part of the midnight’s watchfulness that knows
there is no silence but when danger comes.

A graduate of Stanford Business School, Gioia claims to be “the only person, in history, who went to business school to be a poet.”