Do writers and quotes just naturally go together? I don't mean are all writers eminently quotable; I mean do writers just need quotes in some way? To help us jell a theme, characterization, concept, or key moment in a plot or character arc? Do they help us get at the essence of truth? I think they do; at any rate, I know that when somebody nails a good statement it's as if I admire the idea, the verbal acuity, and feel that I've gotten a gift and made a connection, all at once.
Here are some quotes from CS Lewis, whom I'd definitely nominate for membership in Most Quotable Club, that have done one or more of these things for me:
"Friendship is born at that moment when one says to another: "What! You too? I thought that no one but myself..." Who can't recall moments like this? Aren't they golden? Wouldn't they make a great "moment when I knew so-and-so was my friend" in a story?
"Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give it to now one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness." Ouch. How true is that?
"A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest." Has friendship been born, or what? :) (See the first quote.) The honest truth? I'd like to tell this to a few people on Goodreads.
"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning..." I have nothing to add.
"The homemaker has the ultimate career. All other careers exist for one purpose only -- and that is to support the ultimate career." This is a Lewis quote that I never saw before until a week ago. We have to remember that the man died in 1963, back when you could say this. But this is exactly what I thought when I was a kid growing up. On an endless string of winter mornings I'd wake up to the radio my dad already had playing softly as he got ready for his day, and it would sing: "It's Cream of Wheat weather, we repeat; so guard your family with hot Cream of Wheat." And I'd think, "Oh, no, it's morning already, and it's Cream of Wheat weather on top of it!" I had to get up and get ready for school. My sister had to get up and get ready for school. My dad was already up getting ready for school. And we all had to leave the house with our snowpants and our mufflers and even our bag lunches if it was so bad we couldn't go home for lunch (which most kids did, but we did not walk uphill both ways, I promise, and I should add that my dad got to drive). My mom got up, too, and saw us off, made sure we had everything we needed, and got her own day started. But she didn't have to leave the house, and she was her own boss. Maybe it takes an introverted writer to really get off on this, but I knew which one of us four had the best deal. Mom the homemaker, I was completely convinced, had the ultimate career. And how I would love, love, love to believe that the other careers that exist are still in support of the homemaker, and the sacrifices s/he makes, and the very real financial risks s/he takes.
And all this helps answer my questions about quotes, I think, because when I began this post I had no idea I was going to write the above. Good quotes are the pickaxes we need to tap into a fiction writer's ultimate goldmine: our emotional truth.