But advance degrees and marketing savvy are artificial qualifications as concerns gaining wisdom. Wisdom comes from the school of hard knocks, when life pushes you up against a wall and says, "this is NOT working!" Since this is the place we send our characters to see what they are made of, quotes arise from our stories as our characters fight towards hard-won wisdom.
People love such quotes, that they can print out and paste on their wall. Just look at the number of “highlighters” that litter the pages of your Kindle. Here’s one from Roland Merullo’s novel, Breakfast with Buddha: “When you are a crank, you put yourself on the top of the list of people you make miserable.” Great quote, right? Turns out 292 people (and counting) agree with you.
Want to guess which philosophers came up with these quotes?
1. "To know what you prefer instead of humbly saying Amen to what the world tells you you ought to prefer, is to have kept your soul alive."
2. "All sanity depends on this: that it should be a delight to feel heat strike the skin, a delight to stand upright, knowing the bones are moving easily under the flesh."
3. "Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage."
4. "No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently."
5. "It is within my power either to serve God or not to serve him. Serving him, I add to my own good and the good of the whole world. Not serving him, I forfeit my own good and deprive the world of that good, which was in my power to create."
6. “We don’t get to choose our gifts, just as we don’t get to choose the shape of the vessel into which they are poured. If you fail to claim the gifts, what will you have? The same vessel—just empty.”
7. "There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening, that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist though any other medium and will be lost."
8. "Where there's life, there's hope."
1. Robert Louis Stevenson
2. Doris Lessing
3. Anais Nin
4. Agnes de Mille
5. Leo Tolstoy
6. Kathryn Craft
7. Martha Graham
8. Kathryn Craft
Hmm… Who is this “Kathryn Craft”?
Since we didn't study wisdom literature in my health and physical education masters program, my quotes didn't arise by any credential other than story. These two came from the mouth of my character Marty Kandelbaum, who is a deep-thinking baker. I love the notion that philosophers travel among us, unlabeled as such, yet still capable of functioning as a spirit guide. This will come up again and again in my fiction—the archetype would be the mentor or crone.
That’s why, when Dani did her post on creating memes to promote books, I thought a meme campaign would be just right for mine. The illustrations on this page are what I’ve come up with so far.
I’ll be adding a few more over the course of the next two months. But if you like what you see here, and have a Facebook account from which you’d like to share them, feel free to go to my Facebook page and share away—I’d love to see these spread far and wide!
And thank you, Dani, BRP's head red pencil pusher—one of the great benefits of being a blog team member is the sharing of such ideas and resources.
How has the Blood-Red Pencil affected your writing life? Have you tried creating memes thanks to Dani, or Bitstrips thanks to Shon? Sharpened grammar thanks to the Style Maven, or taken away useful techniques from any of the other authors and editors here? In this holiday season, we’d love the gift of your feedback in the comments.
Kathryn Craft is a developmental editor at Writing-Partner.com, an independent manuscript evaluation and line editing service. Her monthly series, "Countdown to a Book," details the traditional publication of her debut novel, The Art of Falling, by Sourcebooks, due January 28, 2014. It is now available for pre-order. Her monthly series, "Turning Whine into Gold," appears at Writers in the Storm. Connect with Kathryn at her Facebook Author Page and Twitter.