The Power of the Quotable Quote


“Oh ME, oh life of the questions of these recurring…, of the endless trains of the faithless. Of cities filled with the foolish. What good amid these, oh ME, oh life? Answer? That YOU are here. That life exists and identity. That the powerful play goes on and YOU may contribute a verse.” Walt Whitman

If this quotation sounds familiar I do hope it’s because you know its film origin and not IPAD commercial spot.

It was made famous by the 1989 film Dead Poets Society.

The first time I heard that Whitman phrase, spoken by Robin Williams’ Mr. Keating, I was overcome with an intangible sense of awe.

It’s enduring impact still holds true today because from the poetic foundation came inspirational snippets from the script itself that nurtured that creative mind.

“No matter what anybody tells you, words and ideas can change the world.” Mr. Keating, Dead Poets Society

After watching that film repeatedly, I became enamoured with poetry and poetic snippets and I began to collect quotes.

It was like experiencing the words internally. It was like waking up from a blurry haze.

In fact one of my absolute favourites remains:

“…and tho’We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
From Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem Ulysses.

I became attracted to powerful expressions that moved me.

Poetic or otherwise, these gems of wisdom, these mind triggers, served to transform elusive ideas into magic dust for my creativity, enlivening my soul, and stimulating my mind. In turn, they inspired my desire and ability to write.

“Stay Hungry! Stay Foolish!”
Steve Jobs

These days, Quotable Quotes are everywhere.

You need not search far to find pearls of genius; they exist on fancy backdrops, on bookmarks, in fortune cookies, on journal covers or decoratively posted to Pinterest.

Quotable sayings have become an industry of their own.

The originator might be a poet, politician, actor, philosopher somehow voicing just the right thing to say in a moment.

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Walt Disney

Why do we seek them? Why do we appreciate them so? What is it about the perfectly expressed thought that draws us in and makes us take notice?

Why do we purchase posters after poster, postcards after postcard, frameable art boasting of such brilliance?

Can we not create them ourselves? Is there nothing brilliant or wise within our own minds worthy of such consideration?


But maybe when it comes from with-out we are more inclined to pay attention. Maybe when we see it presented in a vibrant way, or hear it delivered in a powerful tone, it makes us stop and savour every syllable because it comes by a path unexpected.

It is then that something happens to us.

We are moved. We are awakened. We are driven forward to produce; we are inspired to look at our world with fresh eyes.

This fresh approach somehow empowers us and charges us with new found energy that says, “I can do whatever I want to do!” “No task is too difficult or not worth my effort.”

But even more than that, quotable quotations offer hope for better.

They hint at an enticing change, opportunity, path, waiting to be made, taken, or tackled in earnest.

Sometimes we need that extra push. Sometimes a simple “Carpe Diem!” is necessary to shake us free from a slump.

Or sometimes it’s a slap in the face that forces us to re-examine our place and do something about it.

“The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”
Ernest Hemingway

What is your favourite quote? Do share it and keep that inspiration flowing. Cheers!

peekiequeen Thoughts, copyright Saturday, August 9, 2014