Quotenik
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words

“Inside this pencil crouch words that have never been written.”

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source: “The Unwritten,” in The Second Four Books of Poems (Port Townsend, WA: Copper Canyon Press, 1993), 250–51.

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medium: poetry

“There is no word in the language for end-of-summer sadness, but the human spirit has a word for it and picks up the first sound of its approach.”

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source: “Cold Weather,” in One Man’s Meat (New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1944), 349.

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medium: essay

notes: White wrote this essay in January 1943.

“Human speech is like a cracked tin kettle, on which we hammer out tunes to make bears dance when we long to move the stars.”

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source: Madame Bovary (London: W. W. Gibbings, 1901), 210.

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medium: fiction

“‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too. Got to celebrate it!”

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source: Twitter, 5:38 PM Jul 18, 2010 via web

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medium: social media

“A writer lives in awe of words for they can be cruel or kind, and they can change their meanings right in front of you. They pick up flavors and odors like butter in a refrigerator.”

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source: “In Awe of Words,” The Exonian, quoted in “Steinbeck,” in Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews (New York: The Viking Press, 1976), 182-83.

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medium: nonfiction

“We don’t have to put the word compassionate in front of liberal the way conservatives do to prove that we give a shit about people. I think we should change what we call ourselves. I think we should be ruthless liberals. We need to show that we’re tough, that we really give a shit about people.”

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source: “What I’ve Learned: George Clooney,” by Cal Fussman, Esquire, December 31, 2004

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medium: interview

“Such a small, pure object a poem could be, made of nothing but air, a tiny string of letters, maybe small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. But it could blow everybody’s head off.”

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source: Lit (New York: Harper, 2009), 59.

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medium: memoir

“There is a time for many words and there is a time for sleep.”

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source: The Odyssey (New York: Oxford University Press, 1980), 136.

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medium: epic poetry

“Were his word a bridge, it would be risky to pass over it.”

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source: 1001 Yiddish Proverbs, by Fred Kogos (Secaucus, NJ: Castle Books, 1970), 127.

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medium: proverb

notes: Yiddish translation: Oib zein vort volt gedint als brik, volt men moireh hoben aribergain.

“Who owns the words? Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do—all of us—though not all of us know it yet. Reality cannot be copyrighted.”

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source: Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010), 209.

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medium: nonfiction

notes: This is a rephrasing of remarks written by the cyberpunk author William Gibson in “God's Little Toys: Confessions of a Cut and Paste Artist,” Wired, Issue 13.07, July 2005. Gibson's words: “‘Who owns the words?’ asked a disembodied but very persistent voice throughout much of Burroughs’ work. Who does own them now? Who owns the music and the rest of our culture? We do. All of us. Though not all of us know it - yet.”

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