Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Line By Line

Whenever I get stuck or need inspiration to keep writing (or to write better), I think of lines from books that were so powerful they stayed with me for years after reading them.

Here are five of my favorites - paraphrased! Let's see how horribly I butcher them...

"I probably shouldn't have given the guy who pumped my stomach my phone number, but who cares? My life is over anyway." - Carrie Fisher, Postcards From the Edge

"The world breaks everyone and afterwards some are stronger in the broken places." - Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms

"I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell." - Donna Tartt, The Secret History

"It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done. It is a far, far better sleep I go to, than I have ever known." - Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities (I first heard this line in an episode of Cheers. Frasier was trying to trick the other barflies into listening to classics. Years later I discovered the real context of the line.)

"There's a tree that grows in Brooklyn...No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree that struggles to reach the sky...It would be considered beautiful except there are too many of it." - Betty Smith, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

Anyone else memorized (or un-memorized, as I may have done) lines from your favorite books?


  1. You've got some of my favorites there. I loved A Tree grows in Brookltn, and A Tale of Two Cities is my favorite book ever.

    The only line that comes to mind is "Last night, I dreamt I went to Manderlay again," from Rebecca.

  2. I've always felt Francie and I would have been good friends (if she were a real girl, that is).

    I didn't read A TALE OF TWO CITIES until I was an adult. Very noble, beautiful ending.

    I read A SECRET HISTORY last summer. Wow. Amazing.

    I'm drawing a blank on my own favorites. Thanks for getting me to think.

  3. Natalie, I was a total wreck at the end of "Cities." I haven't read "Rebecca" but now I'm curious!

    Caroline, I can't think of a better coming-of-age novel than "Brooklyn" and I love Francie, too :)