I love quotations. I love how they take the wisdom of the ages and turn it into bite-size pieces.
So I was happy to see this gift idea from Luke Reynolds in Writer’s Digest magazine. Mr. Reynolds’ wife surprised him with a wooden tea caddy filled with handwritten quotes about writing to inspire his own writing. Quotes like this: “One of the marks of a gift is to have the courage of it” (Katherine Anne Porter). And this: “I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at nine o’clock every morning” (Peter DeVries).
Reynolds keeps the tea box on a shelf above his writing desk and before starting a writing session, he pulls out an index card at random, reads the quotation, and lets the words sink in and give him a shot of inspiration.
Quote-junkie that I am, I decided to make a Literary Tea Box for myself. I didn’t have a wooden tea caddy on hand, but I did have an English Breakfast tea tin that was a gift from a friend last Christmas. Perfect. I spent a happy hour or so looking up writing-related quotations online during Saturday Night Live, typed them up in Favorite Quotes for Writers, printed them out, and chose 30 or so for my tin.
I reached into the tea tin just now and pulled out “Don’t get it right the first time. Just get it written.” James Thurber
Oh, that’s good.
A really nice thing about this gift is that you can customize it for anything. Sports, dance, business, art, you name it. And you can use any container that fits the theme.
- Andrew’s baseball coach shared a great quote at the parent kick-off meeting: “Sportsmanship for me is when a guy walks off the court and you really can’t tell whether he won or lost.” Jim Courier
- “If things seem under control, you’re just not going fast enough.” Mario Andretti
- “I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.” Michael Jordan
- “If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” Vincent Van Gogh
- “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” Michelangelo
- “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” Pablo Picasso
For achievement in general:
- “Just because something doesn’t do what you planned it to do doesn’t mean it’s useless.” Thomas A. Edison
- “The things we fear most in organizations—fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances—are the primary sources of creativity.” Margaret J. Wheatley
- “Reject the tyranny of picked. Pick yourself.” Seth Godin
What do you think? Would a gift like this inspire you to work a little harder, guided by the words of other brave souls like you?