I Love, I Wish, I Always Wanted, I Believe, I Like, I Would, I Will, I Thought, I Worry, I Should, I Might, I Am. I List.

May 2, 2010

Q: What did you believe at eighteen that you wish you still believed?
A: That life was about having fun. I love what I do, but there’s so much tied to it every day. I realized that building a business needed to be a part of something much bigger: family, community, helping the Aids community, and the homeless.
• Kenneth Cole in the September 1998 issue of

I’ve been going through a suitcase full of 3×5 quotation cards, sorting and Ziplocking® them, looking for inspiration. It’s easy to find. I’ve been doing this for years. Sometimes they provide inspiration for a title for a paper or an article or a presentation. Somehow, finding the right quotation centers me and keeps me reminded of a central purpose for a particular piece of work. I am also reminded that others share my vision, whatever it might be. (Student success note: This is a writing hint you might try. Sometimes the pivotal quotation comes from lists of such, but often it comes from research and from finding words that resonate and capture my intentions.)

For example, suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst said, “I am what you call a hooligan.” I used her words as part of a Women’s History Month art exhibit, “You & Your Big Mouth: Insight & Irreverence from Irrepressible Women,” that celebrates Gloria Steinem’s words: “The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” I am sometimes frustrated by how little I know about my female forebears. I do not like Women’s History Month. I do not want to be celebrated in little boxes or special chapters or the occasional illustration in history books. I want to be–and to know that others like me were–an integral part of history.

“Since flesh can’t stay, we pass the words along,” Erica Jong said in 1975 in “Dear Keats.” Quotations capture some of the words. Much of my work is devoted to passing them along. Today I share a few that inspire and amuse me.

I am strongly drawn to the simple life.
• Albert Einstein

I would rather be a meteor than a sleepy permanent planet. For man’s true purpose in life is to live, not to waste time merely sustaining himself.
• Jack London

I love the ugly stuff, the things that have no home, the unloved and unwanted given-away rejects lined up on shelves in secondhand stores across the land. I’d take them all home if I could.
• Dr. Pauline Wayne

Sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
• Lewis Carroll

I like living. I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all, I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. • Agatha Christie

All my life, I always wanted to be somebody. Now I see that I should have been more specific.
• Lily Tomlin, in The Search For Intelligent Life In The Universe by Jane Wagner

I worry that a whole lot of the curriculum on the reform agenda exists on the “get even” premise: I suffered through this when I was in school. Why shouldn’t these kids suffer too?
• Susan Ohanian (September 1997), “Insults to the Soul,” English Journal, p. 34

I thought it was the dumbest song I ever heard.
• Dodie Stevens about “Pink Shoe Laces,” the song she recorded in 1958 when she was twelve years old.

I wish I could write as mysterious as a cat.
• Edgar Allen Poe

Lists are the butterfly nets that catch my fleeting thoughts.
• Betsy Canas Garmer

Serious or silly, create your own list.

I believe in rainbows and puppy dogs and fairy tales. I believe that robots are stealing my luggage.
• Steve Martin, “What I Believe,”
Saturday Night Live, Season 5



  1. Here are a few quotes I’ve collected that seem to ring true for me, always. They never lose their impact on me, no matter where I am in my life.
    “You can’t reason with your heart; it has its own laws, and thumps about things which the intellect scorns.” Mark Twain
    “Sometimes what you believe has more power than the truth.” Jim Dowling
    “Immature poets imitate, mature poets steal.” T.S. Eliot

    • Love these–they’ll have to be “carded” immediately. I am always surprised, after years of collecting, to find new words that resonate. W-OZ

  2. This first quote I have hanging in my classroom to remind me everyday how to best teach my students. “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” Chinese Proverb
    “Be an opener of doors for such as come after thee.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
    I do not know where this quote comes from (except that it’s on my coffee mug that I use each morning). It has great meaning because it came from my Mom after I moved thousands of miles away.
    “Bloom where you are planted.”

  3. These inspire me and are found int the classrooms and at home

    “Teaching kids to count is fine, but teaching them what counts is best.” Bob Talbert

    “Don’t let yesterday use up too much of today.”
    will Rogers

    “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work the more I have of it.”
    Thomas Jefferson

  4. I found some new quotes that I have added to my collection.

    ~ Sometimes someone says something really small, and it just fits into this empty place in your heart. ~ From the television show: My So-Called Life.

    ~ Even if you are on the right rack, you’ll get run over if you just site there.
    ~ Will Rogers

    For a long time it had seemed to me that life was about to begin – real life. But there was always some obstacle in the way, something to be gotten through first, some unfinished business, time still to be served, a debt to be paid. Then life would begin. At last it dawned on me that these obstacles were my life.
    ~ Alfred D. Souza

  5. I look at everyone’s quotes and they are so inspiring. Then I get that “maybe mine are not good enough” feeling, but then I have to remember that my quotes are what I like. I am a fun person and when I think of quotes, I can only think of fun ones that make me chuckle. So hear they are…

    “Well, you know what they say: if you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!”
    Clairee Belcher from Steel Magnolias

    Friendship is like peeing on yourself. Everyone can see it, but only you get the warm feeling that it brings.

    What if the Hokey-Pokey is really what it’s all about?

    • Lauren~ My Dad wants to make this in wood: What if the hokey-pokey is really what its all about? GREAT!

  6. Here are some quotes that have given me cause to reflect:

    “Sometimes the greatest kindness comes when
    someone expects more from us than we expect
    from ourselves.” – Henry B. Eyring

    “To be really great in little things, to be truly noble and heroic in the insipid details of everyday life, is a virtue so rare as to be worthy of canonization.”
    Harriet Beecher Stowe

    “Sometimes I need what only you can provide: your absence.” Ashleigh Brilliant (Love this name!)

  7. Hi Rachel I like the one by Henry B. Eyring. It is a gift to us when people help us to reach for our better selves. Here are a few I liked.

    “No sucess outside the home can compensate for failure inside the home.” – David O. McKay

    “When a teacher calls a child by his full name it means trouble” – Mark Twain (I think that goes for mothers too)

    “Much that passes for education is not education at all but ritual. The fact is that we are being educated when we know it least.” – David P. Gardner

  8. “Sometimes I lie awake at night and I ask, ‘Where have I gone wrong?’ Then a voice says to me, ‘This is going to take more than one night’.”
    -Charlie Brown

    “Don’t let what other people think, decide who you are.”
    -Dennis Rodman

    “Time you enjoyed wasting, was not wasted.”
    -John Lennon

  9. “I woke up in the morning and was happy all day long”. Susan Winget

    “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

    “Wrinkles only go where the smiles have been.”
    -Jimmy Buffett

  10. I seldon find quotes by others that bring much meaning for me. I do like creating my own quotes. Is that bad?

    “Writing is simple; keeping the pencil sharp is a pain.”

    “Have pen; will travel.”

    “Once upon a time a ferocious pencil attacked an unassuming page that wore only a blank stare.”

    “What’s so great about Friday? It’s only two days away from Monday?”

    “Learning is the discovery of how little you know.”

    Quotes by Marshall Lewis

  11. seldom – “I seldom find quotes that bring much….”

  12. This one from a dear friend:
    Dive into the sea of thought and find your pearls of wisdom-Amy Carlson
    We learn more by looking for the answer to a question and not finding it than we do from learning the answer itself – Lord Alexander That really rings true when I’m searching the net–lots of distractions.
    Like the cricket who chirps the whole night, but seldom says anything meaningful, so too are my opinions, and should be regarded as such – His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
    This man has such a great sense of humor. I love his writings.

  13. A true lover of poetry, nature, and human nature alike… these speak to my soul:

    I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes.
    ~e. e. cummings

    The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love.
    ~William Wordsworth

    Kisses are a better fate than wisdom.
    ~e. e. cummings

    “Who dares to teach must never cease to learn.”
    ~ John Cotton Dana

    A person who won’t read has no advantage over one who can’t read.
    ~Mark Twain

    OK, I’ll stop.

  14. Hereare some quotes I found that have speial meaning to me.

    “Keep love in your heart. A life without it is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead
    By Oscar Wilder

    Good teaching is 1/4th preparation ad 3/4ths theatre
    By Gail Godwin

    To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.
    By Steve Prfontaine

  15. Here are some quotations that I found that I feel inspire writing.

    Every accomplishment large and small begins with the same decision: “I’ll try”.
    -Ted Key

    Don’t follow the path. Go where there is no path and begin the trail.
    -Ruby Bridges

    I write to discover what I think.
    -Joan Didion

  16. I really enjoyed looking up these quotes. The first quote is very similar to a poster I have hanging in my classroom. It essentially says the same thing with different words.
    “30 years from now it won’t matter what jeans you wore, how popular you were, what your hair looked like, or what sneakers you wore. What will matter is what you made of your education and where it took you in life.”
    This next quote is one I use in the classroom or at home as well. I know I must’ve heard it somewhere because I don’t think I originated it.
    “Only boring people get bored.”
    I really like this next one because it really helps you appreciate and understand our influence as educators.
    “A teacher affects eternity, he can never tell where his influence stops.”
    -Henry Adams
    For my three quotes assignment I came up with five. It was difficult to narrow it down to three. Now, I know that when I try this with my students I can let them choose at least two or three. This next one I could think about next time I teach a lesson that doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.
    “If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough. – Albert Einstein
    Finally this last quote helps me to understand the complexities of life.
    “Life does not ask us what we want. It presents us with options.”
    – Thomas Sewell

  17. Share previously in class- 3 Favorite quotes

    “There are two educations. One should teach us how to make a living and the other how to live.” ~John Adams

    “I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand.” ~ Chinese Proverb

    “Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss in life is what dies inside us while we live.” ~ Norman Cousins

  18. “Dream as if you’ll live forever,
    Live as if you’ll die today.” ~James Dean

    “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal, the tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.” ~Benjamin Mays

    “I believe that everthing happens for a reason. Things change so that you can learn to let go. Things go wrong so that you appreciate them when they’re right. You believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together.” ~Marilyn Monroe

  19. He who has imagination without learning has wings and no feet.
    Joseph Joubert

    A teacher is always a student

    Computers are useless. They can only give you answers.
    Pablo Picasso

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