archive: commonplace
October 26, 2008 - 12:11 PM

[commonplace] - Always the archivist's urge to curate and catalogue overcame the editor's obligation to dispense with and discard. And so he went on accumulating. - Geoff Dyer

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

"In God We Trust". I don't believe it would sound any better if it were true. - Mark Twain

Music is the only language in which you cannot say a mean or sarcastic thing. - John Erskine

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity. - Dorothy Parker

April 19, 2007 - 12:52 AM

[commonplace] - It matters not what the clocks say or the attitudes and labors of men. Morning is when I am awake and there is a dawn in me. - Henry David Thoreau

A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices. - William James

The cruelest lies are often told in silence. - Robert Louis Stevenson

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan 'press on' has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race. - Calvin Coolidge

I wonder if a memory is something you have, or something you've lost. - Woody Allen

All looks with strangers became the unspoken question, 'Are you the stranger who will rescue me?' Starved for attention, terrified of abandonment, I began to wonder if sex was really just an excuse to look deeply into another human being's eyes. - Douglas Coupland

Never let your sense of morals keep you from doing what is right. - Isaac Asimov

September 20, 2006 - 12:53 PM

[commonplace] - Preach not because you have to say something, but because you have something to say. - Oscar Wilde

A great deal of intelligence can be invested in ignorance when the need for illusion is deep. - Saul Bellow

I have never let my schooling interfere with my educations. - Mark Twain

My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. - Indira Gandhi

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set I go into the other room and read a book. - Groucho Marx

Someday I will be a beautiful butterfly. Then everything will be better - Heimlich

There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it. - Edith Wharton

Habit rules the unreflecting herd. - William Wordsworth

July 15, 2006 - 12:39 AM

[commonplace] - A man of genius makes no mistakes. His errors are volitional and are the portals of discovery. - James Joyce

Even a happy life cannot be without a measure of darkness, and the word happy would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness. It is far better to take things as they come along with patience and equanimity. - Carl Jung

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. - Walter Smith

Everywhere I go I find that a poet has been there before me. - Sigmund Freud

I often quote myself; it adds spice to my conversation. - George Bernard Shaw

You can't depend on your judgement when your imagination is out of focus. - Mark Twain

Creativity is a bloody nuisance and an evil curse that will see to it that you die from stress and alcohol abuse at a very early age, that you piss off all your friends, break appointments, show up late, and have this strange bohemian urge (you know that decadent laid-back pimp-style way of life). The truly creative people I know all live lousy lives, never have time to see you, don't take care of themselves properly, have weird tastes in women and behave badly. They don't wash and they eat disgusting stuff, they are mentally unstable and are absolutely brilliant. - Toke Nygaard

April 23, 2006 - 3:58 PM

[commonplace] - The problem for modern man is not that he has lost his way. Man has always lost his way. The problem now is that he has lost his address. - G.K. Chesterton

If you want truly to understand something, try to change it. - Kurt Lewin

The greater the difficulty the more glory in surmounting it. Skillful pilots gain their reputation from storms and tempests. - Epictetus

Don't mistake pleasure for happiness. They're a different breed of dog. - Josh Billings

We think caged birds sing, when indeed they cry. - John Webster

I never think of the future. It comes soon enough. - Albert Einstein

The worst of all deceptions is self-deception. - Plato

The way for a young man to rise is to improve himself in every way he can, never suspecting that anybody wishes to hinder him. - Abraham Lincoln

April 7, 2006 - 12:25 AM

[commonplace] - I have discovered that all human evil comes from this, man's being unable to sit still in a room. - Blaise Pascal

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug. - Mark Twain

We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time - T.S. Eliot

Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian. - Dennis Wholey

Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy. - F. Scott Fitzgerald

Let us read and let us dance - two amusements that will never do any harm to the world. - Voltaire

I care not for a man's religion whose dog or cat are not the better for it. - Abraham Lincoln

March 19, 2006 - 1:38 PM

[commonplace] - The curator, the editor, the compiler, and the anthologist have become such big figures. They are all people whose job it is to digest things, and to connect them together - Brian Eno

Three minutes' thought would suffice to find this out; but thought is irksome and three minutes is a long time. - A.E. Houseman

If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than ourself. - Desiderata

A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. - Robert Heinlein

Computer games don't affect kids, I mean if pacman affected us as kids, we'd all be running around in darkened rooms, munching pills and listening to repetitive music. -

I shall live badly if I do not write, and I shall write badly if I do not live. - Francoise Sagan

March 6, 2006 - 3:31 AM

[commonplace] - What we instantly apprehend, we can instantly categorize. And dismiss. - Mark Bernstein

A man always remembers his first love with special tenderness, but after that begins to bunch them. - Mencken

It is with narrow-souled people as with narrow-necked bottles: the less they have in them, the more noise they make in pouring it out. - Alexander Pope

Curiosity is a willing, a proud, an eager confession of ignorance. - Leonard Rubinstein

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. - Bertrand Russell

There are three rules to writing fiction. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are. - Somerset Maugham

Wagner's music is better than it sounds. - Mark Twain

February 15, 2006 - 12:17 PM

[commonplace] - All great truths begin as blasphemies. - George Bernard Shaw

The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware - Henry Miller

Dividing one's identity is necessary to remain complete. The misconception that multiple personalities cause alienation is avoided through conscious action and creation. - Lars Ringbom

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could; some blunders and absurdities have crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; you shall begin it serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think I see place and duties for a nobleman in every society: but it is not to drink wine and ride in a fine coach, but to guide and adorn life for the multitudes by forethought, by elegant studies, by perseverance, self-devotion, and the remembrance of the humble old friend, by making his life secretly beautiful. - Ralph Waldo Emerson

The first principle of Japanese romanticism seemed to be the culture's Emersonian assumption that it could refashion the world as it chose, and might as well do so, therefore, in a bright and pleasant light. - Pico Iyer

February 8, 2006 - 1:12 PM

[commonplace] - Literature, like all other art, is the admission that life is not enough. - Fernando Pessoa

The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved...the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars. - Jack Kerouac

I've always thought that some packages [books] should be left for opening late in life, to fend off senile apathy. Likewise the best age to discover ballet is 70 or 80, an anti-gravitational remedy for increasing downward pull. - Richard Eder

Plays are nothing to films, nothing. Theater is dead but sometimes I like to go and watch the corpse decompose - Stephen Fry

It can be very dangerous to see something from someone else's point of view without the proper training. - Douglas Adams

Possess nothing that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful. - William Morris

October 9, 2005 - 12:24 AM

[books] - Commonplace books, "a book in which noteworthy quotations, comments, poems, etc, are written".

The Whiskey River Commonplace Book

more online examples: Identity Theory, The Constant Reader, Scott McLemee, Risa, Bret Mulligan, Watermark,

Maya's Micronomicon. the notebook is a crypticly dense compilation of diary, quotes, sketches, notations and lists.

articles: Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library: Exhibitions, Yale Bulletin, Residential College Tips, U of Delaware

meta: The Lyceum, j.jacobs

see also: Marginalia (images)

February 20, 2002 - 9:34 PM
"I feel an irresistible desire to wander, and go to Japan, where I will pass my youth, sitting under an almond tree, drinking almond tea out of a blue cup, and looking at a landscape without perspective" - Oscar Wilde (1882)

June 7, 2000 - 5:24 PM
"Whoever you are, there is some younger person who thinks you are perfect. There is some work that will never be done if you don't do it. There is someone who would miss you if you were gone. There is a place that you alone can fill." -- Jacob M Braude

June 4, 2000 - 2:04 AM

from the pressed fairy calendar:
"Saturday june 3rd -> The Worst Day in the Fairy Year.
no one quite knows why this day has been named. One theory is that this is the day on which King Gargle-Afterwards first launched his drive to prevent fairies from drinking nectar whilst under this influence of moonshine. Others say it is more likely to be named after the day on which Queen Flat Bird Hat invented the digital wristwatch."