The Wisdom of Hilaire Belloc

So I only recently heard of Hilaire Belloc, but you may recognise some of his more famous quotes! A twentieth century Anglo-French writer, he has such a fantastic way with words, and I was instantly drawn to his sense of humour. All that said, here are some of my favourite Belloc quotes – enjoy!

Any subject can be made interesting, and therefore any subject can be made boring.

(‘A Guide to Boring’, A Conversation with a Cat)

Then let us love one another and laugh. […] Let us suffer absurdities, for this is only to suffer one another.

(The Path to Rome)

The object of a religion or a philosophy is not to make men wealthy or powerful, but to make them, in the last issue, happy: that is, to fulfil their being.

 

It is in the irony of Providence that the more man comes to control the material world about him, the more does he lose control over the effects of his action; and it is when he is remaking the world most speedily that he knows least whither he is driving.

(Survivals and New Arrivals)

All creation must be chaos first

(The Four Men: A Farrago)

And I couldn’t really write a post like this without ending on this utter gem:

When I am dead, I hope it may be said:
‘His sins were scarlet, But his books were read’.

What’s your favourite quote? And which quips and gems have I missed?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

Dani

George Orwell on Writing

George Orwell is one of those authors that everyone knows about…and whose works I have actually yet to read. I was listening to a writing lecture by Stephen King, and he was really enthusiastic about Orwell’s instruction on writing, so I decided to poke around a bit and see what quotes I could find online. Here’s what I came up with!

Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print. Never use a long word where a short one will do. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out. Never use the passive voice where you can use the active. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word, or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.

An illusion can become a half-truth, a mask can alter the expression of a face.

A scrupulous writer, in every sentence that he writes, will ask himself at least four questions, thus: 1. What am I trying to say? 2. What words will express it? 3. What image or idiom will make it clearer? 4. Is this image fresh enough to have an effect?

To write or even speak English is not a science but an art. There are no reliable words. Whoever writes English is involved in a struggle that never lets up even for a sentence. He is struggling against vagueness, against obscurity, against the lure of the decorative adjective, against the encroachment of Latin and Greek, and, above all, against the worn-out phrases and dead metaphors with which the language is cluttered up.

Good prose should be transparent, like a window pane.

I think a lot of Orwell’s advice is really helpful! I do also think he’s a bit too negative and cynical for my liking, but I’ll withhold my judgment until I’ve actually read one of his books.

Have you read any Orwell novels? Do you find his writing advice useful?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Dani

Maya Angelou Quotes

I recently finished reading ‘I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings’, which is the first instalment of Maya Angelou’s autobiography. It’s a fantastic book; beautifully written and sagely told, and it made me really curious to learn more about this very famous writer. Here are some of my favourite quotes that I came across – enjoy!

History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.

Love recognises no barriers.It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.

In diversity there is beauty and there is strength.

A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.

We are only as blind as we want to be.

Have enough courage to trust love one more time.

Maya Angelou has quickly become one of my favourite writers, and I can’t wait to get into more of her work.

Do you have any favourite Angelou poems or quotes?

Thanks for reading, and have a lovely day!

~Dani

Travel

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

-Mark Twain

Stories

Stories do not explain. They seem to, but all they provide is a starting point. A story never ends at the end. There is always after. And even within itself, even by saying that this version is the right one, it suggests other versions, versions that exist in parallel. No, a story is not an explanation, it is a net, a net through which the truth flows. The net catches some of the truth, but not all, never all, only enough so that we can live with the extraordinary without it killing us.

Patrick Ness, The Crane Wife