Weekend Prompt: Your Ultimate Quote (Win swag!)

Write a conversation in which you utter what will be your—or your character’s—most memorable quote. The one that will be repeated for some time—for better or worse.

Hey writers,

In the world of authors, you’ve probably heard them, or some form of them, before.

“[Writing is] like driving a car at night. You never see further than your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.” –E.L. Doctorow

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.” –Elmore Leonard

“The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” –Stephen King

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.” –Allegra Goodman

What is it that instills a quote with fire and importance, that element that burns it into someone’s mind? Or, alternatively, what is it that deflates a quote and leaves you gnawing your tongue, wondering what, exactly, will go down in the history books?

In 500 words or fewer, funny, sad or stirring, I invite you to explore the prompt here or offline, and I’m also curious about your thoughts on the nature of quotes. And as always, feel free to post your stories in the comments section of the blog to automatically enter our monthly favorite-story swag giveaway.

Happy Friday,


Also, to tap into the inner punctuation nerd in us all, check out the hilarious “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks for some weekend reading.

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6 thoughts on “Weekend Prompt: Your Ultimate Quote (Win swag!)

  1. Zac

    Joe, love the kick to "What my brothers say when I’m belligerent" and the Veni, Vidi, Vici structure.

    Casie, that’s great about your air quotes. And hey, I stand by Pixar. My girlfriend and sister rallied to get me to watch WALL-E, and I submitted, then came out secretly wishing for my own lovable post-apocalyptic robot to have hanging around.

  2. Loveskidlit

    I love to quote quotations, and while the best ones come from Wilde or Shakespeare (epigrammatic wit being a favorite), these days the ones that stick are from Pixar. My daughter has just learned "air quotes," and it’s probably from me. So here’s me in a college classroom: "As Donkey says, in Shrek, ‘let’s do that again!’" (and while the students roll their eyes, I know they’ve seen Shrek). Hey, you asked for thoughts!

  3. J. Alvey

    "Veni, vidi, vici" –attributed to Julius Caeser

    < Veni >

    When Hector asked me if I wanted to go out for a couple of beers and suggested that we go back to that disappointing cattle ranch called Paradise, I wanted to say no. I was in the middle of some serious website development, really getting into it. And when I am in the flow, I like to stay in the river of thought. Besides, my Chinese would be coming to the door at any minute.

    Hector hectored, however, reminding me of that one babe we’d seen the last time we’d been there, at least a year ago, the one who had practically spilled her breasts on to my face before laughing at me along with her nearby friends. That should have been reason enough to say no, and would have been for most people, but the image of those milky orbs nearly dropping, one of them at least, into my sight and perhaps my mouth as well, was enough to persuade me otherwise, along with other images that Hector conjured.

    "Okay!" I finally said with more vehemence than I really meant. "Give me an hour, okay?"

    < Vidi >

    Paradise is not what it’s cracked up to be, at least for some of us. It is a club. They bring in bands, on occasion semi-major stars. The air is filled with the scent of cannabis and tobacco and the breath of nearly everyone you talk to, hired help or customer, is scented with the aphrodisiac that is alcohol. Even Hector and I drink beer, despite the fact we know that it is bad for our health, is killing vital brain cells and leads to excruciating headaches in the morning when we are not smart enough to stop early.

    Sometimes we are not that smart.

    Hector wants to get laid, and he is not alone. I would say that everyone in Paradise wants to get laid. The forbidden fruit, I might suggest, was not an apple but a cherry.

    That is not to smear my buddy Hector. Who DOESN’T want to get laid? Finally?

    No sooner through the doors, no sooner into the smoke and the fog and the laughter and the whispering, no sooner than that, I see Milky Breasts her very own self. She is like I remembered her from that time more than a year ago, exquisite after a fashion, if a bit plumper than before, but her breasts still trying to break away from the fabric designed to contain them, and her laughter still an elixir, even if I know it to be cruel from time to time.

    She is like I imagined her an hour or so ago, in the privacy of my bedroom.

    < Vici >

    Hector steers me away from my frozen moment to a table where two ladies sit. Both wear glasses, proverbial nerds. One is a bit on the hefty side, a bit more plump even than Milky Breasts. The other, the one I eventually figure out is ‘my’ date, is just plain goofy. She will never end up in Playboy.

    I sit uncomfortably, still thinking of Milky Breasts, when she asks, "So, are you Unix or the Dark Side?"

    I dived in. We talked like a couple of classmates or co-workers. She was bright and aware and taught me things I thought I already knew.

    When Milky Breasts stumbled over to the table, when Milky Breasts nearly spilled over me, when Milky Breasts, eyes dilated, nose twitching, asked if I wanted to go into the ladies’ room for a new experience, I rose from my chair.

    Nerd Girl pulled me down by the belt. She said, "He’s taken."

  4. J. Alvey

    "What my brothers say when I’m belligerent"

    Here is how I bowl: Before the first game I have a beer. It annoys my significant other. She seems to think that one can bowl on an empty head. It is not like that. This is a science of sorts.

    I know going in that my first game will really suck and that my third game is going to be a crap shoot. It is that last game that I play for, hoping that I can be there, but it is the middle game I am sure of. Always.

    During the first game I do not sit down next to others, next to the scoring table, in the seats U-shaped around that table, I do not sit with the other bowlers in my group, save for the others who realize the refinement and the technique, those who choose to sit with me at a table overlooking the battle zone, drinking and smoking and drinking some more.

    Beer after beer after beer.

    Still, I play the first game. I do not play regularly, so when I play, juiced or not, that first game is likely to be a poor one. It does not help that I am nervous, edgy even. No gutter balls but not so many strikes that you would write home about them even if someone at home cared about how many strikes you struck while bowling.

    That is okay. It is game two, as I said, that carries expectations.

    On a bell curve the first game begins at the original point, at the bottom of the curve, arcing beautifully upward as the beers accumulate. The apex of the curve, occurs somewhere during the middle of the second game. I am intoxicated but I am not drunk. I am intoxicated by the beer and with my ability. Strike follows strike before. A spare disappoints, requires a large swig. Anything less indicates that the beer flow has been insufficient.

    I might roll a 125 in my first game, followed by a 235 in my second, such is the power of the nectar that is beer.

    The third game, I know, will see the curve descend to its nadir. It must, and I accept that, too. I am no longer intoxicated but drunk. Where others see ten pins, I see 12 or 14. The gutters are closing in. On the other hand, and there is always another hand, I am laughing, we are laughing, and all is good.

    You cannot bowl and be angry. Unless you overdo it.

    Before leaving the bowling palace, high on strikes, spares, victories, and beer, we decide to play some pool and drink more beer.

    A mistake.

    When we finally gather our balls and bags and head for the exit, I find myself in front of a large man coming through the doors to start his own curve. Even when I am not completely wasted, this guy is big.

    He has six inches on me, height-wise, and six inches less than me, beer belly-wise. He appears, at that moment, to be made of granite, or perhaps oak.

    He says "Excuse me," as my eyes rise to find his own.

    I say, "Excuse me! I was looking for the door!"

    He says, "I’m not a door."

    I say, leaning from one side to the other, "You LOOK like a f***ing door!"

    I laugh. He laughs. I live.