- If you’re anything like me, you’ve found strength before in fiction. It’s gotten you through some of the toughest times in your life, and you can point to a specific phrase in a specific book, and remember how you felt when you found it, how it gave you something to hold on to while you struggled.
Maybe that quote is something you repeat to yourself to gain confidence. Maybe it’s just a really powerful quote that has nothing to do with your situation at all, but you feel some sort of soul-deep connection to it. Today I have five quotes to share with you that resonate with me in this way. I realize that I may be using the term proverb loosely at this point, and they’re not all from books. But there’s a reason they’ve stuck with me, and it’s not just that they’re (mostly) short. I think it’s because these 5 bits of fiction came to me in the right place and at the right time.
1. May the Force be with you.
Star Wars makes me feel more spiritually anchored than anything else. I realize that’s weird to hear someone say, but it would definitely take me too long to explain, and I would probably end up crying at some point. But I think one of the things I most love about this quote as a mantra is that it’s not something you say for you–you say it to someone else. To give them hope, and encouragement, and luck. We might use it as a joke sometimes, but at its heart, this Jedi saying is meant to tell you that something much bigger than all of us is rooting for you.
2. As they do.
This is the second sentence of A Monster Calls, and it’s said in the context of how it’s just natural for monsters to show up after midnight. It’s sort of calming to think about things that way: there are ways that some things work, and it’s more than routine, it’s part of what that thing is. (This is definitely not to say that I don’t think there are places where we should strive for change, because there are!) For me, it’s as much a poetic acknowledgement of inevitability and reality as it is a sentence that says something is what it is–and doesn’t judge for it.
3. What’s next?
Fans of The West Wing will recognize this one; it’s President Jed Bartlet’s catchphrase. I wrote it on my graduation cap this past June, because if t
ere’s one thing that show taught me, it’s how to move ahead, to look forward to the next thing. I’m still not as good at moving on and letting go when it’s finally time, but asking myself “What’s next?” has helped me get there.
4. Fight because you don’t know how to die quietly. Win because you don’t know how to lose.
Have you read Nora Sakavic’s All for the Game trilogy? You really should, because it’s magnificent. I won’t go into what it’s about too deeply here, just enough for context. The series follows the (fictional) Palmetto State Foxes, who play on the (fictional sport) exy team. They’re the underdogs who have finished at the end of the rankings pretty much every year, but they’re fighters. They’ve fought people, circumstances, and life itself to get to where they end up by the end of the series. If I possessed one tenth of their tenacity, I’d be unstoppable.
5. Do, or do not. There is no try.
I’ll admit that this famous phrase from Yoda was my third choice for the number five spot. It was never my favorite, really, blasphemous as that sounds. But I chose it anyway because I’m taking a risk that I need to commit to: opening a bookstore with my mother. And that’s not the sort of thing you can do halfheartedly and just kind of give up on. I don’t know how well it’s going to go, or how long it’s going to last, but doing it is better than not–every time. I’m still antsy about stepping out of my comfort zone and facing my anxiety head on, but I’m getting there.
Whatever your fictional proverb is, however you connect to it, I would absolutely love to hear about it, so please share if you are willing! And I’ll leave you with one more quote from A Monster Calls that I think perfectly illustrates what today’s post is meant to be about:
“Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important than anything. If they carry the truth.”
And I think that your fictional proverbs? They’re definitely part of the truth.
(P.S. The image I used in this post is available as a print from the artist, Earthlightened, on her Society6 shop.)