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22 Go-to Quotes About Life and Literature

By Anam Tariq

Quotes travel far and wide, often from person to person, generation to generation, century to century. In modern times, we've seen them spread across social media. I am always on the lookout for good, meaningful quotes while reading, which can teach me something valuable or reveal hidden truths.

Below, Smiley’s quote relays one of the imperative purposes of writing. Wednesday Addams’ dialogue aptly describes what social media is doing to us. People from all walks of life can find purpose in these words, which is why they're always worth keeping an eye out for. I’ve managed to arrange below such ensemble of quotes that shine a light on the multiple facets of life and facts about existing, while some of them also ruminate on the art of writing.

Enjoy reading all the curated quotes!

Adulthood is not a destination, it’s a road.

— Doogie Kamealoha from Doogie Kamealoha M.D.

Photo: Unsplash

The very first quote here was for me very timely. I could relate to it. It is often believed amongst kids/young people that adulthood is kind of a destination, a goal where they have to reach. But it’s not. Because it’s just a road where we keep on walking ahead, keep learning, and keep getting better until death.

"You never know the last time you’ll see a place. A person."

— Jenny Han, It’s Not Summer Without You

Photo: Luke Chui via Unsplash. Lonely swing looking out on the sea
Photo: Luke Chui via Unsplash

"You can afford to take your time, Mabel. What you can’t afford to do is waste it."

— Ben Glenroy from Only Murders in the Building

Photo: Redd F via Unsplash. New York buildings, bridge.
Photo: Redd F via Unsplash

"For Belly, Conrad is the sun, and when the sun comes out, the stars disappear."

— Jenny Han (The Summer I Turned Pretty)

Beach, sunset
Photo: Sean Oulashin via Unsplash

"That’s the trouble with loving a wild thing; you’re always left watching the door."

— Edith Pattou

White door
Photo: Christopher Martyn via Unsplash

"I’ve had one besetting sin always, Mary: I’m proud. Pride can be the devil. It runs in our family."

— Agatha Christie, Sad Cypress

Hand reaching for Agatha Christie books
Photo: Jeremy Horvatin via Unsplash

"Some memories are realities, and are better than anything that can ever happen to one again."

— Willa Cather, My Ántonia

Two people on a bench at the beach
Photo: Ian Wetherill via Unsplash

"That is part of the beauty of all literature. You discover that your longings are universal longings, that you’re not lonely and isolated from anyone. You belong."

— F. Scott Fitzgerald

Photo: Rey Seven via Unsplash

"Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for."

— Miyamoto Musashi

Person with arms splayed out
Photo: Debby Hudson via Unsplash

"Most people had one of two reactions when they lost someone: either they vowed never to move house, keeping rooms exactly the way they’d been left, … or they made a clean break, unable to bear the thought of living every day as though nothing had changed, when in fact their whole world had shifted."

— Clare Mackintosh, I Let You Go

Person looking out on a city
Photo: Amir Hosseini via Unsplash

"Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but you’ve actually been planted."

— Christine Caine

Flower growing out of the dirt under a rock
Photo: Mikhail Ilin via Unsplash

"When you're young, you just run, but you come back to what you need"

— Taylor Swift, This Love

Taylor's 1989 (Is it over yet) playing on a tablet on a white bed, a cup of hot-chocolate with cream next to it
Photo: Jovan Vasiljević via Unsplash

Taylor's line feels so true to me. Young people crave exploration, adventure. Then, when they need it the most, they can return to the things and people they need.

"Beauty provoketh thieves sooner than gold."

— William Shakespeare, As You Like It (Act 1, Scene 3)

William Shakespeare statue holding a leaf
Photo: Taha via Unsplash

"Home isn’t always a place, is it?"

— Charlie Mackesy, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Cozy living room, book on table
Photo: Pavan Trikutam via Unsplash

Mackesy’s remark really hits home (no pun intended), because surely, home is wherever our loved ones are, right?

"I believed things like happiness and misfortune depended on how you saw things. … Failing to get into university was a misfortune, but then I was happy because it meant I could work out what I wanted to do with my life."

— Makoto Shinkai, She and Her Cat

Seagull soaring through the sky, blue skies
Photo: Federico Fioravanti

"Broaden your interests. It's nice to have at least one surprising hobby or passion. People find it interesting. In many ways, the part of you that is least expected is more respected."

— James Clear

Paint pallette
Photo: Carissa Weiser via Unsplash

"Genuine poetry can communicate before it is understood."

— T. S. Eliot

Fountain pen on notebook
Photo: Álvaro Serrano via Unsplash

"When the worst happens, you can’t bear it alone."

— Emma Stonex

Two people biking, reaching out to each other
Photo: Everton Vila via Unsplash

"Time gives you a bit of distance where you can look back at whatever’s happened to you and not feel all the feelings you once had."

— Emma Stonex

Train station
Photo: Jan Huber via Unsplash

"I did not begin them by thinking I had a good subject for a novel. I began them by thinking that I had discovered important truths about the world that required communication."

— Jane Smiley on writing her novels, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

Photo: Yannick Pulver via Unsplash

"Secrets are sometimes revealed from the most unexpected places."

— Anam Tariq

Secret library door
Photo: Stefan Steinbauer via Unsplash

"A soul-sucking void of meaningless affirmation."

— Wednesday Addams from Wednesday on social media

Skull on black surface
Photo: Mathew MacQuarrie via Unsplash

Hopefully you will find something above to take home with you and to probably press against a pressed rose inside the vault that is your beloved notebook!


About the Writer:

Anam Tariq is a poet and writer from India with an MA (English) and a poetry collection A Leaf upon a Book (Leadstart, 2022). She runs The Wordsridge Newsletter on Substack and writes for Writers’ Cafeteria, and others. Anam has published poetry, non-fiction, an interview, and a research piece in different places. Her poems appear in The Punch Magazine, nether Quarterly, EKL Review, Swim Press, coalitionworks, SeaGlass Literary, The Amazine, and elsewhere. In her free time Anam loves immersing herself in books and learning Arabic. Website:; Instagram: anam.tariq_; Twitter: anamtariq_

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