Why do we pick out and keep certain sentences that we read or hear? I suppose it’s because they mean a lot to us, especially the ones that make us say, “Eureka! That’s it.” Like this one from Solar by Ian McEwan, which says a lot about my life:

“Like many men of his generation, he did not speak about his experiences and relished the ordinariness of post-war life, its tranquil routines, its tidiness and rising material well-being, and above all its lack of danger, everything that was to appear stifling to those born in the first years of the peace.”

And three I’ve posted before that seemed to describe me.

On the other hand, we might keep quotations just because we like them. Like the ones I jotted down when my children were small:

  • (On seeing a cow close by) “I’ll be happy at it not doing anything to me.”
  • “What are your eyes for?” “To see.” “What are your ears for?” “To hear.” “What is your nose for?” “To get mucus out.”
  • “Mummy, don’t lie on the grass, that’s Daddy’s job.”
  • (About younger brother who hasn’t cleaned his teeth) “He’ll be the black teeth of the family.”
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