Recently I’ve become convinced that a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt would be perfect as an epigraph for my new novel (an epigraph being a little quote on the opening page right before a novel starts). With the right epigraph I’d immediately establish a warm, sympathetic, intelligent tone. I hope. Unfortunately, although I know what I want Eleanor Roosevelt to have said, and although I think she probably did say it, I can’t find the exact right words. I’ve been reading her letters, confident that somewhere, tucked away, I’ll find my epigraph. But meanwhile, I’ve been accumulating epigraphs perfect for books I’m not writing. So I’ll pass them along and feel free to take them.
Eleanor Roosevelt: “Perhaps we have to learn that life was not meant to be lived in security but with adventurous courage.”
Eleanor Roosevelt: “It is often said that friendship and loyalty are the petty illusions and dreams of youth and that as one grows older, one gives them up and forgets them, but this seems wrong, for the greatest men and women are those who have been loyal and honest and have believed in friendship to the end.”
Bernard Selling: “Sometimes the only real truth is each person’s perception of it.”
Peter Ackroyd: “If there is one aspect of a writer’s life that cannot be concealed, it is childhood.”
Antigone: “The mighty words of the proud are paid in full with might blows of fate, and at long last these blows will teach us wisdom.”
Oedipus: “The pains we inflict upon ourselves hurt most of all.”
Margaret Robison: “The soul has to have a place to come home to.”
Bill Roorbach: “If memory is what people are made of, then people are made of loss.”
Lucille Clifton: “I write the way I write because I am the kind of person I am.”
Katherine Russell Rich: “There are three things you can’t hide—happiness, a cough and love.”
Anyone have an epigraph they like?