I’m nearing the point where I’m willing to let other people read my current work in progress and I’m stalling a little. I need to cut a serious number of words and I seem only capable of adding. So I’m taking a break and attending to details like making sure there’s only one chapter marked “10” and that it follows chapter 9. Seriously. It needed to be done.
But one of my favorite details was searching for the epigraphs—the little quotes at the beginning of the chapters that give you a little taste of what might happen in the chapter and points to the themes.
I thought it might be fun to give you all a selection of some of the quotes that might just make an appearance in The Way of the Tiger…
“Where then is evil? What is its origin? How did it steal into the world?…Where then does evil come from, if God made all things and, because he is good, made them good too?”
The classic question of an all-powerful, loving God. It becomes a critical question to most of my characters as they’re faced with the worst of human circumstances. Okay, it’s one I wrestle with too. But it seems silly sometimes in the midst of my first world problems. I think if my characters can figure it out, maybe I can too.
“We perceive an image of truth and possess only a lie.”
My main character has a bad habit of living this quote out. She, like most of us, see life through a skewed lens and struggles with seeing things as they really are. There’s another saying that comes to mind…”We see through this glass but darkly.” It’s a biblical quote and I find it so true. I rarely see things in proper perspective.
“Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all convictions,
While the worst are full of passionate intensity.”
~William Butler Yeats
The Second Coming
This one just gives me goosebumps and sounds like something Kai, my main character, might say. Which contrasts a bit with . . .
“You can give without loving, but you can never love without giving.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson Tweet This
“I lay there, trembling and listening, in the extreme of fear and curiosity, for, in those dozen words, I understood that the lives of all the honest men aboard depended on me alone.”
~Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island
Ryan, my male protagonist, is the light of the story. Everyone looks to him to be the solid one. He gives and gives even when he’s sure the world is coming apart at the seams. But he feels like he might be responsible for the problems and is a bit of a control freak that way.
“Where in jungles, near and far, / Man-devouring tigers are, / Lying close and giving ear / Lest the hunt be drawing near.”
~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Travel
The tiger is a prominent theme in the book. I expected to find a quote like this in Rudyard Kipling as he spent a lot of time in India (which neighbors Burma). Instead I found it in the famous fairytale writer’s work.
“There are things which a man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”
~ Fyodor Dostoevsky
This is terrifying, but true. It haunts all my characters and I suspect every one of us. It’s another theme–exploring how far we’ll go. Dostoevsky was a powerful prophet for Soviet Russia and continues to be so today.
“Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul–and sings the tunes without the words–and never stops at all.” ~ Emily Dickinson Tweet This
“Be still, my soul—the waves and winds still know His voice who ruled them.”
~ Katharina von Schlegel, Be Still, My Soul
These words are where I hope my story lands. Things happen. Dark things. We all know that. None of us can explain them fully or even hope to understand. But there is hope.
Ach! There have been so many incredible words written it’s hard to pick just a handful. I love quotes so much that I keep a file of them, just so I have someplace to go when I need inspiration and encouragement.
Now, you might not have the compulsion to keep a file (I understand it’s weird. I’m a writer. Sue me.), but I’m willing to bet you have a favorite quote or saying. Maybe if you share it, I can add it to my file!