Quotes are like succulents. They don’t need much to thrive.

I love reading and discovering little patchworks of words (patchwords!) that catalyze a great focus of thought. Sometimes a quote can change your life.

This is a growing list of phrases in which people of all sorts have said or written that continue to resonate with me.

I will walk into the sunshine with you or you will not be my friend. I will instruct you and you will instruct me. I will learn things from you and you will learn things from me. Otherwise you can’t be my friend.”

——Robert Guillaume, actor and singer, known for television work and for voicing Rafiki in The Lion King.

Okay, the origin is a bit of a blur: Around 2005, I was on a poetry tour in either Bob Whoopeecat Stephenson’s truck near Dallas or in Stefan Sencerz’s car near Corpus Christi—but surely in Texas—reading a local arts paper. I ran across a quotation section of the paper and there was a very short write up and a photo of Robert Guillaume, who I always enjoyed on the sitcoms Soap and Benson, along with anything else I’d ever seen him in. Within the splotch of text was that fabulous thought of his. A guide. A means of gauging people on merit and equality. I was immediately in love with it and I’ve done everything to proliferate this quote since, including adding it as my email signature ever since. I still have that section torn out from the paper:

“What’s so good about greatness?”

—David C. Perez

This quote struck me with great urgency the moment David said it. “Yeah! What’s so good about it!?” was my initial thought—I haven’t stopped thinking about it since. David is one of my chosen family and is a tremendously gifted writer and thinker, so it is no surprise to me that he would come up with this thought catalyst.

“The objector and the rebel who raises his voice against what he believes to be the injustice of the present and the wrongs of the past is the one who hunches the world along.”

—Clarence Darrow, lawyer and author (1857–1938)

This one takes power away from assumed authority and puts credit squarely in the hands of those who make seconds into hours and keep the world ticking.

“Nothing matters very much, and few things matter at all.”

—Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1902 to 1905

I live for funny little quips that take you exactly where you weren’t expecting to go.

“Being rude is evil at it’s smallest increment.”

—Amanda Borges

My friend Amanda said this to me as a writing prompt, but I couldn’t shake it as a truth. A philosophy of life. A wisdom to pass on.

“The most unfettered imagination belongs to young people, and they don’t walk through life; they fly.”

—Rod Serling, writer and television producer (Twilight Zone), 1963.

I related to this quote before I finished reading it for the first time.

I hope these have inspired you. More to come!