Authors admire and are inspired by the works of other writers, whether they be novelists, playwrights, poets, songwriters, scriptwriters or nonfiction writers. We often find a line or two that we consider to be the best group of words ever written. We can quote those lines verbatim. We’ll find ourselves drawn to those words when our own words elude us. Those lines trigger something in our minds, hearts, souls, and before we know it, our fingers are taping rapidly on the keyboard, our pens and pencils are gliding over notebook paper as we write about settings with detail so strong we can see them, characters so unusal that you can’t believe they just came from your imagination, plots so full of discovery, motivation, suspense, and conflict that you feel like this story is happening to someone right now. After reading or listening to your favorite lines, suddenly you are overflowing with words that are just as inspirational as the ones that we hold in such high regard. Below is a list of a just a few lines I believe are the best ever written. Feel free to add yours to the list.
She felt her face smiling. “Well, I’ll be damned,” she thought, “it didn’t even hurt. Wait’ll I tell Nell.” Sula in Toni Morrison’s novel, Sula.
“And maybe I took it to old lady Simons and told her, and maybe the money was all there but I got a three-day vacation anyway, because the money never showed up. And maybe the next week, old lady Simons had this brand-new skirt on when she came to school.” Chris Chambers in Stephen King’s novella, The Body.
“How did you hurt your arm?” they asked. “Who hurt you?” My attention was captured by the word they used: Hurt. As though I’d scratched my arm. Didn’t they think I knew it was gone? Dana from Octavia Butler’s novel, kindred.
“these hips are magic hips. i have known them to put a a spell on a man and spin him like a top!” homage to my hips, a poem by Lucille Clifton
“Sheets of warmth wavered above the ground like hallucinations . . .” Just Cause John Katzenbach
There’s too many of you crying
Brother, brother brother
There’s far too many of you dying.
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin’ here today–Ya.” What’s Going On Marvin Gay
“Ain’t gonna let nobody, Lordy, turn me ’round,
Turn me ’round, turn me ’round,
Ain’t gonna let nobody turn me ’round,
I’m gonna keep on a-walkin’,
Keep on a-talkin’,
Marching up to freedom land.” Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ‘Round, Liberation Movement song adapted from a gospel.
“But the one thing we did right.
Was the day we started to fight.
Keep your eyes on the prize,
Hold on, hold on.” Keep Your Eyes on the Prize, Freedom Song
“That man over there say that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helped me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or give me the best place! And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arms! I have ploughed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman?” Sojourner Turth, 1867.