I have a huge quote file I’ve been keeping since 1990, and it’s about 300 single spaced pages of quotes I’ve collected over the years. I think the practice of typing these things in is good for writing. Unable to sleep tonight I stumbled through the file, and found this one.

In the old testament and in the Jewish Interpretive and mystical texts, there is an emphasis on the importance of the spoken word. Speaking is the cause, not the antithesis, of an event or action. The words of the prophet are true because they are spoken, not the reverse. Prophecy is not witchcraft; it does not foretell the future but creates it. – Reesa Grushka

The curious thing about my affinity for this quote, and my last book, is I’m a big believer in the notion talk is cheap. It is. But talk can, at times, have great power. Saying things out loud, even if only to yourself, changes how you think and feel about whatever it is you choose to say. On the first day someone speaks the truth about something everyone else has been too afraid to say, or admit to themselves, the world changes forever. Telling someone you love them for the first time, or that they’ve hurt your feelings, or a thousand other scary things can take more courage than any amount of action.

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7 Responses to “Quote of the month”

  1. Dorian Taylor |

    A lot of what we do these days is uttering things into existence. That’s essentially what software is.

    Reply
  2. Scott Berkun |

    I wonder about that. The older I get the more I think its art that matters, and not the tools.

    I find it harder, as I’ve aged, to get excited about software – it’s just more tools. Most of us barely scratch the surface of what the tools we have can do.

    Give the right person a pencil and some paper and they’ll make worlds. Give the rest of us a billion dollars worth of software and we’ll make trash.

    Reply
  3. Kirkistan |

    The connection between writing and uttering something aloud and stuff happening in the world is a bit mysterious and completely fascinating (http://bit.ly/7tuYZs). Public speaking is powerful in a way that writing can never be (and perhaps vice versa).

    Reply
  4. Sean Crawford |

    Wow, I just realized something about -isms. As a young man my home was spartan, as I age I surround myself with beautiful things, while at the same time I grow more in touch with emotions- and with other people. Art frees me which frees my words.

    People seeing beauty means connections between people.

    When the -isms go after writers and artists, maybe the dictator/religious ruler isn’t just going after explicit freedom of speech-communication, and not just trying to shut down his follower’s creativity… (thought experiment: I can’t see a pimp allowing his stable to all get easels and take up impressionist painting.)

    Maybe he is also suppressing emotional-communication between people too… suppressing the bonds of nonverbal connection. That is my wow of the day.

    So yes, I believe in words and art.

    Reply
  5. Jason Cohen |

    Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.

    But *good* talk can move us in ways the written word rarely can.

    Also you have to put such quotes into context — mass-literacy is a modern invention, so clearly the written word can’t have the same effect as the spoken before e.g. the 1700s, even with its limited distribution.

    Reply
  6. Scott Berkun |

    Jason wrote:

    > Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand.
    > But *good* talk can move us in ways the written
    > word rarely can.

    Well said, indeed.

    Reply
  7. Jake |

    I really like this web site! I have a lot to learn here :]

    Reply

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