From the Fabulous Books of Mrs. E.L. Konigsburg May 1, 2013Posted by ccbooks in Analysis, Quotes.
A tribute to one of our greatest authors in the form of the wise words that she slipped into so many of her books. As a kid, I probably couldn’t have quoted you any of these lines, but I definitely read them and over many years, their ideas and philosophy have sunk into my brain. While most people point to authors such as Elise Broach and Blue Balliett when looking for Konigsburg comparisons, I actually see her as having a more profound influence on Rebecca Stead and Holly Goldberg Sloan. In order of publication, some thoughts to consider from a writing master. Enjoy!
“Happiness is excitement that has found a settling down place, but there is always a little corner that keeps flapping around.”
—From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
“Festival, he explained to Salai, is like lightning. It has no history and it has no future. It lights up everything for a brief second. It passes. It leaves nothing of itself save its effect. The lightning itself is never there to be pawed over by future generations. A pageant, dear Salai, gives an artist a chance to zigzag through time like lightning, like a wild irresponsible thing.”
—The Second Mrs. Giaconda
“Well, darling, a true scientist is not an algorithm. He is an artist, not a mechanic. Both are seekers of truth. The truth may be poetic in one case and factual in another but if you are going to be merely logical and merely mechanical, you will never be a star. Just as an actress has to think as well as feel, a scientist must feel as well as think.”
—Up from Jericho Tel
“She thought that maybe–just maybe–Western Civilization was in a decline because people did not take time to take tea at four o’clock.”
—The View from Saturday
“Friendship depends on interlocking time, place, and state of mind.”
—Silent to the Bone
“They are telling me a story. A story full of sense and nonsense. They are saying that if life has a structure, a staff, a sensible scaffold, we hang our nonsense on it. And they are saying that broken parts add color and music to the staff of life. And they also say that when you know that your framework has been built right and strong, it’s all right to add color to it, too. The towers are saying, there is no why–only a why not. That’s what the towers say to me.”
“Uncle Alex had said that you can’t stop history from happening because the entire past tense is history. But the future is choices. And the choices of a single person can change future history even if that person is underage and does not have a driver’s license or credit card.”
—The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place