Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Getting-to-Know-You: Signature Quotes!

Getting to know you,
Getting to know all about you.
Getting to like you,
Getting to hope you like me...

Oscar Hammerstein’s lyrics, sung by Anna in The King and I, waltzed through my mind while I grew and wrote today’s post.
The words and tune make the perfect ring tone for students and teachers attempting our Back-to-School Getting-to-Know-You Writing Workouts.

before you read about today’s Writing Workout - creating an identifiable verbal ring tone of sorts, i.e. a Signature Quote, be sure to enter our latest contest for classroom teachers/librarians/homeschooling groups. The prize? Win either a 30-minute Skype visit from a TeachingAuthor or a set of six autographed books – one from each TeachingAuthor!

Esther Hershenhorn
“Go, Cubs, go!” (Steve Goodman, "Go, Cubs, Go!")
“It’s never too late, in fiction or in life, to revise.” (Nancy Thayer)
“Onward, kiddos! The world awaits!”  (Esther Hershenhorn, Loop-de-Loop Leo)

Writing Workout

Six-word memoirs.
Poetic expressions of pivotal Life moments.
The personal essay.
Creating each of the above offers us the opportunity to choose and order words that best reveal our true selves to the world.
But the words of others can also do the same when quoted and placed beneath our names.
The right quotation can serve as a signature every bit as singular as John Hancock’s bold cursive strokes or Zorro’s three sword-drawn lines.

What words - spoken, written, sung, filmed or posted by others, tell the world who you are?

The possibilities are infinite. So,

• Brainstorm topics/themes/subjects that speak to you – i.e. family, friends, heroes, school, learning, writing, sports, drama, music, pets, dreams, hobbies, traveling, as well as those topics/themes/subjects that speak about you – determination, humor, love, kindness, courage, discovery, creativity, etc.
What key words capture you?
List those key words or themes in your Writer’s Notebook, as you did when brainstorming your Six-word Memoir.

• Discover the words of others! Explore collections of quotations from famous people, copying your favorites into your Writer’s Notebook. 
Quotation sources highly recommended for young writers include: Adrien Betz’ Scholastic Treasury of Quotations for Children, Jacqueline Sweeney’s Incredible Quotations, J.A. Senn’s Quotations for Kids or Katura Hudson’s “Quotes for Kids."
Of course, the standard bearer is Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations: A Collection Passages, Phrases and Proverbs .
(FYI: John Bartlett was an American publisher who compiled remarks from famous people in a volume titled Familiar Quotations in 1855!)
Quotationary (Random House Webster’s) offers quotes alphabetically organized by subject matter, from Ability and Airplanes to Zeal and Zen.

• Brainstorm and list famous people, famous Americans, people in the news YOU admire, people who serve as solid role models.  Research and/or Google your favorite, looking for words they've spoken or written at one time.
• Think about and list your favorite song lyrics or musical artists.

• Think about and list advertising slogans or billboard signs you find yourself repeating.  Might one refrain or motto say it all about you?

• Think about and list your favorite book and/or movie characters and lines they have spoken; think about your favorite authors and words they have written. 

  Don't forget to include your favorite phrase, your favorite rhyme, your favorite poem, your favorite Bible passage.

• Remember words from family members, friends, neighbors, teachers, coaches, religious leaders. Do you find yourself stuck on a favorite phrase they've spoken?  List those words and phrases too.

• Perhaps you’ve coined your own favorite expression, utilizing your own style.  Your words count too!

Grow your list, then return to select those quotes that, placed beneath your name, do the job - i.e. ring out to the world who you are and what's in your heart. Don't forget to attribute your source - i.e. the book, the song, the person, the company - in parentheses.

The Good News is: you can continue to grow your Quotes List as you grow too! Like you, your signature quote is ever-changing.

So, think:

“I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.” (The Little Engine That Could)

“So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.” (Milo, The Phantom Tollbooth)

“Kid, you’ll move mountains!” (Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!)

In other words,

Just do it!” (Michael Jordan, Nike)

“Do it! Do it! Do it! Do it!” ("I Gotta Feeling", The Black Eyed Peas)


Carmela Martino said...

I LOVE this idea, Esther! (And “Getting to Know You” is a great song!)
I recently shared a favorite quote at:
a site where children’s book creators can “show and tell” quotes and photographs:
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘You cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” (Vincent Van Gogh)
Also, after reading how important exercise is for our mental as well as our physical health, I came up with my own mantra to motivate me to exercise:
“Exercise is important for my brain and my well-being.” (Carmela Martino)

Carmela Martino said...

By the way, the address for the main page of the ShowandTellMe site is:

Alison K Hertz said...

"I took the road less traveled..." by Robert Frost. This has always summed up my personality and spirit.

Ellen Reagan said...

"If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you." Gospel of Thomas
-- a quote that's ominous enough to keep me writing when I want to throw in the towel! Thanks for a great post, Esther. I love that you included a quote from one of your own books. A literary agent that I queried recently asked for a favorite quote from my ms. Felt so revealing to quote my own work! Carmela, I'm adding your Van Gogh quote to my list of favorites

Carmela Martino said...

Ooh, I like yours too, Ellen. And Alison, I think of Frost's words often.

April Halprin Wayland said...

I LOVE quotations and love reading which ones friends choose to place below their signatures.

My favs change daily. Today, as I work on the midterm elections, I think it may be:

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.
~ Betty Reese

Megan K. Bickel said...

April - I love that one!
Esther - As I've started exploring the world of writing, I've noticed how often writers use quotes. I was just thinking I need to find a "me" quote. What a timely post! Thanks!

Irene Latham said...

Thanks for this, Esther! My signature quote has emerged during my book promotion over the past 9 months: Live a Life Worth Writing About. Which is a variation of a guiding principle I adopted some years ago: Life is not about finding yourself: Life is about creating yourself. Love that!

Irene Latham said...

Thanks for this, Esther! My signature quote has emerged during my book promotion over the past 9 months: Live a Life Worth Writing About. Which is a variation of a guiding principle I adopted some years ago: Life is not about finding yourself: Life is about creating yourself. Love that!

April Halprin Wayland said...

Thanks, Megan. The quote on my website is my actual signature quote:

April Halprin Wayland: ½ poet, ½ author, ½ not good at fractions

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thanks to all who shared their Quotation Quotes and expressed their enthusiasm for this opportunity to create an identifiable verbal ring tone!
Your quotes give so much PUNCH! to what is simply a name.
And, writers (of all ages): the Siqnature Quote comes in mighty handy, much like the ring tone, when you need to learn your characters' hearts.
Esther Hershenhorn
"There is a crack in everything; that's how the light gets in." (Leonard Cohen)