Responding to a Quotation

Often, a strong statement by someone can lead the listener or reader to realize she has strong ideas of her own about the matter. So here are some thought-provoking remarks that members of a writing group may want to reflect on and respond to. A group can either decide on a single quotation together and all react to it, or each writer can decide which one evokes a response and then can write about the response.

 

Thought-Provoking Quotations:

“Your calm mind is your ultimate weapon against your challenges.” -Bryant
McGill

“We must not see any person as an abstraction. Instead, we must see within
every person a universe with its own secrets, with its own treasures, with
its own sources of anguish, and with some measure of triumph.” -Elie Wiesel

“Happiness is neither virtue nor pleasure nor this thing nor that, but
simply growth. We are happy when we are growing.” -John Butler Yeats

“Always forgive your enemies–nothing annoys them so much.” -Oscar Wilde

“The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” -Mark
Twain

“Life is like riding bicycle. In order to maintain balance, you must keep
moving.” -Albert Einstein

Directions:

If the writing group wishes to all focus on one quotation:

  1. Participants read through the quotations above.
  2. Everyone jots a “quick-write” on each of their top three quotation choices and why they are drawn to them.
  3. Group members share their quick-writes and talk over what they’ve heard.
  4. The group now tries to choose one that evokes the strongest response. However, if there is no consensus, the group may decide to divide into two or three sub-groups.
  5. Everyone now writes a response to the quotation.
  6. Share first with a partner, and then volunteers share with the whole group. People may nominate their partner, as a way to encourage participation.

If the writing group decides that each member will focus on his or her own choice of quotations:

  1. Everyone reads through the quotations and chooses one.
  2. Each member states his or her choice and states one quick thought about why it seems important or relevant.
  3. Optional: people discuss their choices in pairs, to get their thinking started.
  4. Everyone writes a response to their chosen quotation.
  5. Share first with a partner, and then volunteers share with the whole group. People may nominate their partner, as a way to encourage participation.