What Should An Author Think Of Being Quoted? - Op-Ed Piece

Most authors, from those who post short poems on Instagram, to those who stow away their pieces for no one to see, to the many in between, dream of success they will most likely not attain.

The dream is the closest they ever get to success.


An interview with their favorite late-night show, where they talk about the inspiration behind their book and joke of a one-liner the host made.

A movie adaption that helps their books get even more recognition, while still giving them credibility as a writer. Their book doesn’t get overshadowed by the movie, people should still read it.

Being on a bestseller list and having the chance to walk into the bookstore and see their book on the bookstand as a bestseller.

And many, many more.

Too many for me to go into detail here.

Afterall part of the charm of an author is their own imagination and ability to dream up worlds that don’t exist.

There is one dream I want to talk about here. One I didn’t mention.

Being quoted.


The author’s words being said by others, and not in a mocking way.

Not like, “Look at how awful these words are! Can you believe someone thought of them!”

But in a real way that adds notoriety to the author.


How should an author feel about this?


Happy right?

They should brag to all their friends of their accomplishment as they know their words have sparked enough interest from people that they are remembered without the book.

That feels like it is worth another cup of coffee.


But I ask, doesn’t it matter who is quoting them?


If a guy I work with in the back quotes an author, then that doesn’t seem like too big of a deal.

Who is he talking to as we sit at the empty table waiting for the day to pass?

Me.

Only me…

And I am only half-listening.

So the quote doesn’t go anywhere.


Let’s say the quote is said by someone with a little more push in our society.

A person who has a lot of people listening a lot of the time.

Like a politician.

Is that okay?


Well, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with quoting someone.

Everyone knows that.

But everyone also knows that it is very different if Batman quotes you when he is saving the world, rather than Hitler who is trying to take it over.


The quote is not good or bad, but rather it is who says it that matters.

What if the author doesn’t like the speaker?

Whether it is for personal reasons, political reasons, or no reason at all?

What if, if the author had a choice, he/she wouldn’t allow the speaker to quote them?

Do you see where I am going with this?


What if the corrupt dictator quotes the author while giving a speech?

What if the criminal mastermind quotes the author while defending himself in the court of law?

What if a liar quotes the author to fool a friend?


How should the author feel about this?


Are you still grateful for the mention when your quote supports a war?

Or how about a major movement?

Or a large political change in government?

All of a sudden we are not just talking about words anymore, but real-life consequences.


Things that shape our world.

Your words are supporting one argument of that.

How should you feel about it?


The most famous example of this happening is with The Bible.

Many have quoted the most iconic book of all time to express their views, which in fairness to them, The Bible does a great job with words. You can see why people go to it.

But no one ever asks how the author of the book would feel about it.


Or to use a real person, rather than many, let’s put Shakespeare in that scenario.


Would he appreciate a well-known politician using his words for a cause against him?

Should he care?

Or should he accept that quotes are to be used by whoever wants to use them?

The author can’t control the speaker.

They don’t have that right, nor deserve it.


How would Shakespeare feel about being quoted so much?

Would he have a problem with it?


I don’t know.


Also, Shakespeare is dead and can’t speak on this.

Next time you think of how great it would be to be quoted by everyone, remember that everyone means everyone, including those you disagree with.

Maybe you should focus on those other dreams in the meanwhile.

What do you think of this?

How would you feel if someone you hated quoted you? Someone you loved?

Does your opinion change how you feel about the quote?

Let us know in the comments below.

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About The Blogger

Greg Luti is an editor, and blogger on pensandwords.com. His favorite writers are Robert Frost and Charles Bukowski. He enjoys reading up on history, watching comedies, and playing video games, when he is not writing down a few notes for his next piece. He started this blog out of his love for literature and hopes that the reader shares that same passion.

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