If Dickens Tweeted

Sometime ago, I started a category of posts called If ___ Tweeted, in which I share what people would have tweeted. For instance, what would Winston Churchill, Leonardo Da Vinci, or Alfred Hitchcock say if they’d had access to Twitter? I can guess, by gathering quotations of 120 characters or less.

Now being a bit of a Scrooge myself until about two weeks before Christmas, I’ve been thinking I might need to re-read, or re-watch, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. And since his name comes up so often around the holiday season, I wondered what Dickens would say . . . if he tweeted. (And as it turns out, several are perfect for the holiday season!)

Dickens Fake Tweet


  1. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. #BlackFriday
  2. There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.
  3. The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.
  4. A multitude of people, and yet a solitude! #introvertatthemall
  5. But charity begins at home, and justice begins next door.
  6. No one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else.
  7. I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.
  8. In a utilitarian age, of all other times, it is a matter of grave importance that fairy tales should be respected.
  9. There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour.
  10. It’s a mad world. Mad as Bedlam, boy! #standingintheSantaline
  11. A day wasted on others is not wasted on one’s self.
  12. No one who can read, ever looks at a book, even unopened on a shelf, like one who cannot.
  13. He would make a lovely corpse. #elfonshelfcreepsmeout
  14. Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There’s no better rule.
  15. What greater gift than the love of a cat?
  16. Every traveller has a home of his own, and he learns to appreciate it the more from his wandering. #holidaytrip
  17. I hope that real love and truth are stronger in the end than any evil or misfortune in the world.
  18. Ask no questions, and you’ll be told no lies. #nopeekingbeforeChristmas
  19. For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.
  20. God bless us, every one!

Sources: BrainyQuote; Wikiquote; Mental Floss; Victorian Web; Quote Investigator; Charles Dickens Info; Goodreads

Which quote is your favorite? And what other quotes from Charles Dickens do you enjoy?

If Hitchcock Tweeted

Opening Scene from Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Welcome to Amazing Words Wednesday, the day we enter the labyrinth of language and see what we can find.

One of my most popular Wednesday features seems to be the If ___ Tweeted, in which I gather the best quotes of 140 characters or less from some important individual (like Winston Churchill, Mark Twain, or Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes) and share them here. Today’s inspiration came from a recent post from Jess Witkins, who wrote about the brilliance of Alfred Hitchcock.

In addition to being a brilliant filmmaker, he also said some interesting stuff. So here’s what Hitchcock would have tweeted if only he’d had a Twitter account.

1. What is drama but life with the dull bits cut out.

2. There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.

3. The length of a film should be directly related to the endurance of the human bladder.

Hitchcock Quote on bathroom wall
This should be in every theater bathroom! Pic credit: Flickr, Erik bij de Vaate (http://www.flickr.com/photos/mediadeo/)

4. I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle.

5. The only way to get rid of my fears is to make films about them.

6. If it’s a good movie, the sound could go off and the audience would still have a perfectly clear idea of what was going on.

7. Television has brought back murder into the home–where it belongs.

8. Always make the audience suffer as much as possible.

9. Self-plagiarism is style.

10. The more successful the villain, the more successful the picture.

11. In films murders are always very clean. I show how difficult it is and what a messy thing it is to kill a man.

Fake Tweet Image from Hitchcock
12. To make a great film you need three things – the script, the script, and the script.

13. There is nothing to winning, really. That is, if you happen to be blessed with a keen eye, an agile mind, and no scruples whatsoever.

14. The paperback is very interesting, but I find it will never replace a hardcover book–it makes a very poor doorstop.

15. Puns are the highest form of literature.

Are you an Alfred Hitchcock fan? What’s your favorite quote from the above? Got any others to share?

Sources: BrainyQuote; IMDB; The Christian Science Monitor; AMC Blog; Interview with Dick Cavett; Examiner.com

If Calvin Tweeted

Today is Amazing Words Wednesday, when we enter the labyrinth of language, get lost for a while, and see what we can discover. After last week’s mournful post on the Boston Bombing and National Poetry Month, I felt like we needed a pick-me-up today.

So here’s another entry in my If ___ Tweeted series, which features quotes from authors, statesman, and anyone else I find interesting. We are looking today at what we might find if Calvin Tweeted.

“John Calvin?” you ask.


“President Calvin Coolidge?”


“Calvin Klein?”



As in Calvin and Hobbes.

Calvin and Hobbes header

Because I think there is a lot of insight in that little fictional character’s head. Here are 25 tweet-sized quotes from the most precocious six year old I’ve ever known, all cited from the comic books my children own.

  1. The end of summer is always hard on me…trying to cram in all the goofing off I’ve been meaning to do.
  2. I’m not dumb. I just have a command of thoroughly useless information.
  3. I try to make television-watching a complete forfeiture of experience.
  4. I’m related to people I don’t relate to.
  5. I don’t want to pay any dues in life. I want to be a one-in-a-million, overnight success!
  6. People don’t realize what a burden it is being a genius like me.
  7. Everyone wants to know what the future holds, but you just have to wait ’til it happens.
  8. Comic books aren’t just escapist fantasy. They’re sophisticated social critiques.Calvin (comic books strip)
  9. People who get nostalgic about childhood were obviously never children.
  10. I thought my life would seem more interesting with a musical score and a laugh track.
  11. I quit doing homework. Homework is bad for my self-esteem.
  12. And just six precious hours before bed to forget everything I learned today.
    Calvin (6 precious hours strip)
  13. I say a day without denial is a day you’ve got to face.
  14. It’s clear I’ll never have a career in sports until I learn to suppress my survival instinct.
  15. They say winning isn’t everything, and I’ve decided to take their word for it.
  16. A little rudeness and disrespect can elevate a meaningless interaction to a battle of wills and add drama to an otherwise dull day.Calvin (rudeness/drama strip)
  17. I’ve got more brains than I know what to do with.
  18. If you can’t win by reason, go for volume.
  19. In my opinion, we don’t devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks.
  20. It’s hard to be religious when certain people are never incinerated by bolts of lightning.
  21. Any idiot can be famous. I figure I’m more the legendary type.
  22. I like maxims that don’t encourage behavior modification.
  23. There’s an inverse relationship between how good something is for you, and how much fun it is.
  24. I’ve got plenty of common sense! I just choose to ignore it.
  25. I’m not a vegetarian! I’m a dessertarian.

And with teenagers in my house (who have a few things in common with precocious six year olds), I can relate to this one from Calvin’s dad: “Being a parent is wanting to hug and strangle your kid at the same time.”

Calvin's dad strip

Are you a Calvin and Hobbes fan? What is your favorite Calvin tweet from the list? Do you get inspiration from other comic strips? If so, which one(s)?

Sources: The Authoritative Calvin and Hobbes; The Days Are Just Packed; Attack of the Deranged Mutant Killer Monster Snow Goons; The Essential Calvin and Hobbes; Weirdos from Another Planet!; and Something Under the Bed Is Drooling–all by Bill Watterson

Our Calvin and Hobbes collection
Our Calvin and Hobbes collection

If Da Vinci Tweeted

Mona Lisa
Da Vinci’s most famous painting

This Amazing Words Wednesday post is inspired by writer Karen Rought, who recently posted on the wonderful artwork and wisdom of Leonardo Da Vinci.

Old Leo was the quintessential Renaissance man.

Can you imagine what this guy would have invented with a PC or an iPad? Let’s hope he would also use technology to tweet. Here are 20 top Da Vinci quotes of 140 characters or less:

1. The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.

2. Art is never finished, only abandoned.

3. Life well spent is long.

4. I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

5. All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.

6. Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.

7. There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.

8. As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.

9. Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.

10. …people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.

11. Where there is shouting, there is no true knowledge.

12. Learning never exhausts the mind.

13. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.

15. As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.

16. Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.

17. Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.

18. It’s easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.

19. You can have no dominion greater or less than that over yourself.

20. The smallest feline is a masterpiece.

Study of Cat Movements and Positions
Leonardo Da Vinci

Not bad, eh?

What’s your favorite Da Vinci quote–from the above or elsewhere? Do you have a favorite Da Vinci accomplishment?

If Plato Tweeted

© Marie-Lan Nguyen / Wikimedia Commons

Amaze-ing Words Wednesday is about getting into the labyrinth of language and exploring anything and everything related to words. One of the lovely things about language is how people can string together words in a memorable way to communicate concepts and wisdom.

Thus my “If ___ Tweeted” posts–which have so far included If Twain Tweeted and If Churchill Tweeted.* Plenty of famous quotes fall under the 140 characters allowed by Twitter but still pack a punch. Today’s offering is from Plato, that ancient Greek dude who spouted a lot of wisdom way back when.

I tried reading Plato’s Republic back in college when I was breezing right through Anna Karenina, Don Quixote, all of my history textbooks, etc. I admit to wimping out halfway through Plato. I will spare you trying to actually read Plato. Impress your friends and family by citing one or more of the following “tweets” from the genius.

1. All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.

2. At the touch of love, everyone becomes a poet.

3. Better a little which is well done, than a great deal imperfectly.

4. Good actions give strength to ourselves and inspire good actions in others.

5. He was a wise man who invented beer.

6. He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.

7. I never did anything worth doing by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.

8. If a man neglects education, he walks lame to the end of his life.

9. Justice in the life and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.

10. Life must be lived as play.

11. Love is a serious mental disease.

12. Man is a being in search of meaning.

13. Necessity… the mother of invention.

14. No man should bring children into the world who is unwilling to persevere to the end in their nature and education.

15. One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.

16. People are like dirt. They can either nourish you and help you grow as a person or they can stunt your growth and make you wilt and die.

17. Philosophy begins in wonder.

18. Poets utter great and wise things which they do not themselves understand.

19. The beginning is the most important part of any work.

20. The measure of a man is what he does with power.

21. Thinking: the talking of the soul with itself.

22. When men speak ill of thee, live so as nobody may believe them.

Did you have a favorite? Have you read Plato’s works? What do you think of his wisdom?

Sources: Brainy Quote; Proverbia.net; The Online Library of Liberty

*Author Lydia Sharp first inspired my If Twain Tweeted post with her comment that “I think it’s safe to assume that, were he alive today, Mark Twain would have had
one of the best inspirational/motivational blogs for writers ever in existence.
He’d also be crazy popular on Twitter with all his quick wit and humor.”