Each year I add to my Commonplace Book a section that I refer to as Briefs. Briefs are provocative comments, a word or phrase, a quotation from a random collection of almost anything I read—a newspaper, blog, journal, essay, book, etc. Here are a few of those I added last year.

Kilimanjaro is a snow-covered mountain 19,710 feet high, and is said to be the highest mountain in Africa. Its western summit is called the Masai 'Ngaje Ngai', the House of God. Close to the western summit there is a dried and frozen carcass of a leopard. No one has explained what the leopard was seeking at that altitude.

Martin Luther King
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

Pascal Mercier
The merciless decline of all living things.

Isaiah Berlin
Transplanted flowers decay in unsympathetic climates; so do human beings.

T. S. Eliot
We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.

Bernhard Schlink

There is no need to talk because the truth of what one says lies in what one does.

Donna Leon
She was a woman who lived in her imagination, who immediately turned what she saw into stories, who caught a person’s expression and made up what had happened to them, and she believed in tragedy.

David Sax

Why bother writing articles, mounting investigations, and uncovering facts if they had no discernible impact?

George Steiner
There comes a time when it’s too late for many things.

Richard Flanagan
It became hard to believe that all the things that had happened to him had ever really happened, that he had seen all the things he had seen. Sometimes, it was hard to believe he had ever really been to war at all. He understood that all this would go on, and of him nothing would remain, that even his memory, though held by a few family and friends for a few years, perhaps decades, would ultimately be forgotten and mean no more than a fallen bamboo, than the inescapable mud.

Walker Percy
To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair.

San Shepard
The temptation towards resolution, towards wrapping up the package, seems to me a terrible trap. Why not be more honest with the moment? The most authentic endings are the ones which are already revolving towards another beginning.

I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.

Anais Nin
We write to taste life twice: in the moment and in retrospection.