I was a little taken aback recently to meet an author who kept quoting their own work in support of their arguments. Seemed to me they were writing tickets. Um, really you’re quoting you to prove your points? Isn’t that redundant? Oh, look, I agree with me. How surprising!
But mostly I was weirded out because I couldn’t quote anything from any of my books even if you threatened to kill me if I didn’t start reciting stat. Who memorises their own books? I mean other than the writer I just met who does.
I put it to the test and asked a bunch of my writer friends if they could quote any of their work. Cassandra Clare and Robin Wasserman were easily able to rattle off opening lines of several of their books. Especially Robin who recited the whole opening paragraph of Skinned. Maureen came up with the opening of Scarlett Fever, which she happens to be working on right now.1 But she was also able to quote some choice lines of dialogue from less recent books. Scott can quote the opening of Uglies but, honestly, who can’t? I mean even I know that one.
But me? I cannot recite a single line from my own work.
So what about you other writers? Can any of you quote your own work? Can any of you recite beyond the opening lines? Am I a freak with the crappest memory ever?2 Do any of you think it’s kosher to quote yourself in a discussion?
Oh wait: “I have a parking fairy.” There. I quoted a line. Yay, me! Not sure what arguments I’ll win with it though.